10 Best Tempe Bars: College Hangouts, Brewpubs, Beer Gardens & More

Tempe is, above all else, a college town. Home to a population of 50,000 students, it's no wonder the city is home to an array of bars, pubs, and lounges.

Increasing development and a growing population of urban dwellers is bringing even more diversity and sophistication to the Tempe bar scene. Case in point: Taste of Tops, a casually upscale tavern that attracts both college students, neighborhood locals and out of town visitors with a penchant for craft beers and fine wine.

If you're looking for a Tempe sports bar, one of the best in town is Lucky Break, which features locally crafted brews on tap, six high-end pool tables, and big screen TVs.

For a drinking destination that is both sophisticated and casual, head for Devil's Advocate Bar & Grill, featuring swanky leather seating, wood paneling, plasma TVs and popular open mic nights.

For a laid-back college bar steeped in history and tradition, head to Casey Moore's Oyster House. Tucked away in a quaint university neighborhood, Casey Moore's offers ambiance in spades (the historic house is said to be haunted), daily lunch specials and lots of good people-watching. 

Craft beer enthusiasts will probably want to make a pitstop at Four Peaks Brewery, where you can sample the popular brewer's eight varieties on tap.



This laid-back and bike-centric modern American craft beer garden in Tempe offers a large menu of craft brews and pub fare. On the menu, you'll find a rotating selection of 24 draft beers and more than 50 bottle beer options. The selection includes local, European & American craft beers, along with wine, craft, and classic cocktails. On the food side of the menu, you'll find sausages, burgers, salads, sandwiches, pretzels, hand-cut fries, and vegetarian options. Located in the heart of downtown Tempe, the Handlebar makes for a convenient late-night or happy hour drinking destination.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Handlebar Tempe is an amiable beer garden with a large selection of craft beers.

Patricia's expert tip: If you swing by on a Wednesday, you'll get to enjoy all-day happy hour specials.

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Savor the joys of an authentic Cornish pasty (pronounced pass-tee) without even having to jet off across the pond. The Cornish pasty is a traditional English comfort food featuring a variety of meats, veggies and cheeses, all stuffed into a pastry pocket. The pasty gets a twist at the Cornish Pasty Company, where diners can choose from an extensive menu of signature, premium, and vegetarian pasties. Try the Oggie, the traditional Cornish pasty made with steak, potatoes, onion, rutabaga, and served with a side of red wine gravy or ketchup. Pasty lovers will enjoy exploring the diverse menu, which also features Mexican, Italian, Greek, and Indian variations on this English classic. The large veggie pasty menu has made this a favorite stopping point for vegetarian foodies. Along with an expansive menu of eats, Cornish Pasty Co. is also a popular Tempe bar with a good selection of regional craft brews and lively pub ambiance.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Cornish Pasty Co. is a good place to grab an authentic pasty, but also a beer and enjoy the venue's great pub ambiance.

Patricia's expert tip: Happy hour happens every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and again from 10 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy $1 off most drinks and daily specials.

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Formerly O'Malley's pub, Devil's Advocate Bar & Grill is one of the latest additions to the busy Tempe bar scene. This University-area bar and grill is quickly becoming a favorite after hours destination for college students and locals in the know. Dark wood paneling, plasma TVs and leather seating lend a sophisticated touch that raises the bar from typical college bar ambiance. Daily drink specials, acoustic open mic nights on Tuesdays, and live music on Fridays provides plenty of incentive to get off the couch and head to this chic neighborhood tavern for drinking and socializing. Tempe's hippest new bar.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Devil's Advocate Bar & Grill is one of Tempe's most sophisticated college bars.

Patricia's expert tip: Stop by on the weekends for live music.

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If your aim is to have fun with friends at a relaxed neighborhood restaurant and bar, check out Boulders on Broadway. The laid back neighborhood spot is a popular spot for happy hour and Tuesday and Sunday night trivia. It's also a fine spot to grab a burger (with the house waffle fries on the side) and a beer. Speaking of beer, the pub offers a rotating selection of brews on tap, offering a bigger selection than you might expect from a neighborhood pub. Plus, you'll find good deals on food and drinks during the happy hour, which happens from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the week and all day on Saturday.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Boulders on Broadway is a neighborhood restaurant and bar with a popular trivia night and good beer selection.

Patricia's expert tip: Stop by for the popular happy hour, which happens all day on Saturday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Fridays.

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This large and spacious local Belgian-American brewpub and gastropub features handcrafted European-style beers and a menu of locally-made ales, lagers and traditional Belgian-style wheat beers. Beers are available to go in growlers.The beer menu also includes guest cans, bottles and drafts. Wine and classic cocktails are also on the menu. For noshing, you'll find an expansive selection of bar snacks, including Bavarian pretzels and fried pickles. More substantial options include sandwiches, salads, pizzas and pub burgers. The spacious patio makes for a good group-friendly destination. The patio is also dog-friendly. For parking, try the Hanover Garage – the brewpub offers validated parking for guests who park there.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Pedal Haus Brewery is a friendly Belgian-style brewpub featuring European-style craft beers.

Patricia's expert tip: Pedal Haus validates parking for the Hanover Garage and has a dog-friendly patio.

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Spokes on Southern is a bike-themed bar and grill in south Tempe that offers a relaxed place to enjoy craft beer, grab the mic on karaoke nights, or enjoy some friendly competition on trivia game nights. Not only are there many craft beers on tap, the bar also features a kitchen making modern American comfort food dishes made from local and fresh ingredients. Try the bruschetta planks to start, which come topped with your choice of turkey and pecan pesto, pear and brie, cucumber, red pepper and feta, grilled salmon, and other gourmet toppings. Feel free to park your bike inside, or use the bicycle-themed bike rack out front.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Spokes on Southern is a bike-themed neighborhood bar dishing out gourmet bar food and 24 craft beers on tap.

Patricia's expert tip: Enjoy happy hour 3 to 7 pm Monday through Friday, and all day on Saturdays.

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Four Peaks Brewing Company is a Tempe institution. Situated inside an 1892 Mission-style warehouse, Four Peaks' popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. You can try all eight of their beers, which are on tap at all times, as well as seasonal brews. The indoor dining room has been expanded in recent years, but Four Peaks Brewing Company remains an incredibly popular dining destination, so be prepared to wait during the lunch and dinner rush. Happy hour features half-off beers and food specials. There are also plenty of big screen TVs to keep you entertained, as well as shady outdoor patio.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: One of Tempe's oldest brewery's and brewpubs, Four Peaks is loaded with history, good ambiance and locally crafted beer.

Patricia's expert tip: The Four Peaks brewpub offers a good Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Located inside a house built by William and Mary Moeurn in 1910, this historic establishment enjoys a convenient location and inviting neighborhood atmosphere. Locals frequent the place for excellent seafood, steaks, and prime rib. Elegant surroundings abound in the upstairs dining rooms, while the downstairs area boasts an Irish pub loved by all. Come here for the freshest oysters in town and favorite seafood dishes. Casey Moore's also serves up draught beer, whiskey and spirits, as well as a large selection of bottled beer. Best of all, no other local venue matches the relaxed and friendly ambiance that you'll find at Casey Moore's.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Casey Moore's Oyster House is Tempe's favorite neighborhood restaurant and bar, a historic haunt for the college crowd.

Patricia's expert tip: Happy Hour is Monday to Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Yucca Tap Room in south Tempe is a local institution. The venerable neighborhood hangout has seen thousands of Arizona State students pass through over the decades, as well as helped nurse the Tempe local music scene. If you'e aim is to find a low-key bar to enjoy live music, this is the place to do it. The bar also boasts an impressive beer and whiskey selection. Plus, there's a menu of bar eats that includes chicken & waffles, Sonoran hot dogs and pretty much everything else you need to keep your energy up for a night of dancing, drinking and carousing.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Yucca Tap Room is one of Tempe's most venerable neighborhood bars and a great place to drink craft beer and enjoy live music.

Patricia's expert tip: If you're looking for good local craft beer and an expansive whiskey menu, this is the place to find it.

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Taste of Tops, conveniently located next to a well-stocked liquor emporium, offers an appealing blend of upscale ambiance in an unpretentious neighborhood bar setting. The Tempe bar features a rotating tap of craft beers, as well as an impressive selection of hard-to-find beers. Taste of Tops regularly hosts wine and beer tastings, making this a favorite stopping point for local beer snobs and discerning happy hour goers. There is also live music and art exhibitions ever week. Sleek decor and a friendly neighborhood ambiance has made Taste of Tops a Tempe favorite. Knowledgeable bartenders can help steer you to your new favorite beer or wine.

Recommended for Tempe's Best Bars because: Taste of Tops is the perfect destination for discerning drinkers looking for a sleek yet unpretentious tap room.

Patricia's expert tip: Live music weekly at this favorite neighborhood tap room.

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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.