10 Best Nightlife Destinations in Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix nightlife has become a much busier place after hours in recent years, with a spate of new nightclubs, lounges, and other late night attractions opening their doors in the past decade. More accessible (and, some would argue, more hip) than the Scottsdale nightlife scene to the north, downtown Phoenix nightlife attracts both young and old, urban-dwellers and surburbanites, locals and those just passing through.

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour has become a destination for serious cocktail hounds. Behind the bar, knowledgeable mixologists create mouth-watering cocktails artfully crafted from fruit- and herb-infused spirits. There's no standing or bumping into strangers at this hip cocktail bar. Comfy seating, intimate ambiance, and a fun and extensive selection of drinks makes this a must-try when you're in downtown Phoenix.

For sheer exuberance and cool factor, Bar Smith remains one of the biggest nightlife draws in downtown. Take a breather on the plush couches to enjoy the people-watching, and don't forget to go up to the roof for excellent views of the city at night.

If your group can't decide whether to go out for drinks, games, live music, or food, why not go out for all the above? GypsyBar, at the sprawling CityScape complex, is a nightlife spot featuring 10,000 square feet of space to play, eat and dance. There's a dance floor, game lounge (aka arcade), food service, and of course, a bar.

Finally, let us draw your attention to the Crescent Ballroom, a live music venue that doubles as a gourmet Mexican food kitchen, bar and lounge. There is free live music in the lounge on most nights, hand-crafted cocktails awaiting behind the bar, and gourmet burritos in the kitchen. What more could you ask for? 



If electronic dance music and fashion are your twin passions, it's time to hit the dance floor at the Monarch Theatre. The dance floor throbs at this downtown Phoenix dance club, located right off the light rail on Washington Street. The club...  Read More



It's a movie theatre, it's a bar--it's FilmBar. This appealing venue is a beer/wine bar dedicated to screening hard-to-find cult classics, local independent films as well as new releases. FilmBar is described as a "microcinema," meaning that...  Read More



The creators of Bliss Rebar were seeking to establish a relaxed place where people could meet for good drinks and good food. The combination of shaded patios and indoor seating areas gives the bar and restaurant a feeling of seclusion, making it...  Read More



Downtown Phoenix scenesters crowd the small but busy dance floor at Bar Smith, a hip downtown bar, lounge and club located steps away from major attractions such as the US Airways Center and Chase Field. Swanky couches let you take a break from...  Read More



If vintage arcade games, craft beers and cleverly-named cocktails sound like a great combination to you, plan a visit to Cobra Arcade Bar. As its name implies, this is a hybrid arcade and bar situated in the Roosevelt Arts District in downtown...  Read More



This sprawling nightclub features over 10,000 square feet of space to roam, drink, meet and be merry. Drinks are served at a three-sided island bar surrounded by plush lounge sofa sectionals, perfect for sipping on your hand-crafted specialty...  Read More

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Photo courtesy of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour


Bitter & Twisted is a welcome addition to the downtown Phoenix scene. This cocktail parlour, tucked away in the historic Luhrs building, promises to deliver hand-crafted cocktails made from scratch using the finest house-infused spirits. ...  Read More



The Van Buren is a 20,000-square-foot, 1,800 capacity concert venue located in downtown Phoenix. The Van Buren, along with its sister venue Crescent Ballroom, is helping to bring an increasingly diverse roster of nationally touring artists to...  Read More



Valley Bar is rarity in Phoenix: a hip downtown bar that just happens to be located in a basement. Basements are uncommon in the southwest, so it's a treat to escape to the cool surroundings of a well-finished basement space - especially in the...  Read More



Part concert venue, bar, and gourmet kitchen, the Crescent Ballroom is one of downtown Phoenix's newest hot spots. The Crescent Lounge hosts free nightly music, while the ballroom sees some of the country's top touring acts perform on the...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia