The 10 best cocktail bars in Phoenix

Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the U.S., although most people don’t know that fun fact about the Valley of the Sun. Throughout the years, Phoenix has been slowly transforming to become just as appealing as other major cities in the U.S. to visitors who normally wouldn’t place the city on their travel radar. In particular, the downtown sector of Phoenix has grown exponentially, as evidenced by the boom in the luxury rental market, with taller buildings popping up month after month. And because downtown continues to morph into a place where more and more locals want to live, the restaurant and bar scene in the area is banging. With an abundance of bars to choose from, we’ve helped narrow down your search to our favourite ten bars in Phoenix where you are guaranteed to love the cocktail selections. And to help tip the scales, we’ve included some suggested drinks to try out next time you visit.

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1. The Vig Fillmore

606 N 4th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003-1527, USA

There are five The Vig locations throughout the valley with three locations in Phoenix and two in Scottsdale. The upscale neighbourhood tavern is best known for its unique and price-conscious menu, a mix of live music and DJs and most importantly, their craft cocktails. The Vig Fillmore, located in the heart of downtown, adjacent to the Roosevelt Row Arts District has an expansive patio that is typically filled with a mixture of locals (including students from the downtown Arizona State University campus) and visitors alike.

Suggested Cocktail: Cold Brew Old Fashioned – 4 Roses Bourbon, AZ Bitters Lab figgy pudding & AZ sunshine bitters, cold brew ($10)

Photo: Louis Hansel

2. The Pobresito at The Churchill

901 N 1st St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

Established in the Roosevelt Row Art’s District in Downtown Phoenix, The Churchill is a locally infused and community-driven gathering place, made up of a 9,000 square foot courtyard intended for dining, drinking, socializing, pop-up art galleries, and more. The Churchill is home to ten small local businesses that focus their efforts on collaboration, which includes The Pobresito, an upscale cocktail bar that tends to dominate the backspace of the open-concept shared space. With an incredible cocktail menu to choose from, don’t be afraid of their frozen concoctions.

Suggested Cocktail: PainKiller (frozen) – Coconut, orange, pineapple, Bacardi Cuatro Rum, Smith & Cross Overproof Jamaican Rum ($13)

Photo: Helena Yankovska

3. Chico Malo

50 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, USA

While their name translates to “bad boy”, everything else about Chico Malo is definitively good, including a bold menu boasting Mexican and South American flavours, paired with a carefully cultivated lineup of signature cocktails. Chico Malo transforms their chic and stylish eatery into an elevated food and drink experience located in the centre of downtown Phoenix.

Suggested Cocktail: The Oaxacan – tequila, anisette, honey mezcal and cardamom bitters ($12)

Photo: Jennifer Schmidt

Photo: Francisco Galarza

4. Melinda’s Alley

Renaissance Hotel, 50 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004-2329, USA

Located beneath the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Phoenix, Melinda’s Alley is tucked away in a corner of a narrow alleyway with only a single red light affixed over the doorway to guide you to their libations. The sublevel speakeasy offers just two bar stations, vintage knick-knacks and art deco furniture in addition to artisan cocktails, all in an industrial space. The place is so underground chic that they don’t even have a website.

Suggested Cocktail: Since opening, four new cocktails have been offered every weekend evening along with one constant: the old fashioned. The offerings are never repeated.

Photo: Maricar Limjoco

Photo: mnm.all

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5. The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

2051, 108 E Pierce St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

The Breadfruit & Rum Bar. Not only can you enjoy award-winning modern Jamaican cuisine at this elegantly casual tropical setting but pair your delicious dishes with their expertly crafted cocktails which are complemented by their collection of over 150 premium rum (and find cigars). And you can feel good about yourself afterwards as the restaurant and bar has a sustainable, zero-waste compost and recycling program that is at the core of their business model.

Suggested Cocktail: Bourbon Masquerade – Prichard’s Fine rum, lemon, tart cherry, Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlocco, cherry bark tincture ($10)

Photo: Kim Daniels

Photo: Louis Hansel

6. Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

1 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, USA 

Located inside what must be one of the coolest places for a bar in Phoenix, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour is housed inside the former Arizona Prohibition Headquarters, within the historic Luhrs Building in downtown Phoenix. The bar is both a sweet drinking spot with award-winning cocktails as well as an eatery with uniquely delicious bar bites. Space is limited inside, so expect headcounts to be performed by the door staff and remember, they operate on a “first-come, first” served mentality.

Suggested Cocktail: Lime & The Coconut – 100% agave tequila, limoncello, lime, pineapple syrup and coconut foam ($12)

Photo: Jeanie de Klerk

7. Honor Amongst Thieves

5538 N 7th St #100, Phoenix, AZ 85014, USA

Honor Amongst Thieves. Located behind Stock and Stable, by the same owner, this very intimate 80-person capacity 1950s themed speakeasy and lounge focus on serving decadent, hand-crafted cocktails all in a dark and sultry atmosphere. Easier to locate than most speakeasies, due to capacity limits, it might not be as easy to snag a seat, so arrive early enough in the evening to ensure entry.

Suggested Cocktail: Fit For A King – Copper n’ Kings Brandy, C n’ K Orange Curacao, lemon, sugar ($12)

Photo: Kevin Kelly

Photo: Ben Yang

8. Undertow

3620 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018-5127, USA

Undertow. The city’s first underground tiki bar is pushing the limits on unique concepts in the valley of the sun. Enter via a thatched roof staircase in the centre of Sip Coffee and Beer Garage (a great place to enjoy a drink while you wait) to experience craft tiki-inspired cocktails. Reservations are highly encouraged here through their online portal. Please note that guests are permitted no more than 90-minutes to enjoy their drinks, as space is extremely limited.

Suggested Cocktail: Three Whistles – Spiced tea infused Unaged Overproof Jamaican Rum, Aged Agricole Rhum, ginger, orgeat, lime, grapefruit & pineapple ($12)

Photo: Magnus Jonasson

9. Lustre Rooftop Bar

2 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

This bar has the illustrious honour of being downtown Phoenix’s only rooftop lounge. Enjoy cool craft sips and locally sourced eats in one of their cabanas, while listening to a variety of music in this super cool outdoor hangout. In addition to the tasty cocktails, enjoy a front-row seat to the jaw-dropping sunsets Phoenix is known for.

Suggested Cocktail: Coco Loco – Thai chili infused El Tesoro blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, coconut cream (with Thai chili & a chili-lime rim served in a can) ($14)

Photo: Monika Grabkowska

Photo: Victoria Shes

10. The Duce

525 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

One of the most bizarre bar concepts in Phoenix, which helps explain its popularity, The Duce transformed a warehouse in downtown Phoenix into a jazz style innovative food and shopping experience. Inside this speakeasy, guests will find a restaurant, full bar, gym, coffee bar, old-fashioned soda fountain, fresh organic produce and retro clothing, making it quirky yet convenient.

Suggested Cocktail: Organic Mojito 1800’s – Crusoe Silver Organic Rum & mint, fresh squeezed lime juice soda & agave ($12)

Photo: Giovanna Gomes

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