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10 Best Nightlife Spots in Tucson's Midtown



Although most of Tucson's nightlife scene is centered around downtown and the Fourth Avenue district, you'll find that midtown is full of spots for grabbing a drink or dancing with friends. 

If country music is your thing, head to Maverick, a country western-themed nightlife spot featuring live country music, dancing, and friendly staff. The club regularly hosts live music and dance lessons, so you can easily two-step the night away with friends. 

For friendly ambiance in a unique setting, check out The Canyon's Crown Restaurant and Pub, a British-style sports bar and pub featuring a rotating selection of draft beers and elevated pub fare. The bar carries sports matches from around the world, making this a good place to watch international matches. 

Looking for a good cocktail? Head to Sidecar in midtown, where the knowledgeable bar staff knows how to make a good drink. The menu emphasizes Prohibition-style cocktails in a hip but unpretentious setting. 

Meanwhile, over at Thunder Canyon Brewery, you can enjoy locally crafted brews in a friendly tap-room with fellow craft beer enthusiasts. 

If you love a good show, check out The Gaslight Theatre on Broadway Boulevard. The theater features a popular, old timey, Western saloon-themed show. Laugh, drink and enjoy dinner with friends. 

 

 


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Tucson has a lot of dive bars, but nothing quite compares to The Meet Rack, the mother of all dive bars. If you're looking to mingle with some of the city's most eccentric barflies, head to this colorful bar, where the name of the specialty cocktails will make you blush. Come with a group and let "God" (the owner) take you on a complete tour of The Meet Rack. Please note: a visit to The Meet Rack is not for the faint of heart. The bar is renown for its "Sex Room" and questionable decor on the walls, so be warned: this bar is not for the faint of heart, or those seeking a quiet, classy bar.




Denim & Diamonds is Tucson's newest country western-themed nightlife spot, occupying the space left behind by Cactus Moon Sports Grill. The bar and dance club features a spacious dance floor, daily drink specials, and plenty of people-watching. Located on busy Broadway Road, Denim & Diamonds also features a full kitchen making handmade pizza, hot wings, and other bar kitchen favorites. The venue features outdoor seating and comfy booths, making this a good destination for groups. Wednesday night is Ladies Nights, featuring ten cent longnecks for everybody from 8-11 pm, and ten cent "u-call-it" drinks for ladies from 8 to 11 pm.




Trident Grill is a venerable college sports bars that draws big crowds nearly every night of the week. You'll definitely want to claim your bar stool early on busy game nights. The menu features typical bar food (think classics like juicy burgers, mac and cheese, hot wings), but it's fresh and made with care. The beer menu does not disappoint. One of the unique features of this college hangout are the beer steins hanging over the bar - you can hang yours here and use it to drink on future visits. If you're looking for no frills grub and lively ambiance, you can't go wrong with a night at the Trident Grill.


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Mix great food and dozens of large screen TVs and what do you get? Something like Throwbacks, Tucson's winning sports bar and grill. This is the kind of after-work neighborhood sports bar that draws locals, but inviting enough for out-of-towners to feel right at home. Without a doubt, Throwbacks is a food-centric sports bar, elevating typical bar fare to near-foodie status: Pulled pork sliders, bacon and smoked gouda lobster mac 'n cheese, and elaborate specialty burgers are a treat. Of course, you can always count on great Mexican food (this is Tucson, after all) and elaborate nacho plates - with a frosty cold mug of beer on the side. Speaking of beer, you'll find quality craft brews on tap.


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Northeast
The Shelter


A lot of folks will tell you that this bar used to be a fallout shelter, but the truth is it was actually built as a bar back in 1961. The round, windowless structure is packed to the rafters with 60s era kitsch, from JFK memorabilia to black velvet paintings and groovy lamps. The retro vibe is augmented with a continual showing of '60s B movies and plenty of period music, occasionally provided by DJs fond of deep cuts and rare grooves. Bartenders mix up all the retro cocktails you can handle, but don't fret if your personal favorite is something invented last year--they can make those too. And if you're in the market for some new bad jokes to share with your friends, a visit to the restrooms here should be high on your list of things to do.




Thunder Canyon boasts several award-winning brews such as Bing Bang Ale with a hint of cherries, Catalina Pale Ale, Sandstone Cream Ale, Obsidian Porter, Thunderhead IPA, and Blackout Stout. And their food is impressive too. Wood fired oven pizzas top the list, but there's a great selection of traditional pub fare like fish and chips, steaks, burgers, sandwiches, cottage pie and pasta. Plenty of vegetarian options, as well. No doubt, there is something for everyone on the menu. And if you're a beer connoisseur, you will want to stop by for a drink, even if there isn't a big game on the screen. There are two locations in Tucson: Downtown and the Foothills Mall.


Maverick, King of Clubs


Country and Western music is extremely popular in Tucson, and this honky-tonk is a classic example of where locals meet up for conversation, drinks, and a few spins on the dance floor. The simple, country-style interior is always full of regulars in their best Western gear. Live music sometimes featured. Great drink specials and a friendly, laid-back vibe. This is a great destination if you've ever wanted to learn how to two-step like an authentic Tucson cowboy. The dance floor is packed on the weekends, and the venue regularly hosts dance lessons. The kitchen opens at 5 pm daily, so it makes a good dinner spot too.




Musical theatre has always been a great way to escape your cares and throw yourself into an alternate universe of song and dance - if only for a couple of hours. The hard-working actors, singers, and stage crew behind the Gaslight Theatre in midtown Tucson know how to put on a great show. The theatre, tucked away in a shopping center on busy Broadway Road, features an old timey, Western saloon-themed show that is great for visitors looking for a Western-tinged theatre experience. But the theatre also draws a steady stream of locals, who come for the kitschy song and dance numbers, and all-around good times.




If you're looking for a cozy neighborhood pub with great drinks and plenty of large-screen TVs, The Canyon's Crown Restaurant and Pub should fit the bill nicely. This British-style sports pub carries both DirectTV and Cox, which means you'll be hard-pressed to find a game that isn't on. The sports bar has a good rotating draft beer selection and a menu of elevated pub fare. To start with, try the Irish Nachos, a plate full of seasoned waffle fries smothered in melted cheese and topped with bacon, green onions and sour cream. Main selections include gourmet angus beef burgers, specialty salads, sandwiches, and new takes on classic British pub classics like Fish & Chips and Shepherd's Pie.


Sidecar


Sidecar is a hip, neighborhood cocktail bar located in midtown Tucson. The emphasis is on Prohibition-era cocktails like its namesake, as well as unique concoctions like the Oaxaca Dry Sour, a smoky cocktail made with small batch gin, mezcal, absinthe, dry vermouth, habanero shrub, and house salted lime cordial. There is also a good selection of craft brews and wines. The atmosphere strikes the right balance between chic and sophisticated without being pretentious. The waitstaff are trained mixologists who will discuss the makings of a good cocktail. With large windows facing west, this is a good spot to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine while watching the sun go down over the Old Pueblo.


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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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