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UnderTow
Grace Stufkosky

10 Fabulous Cocktail Bars to Try in Phoenix

Where to grab a classic French 75 or a cold brew shot

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UnderTow
| Grace Stufkosky

Choosing a great cocktail is highly subjective — whether you’re a whiskey connoisseur, tequila enthusiast or game for a straight vodka water — you probably have a pretty strong opinion when someone asks you what your go-to drink is. This can certainly make finding a cocktail bar everyone agrees on difficult, but fortunately the Phoenix metro area has a few spots that have mastered their mixing and executed their cocktail recipes so flawlessly they’re able to serve up a menu of beverages even the pickiest drinkers can enjoy.

Check out our roundup of the Valley’s top cocktail bars for the easiest weekend plans you’ve ever made.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Little Rituals

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132 S Central Ave 4th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 603-2050
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Little Rituals is a classical imagining of a cocktail bar: elegant, colorful, and a little bit intimidating. The bar is housed in the heart of downtown Phoenix at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott, making it the ideal spot for drinks before heading out to enjoy the local nightlife, seeing a concert, take in a sporting event. On Sundays, patrons can even bring a ticket or receipt from a local venue or business and get 20 percent off. Little Rituals’ menu is fairly extensive, covering the classics to less familiar. Diving out of your comfort zone with the Southern Belle, featuring bourbon, Strega, dill-infused vermouth, grapefruit cordial and fresh lemon.

2. Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

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1 W Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 340-1924
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It’s impossible to talk cocktails in Arizona without talking Bitter & Twisted — a now legendary downtown spot that’s been racking up local and international acclaim since 2014 for its extensive lineup of drinks and inviting atmosphere. And while it’s hard to choose favorites from the more than 60 cocktail creations, consider trying the sweet and citrusy Lemongrass Collins made with house-infused lemongrass vodka, fresh lemon juice, vanilla liqueur, vanilla sugar, and ginger beer.

3. Pigtails Downtown

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1 E Washington St #128
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 675-4416
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Ask someone who really knows their cocktails where to go for a phenomenal mixed drink, and they’ll make sure to tell you about Pigtails. Plus, the cute cocktail names and cozy, trend-forward atmosphere, and snacks are almost as great as the cocktails. There’s truly something for everyone on the menu, but for a couple signature picks, consider ordering a cold brew shot (because why not) and the Jalisco old fashioned with barrel-aged tequila, Demerara, and tiki bitters, as well as a bit of orange and lemon.

4. Killer Whale Sex Club

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922 N 6th St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(520) 352-7768
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While Killer Whale Sex Club takes the trophy for most creative name, it offers much more than shock value. Unlike many Phoenix favorites, Killer Whale Sex Club is unpretentious and approachable — located inside a brightly colored mandala-adorned house and decorated with Polaroids of guests butts (yes, really). It’s as fun as the name would have you expect with cocktails like the Pornstar Punch and Gold Digger. Opt for the Slippery When Wet, a cocktail made with strawberry, banana, mint, rhum agricole and Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka.

5. Highball

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1514 N 7th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 675-4244
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Highball opened last year and has quickly become a local favorite thanks to its upscale-yet-warm atmosphere, and creative lineup of cocktails. For those who are still dipping their toes into the cocktail world, the menu offers helpful insight into what guests can expect from each drink. For example: boozy, rich, baking spices, tall (That’s the T.T.P. with gin, tequila, sherry, vanilla, pineapple, fig and lemon). A current favorite is the Bamm Bamm’s Cup with Fruity Pebble-infused pineapple rum, mezcal, cereal orgeat, pineapple, lime and berry bitters, which is described simply as smoky, mysterious, fruit flavors, short.

6. Platform 18 at Century Grand

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3626 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018

From the brilliant minds behind UnderTow comes another immersive experience — this time with a turn-of-the-century, train-inspired bar designed to transport visitors back to the early 1900s. There are two main areas of the bar: Either climb aboard Platform 18 for the full train-ride experience, or head to Grey Hen — a New Orleans-style apothecary bar. There’s a full book of cocktail options and customers really can’t go wrong with. For something fun, try the Bootlegger ice cream made with whiskey-infused vanilla bean ice cream topped with dry, indulgent sherry, and finished with toasted hazelnut and balsamic vinegar.

7. UnderTow

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3626 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Despite all the great things about Phoenix, this town still doesn’t have a beach; so, if you want the feeling of a tropical oasis without leaving the state, UnderTow is your best bet. The newly relocated tiki bar goes all out to stay on theme and make customers feel like they’re cruising underneath the ocean with island decor and subway portholes around the bar’s perimeter. The eclectic atmosphere is complemented by a multi-page cocktail menu of knockout drinks. Don’t miss the sweet yet complex 30th Parallel crafted with Hendrick’s Gin, Chairman’s 12-year St. Lucian rum (from a private cask), falernum, spiced grapefruit cordial, pennyroyal, lychee, lime and lemon juice.

8. Blue Clover Distillery

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7042 E Indian School Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 946-1062
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Everyone knows the spirits make the cocktail, and this distillery and bar starts with the highest quality, local gin and vodka. Visit the tasting room for a fun, casual atmosphere and menu filled with bright, citrus-forward cocktails. The easy to sip Glad Eye is an excellent option made with Blue Clover’s own premium grapefruit vodka, Aperol, lemon, Prosecco, and lavender bitters.

9. AZ/88

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7353 E Scottsdale Mall
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 994-5576
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Martini lovers it’s your time to shine because there’s nowhere better known for a great martini in the Phoenix metro area than AZ/88, which has been serving the classic drink since you guessed it, 1988. It’s also been home to several eye-catching art installations over the years, so even those who have been frequenting the bar for its more than three decades in operation can find something new to enjoy. The bar offers more than two dozen variations of the martini, but the house classic is an easy pick: Build it to your liking with gin or vodka with and choice of olives, cocktail onions, or a lemon twist.

10. The Ostrich

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10 N San Marcos Pl #B1
Chandler, AZ 85225
(480) 917-4903
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This speakeasy-style bar is putting Chandler’s cocktail scene on the map with an atmosphere that combines 1920s rustic elegance and a life-sized ostrich decoration. Fun fact: It once served as an ostrich feather storage facility for the city’s founder, Dr. AJ Chandler. This bar prides itself on the classics, so we’d order the French 75 made with Chandon Brut, Rouge cognac, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and a lemon twist.

1. Little Rituals

132 S Central Ave 4th Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Little Rituals is a classical imagining of a cocktail bar: elegant, colorful, and a little bit intimidating. The bar is housed in the heart of downtown Phoenix at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott, making it the ideal spot for drinks before heading out to enjoy the local nightlife, seeing a concert, take in a sporting event. On Sundays, patrons can even bring a ticket or receipt from a local venue or business and get 20 percent off. Little Rituals’ menu is fairly extensive, covering the classics to less familiar. Diving out of your comfort zone with the Southern Belle, featuring bourbon, Strega, dill-infused vermouth, grapefruit cordial and fresh lemon.

132 S Central Ave 4th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85004

2. Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

1 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

It’s impossible to talk cocktails in Arizona without talking Bitter & Twisted — a now legendary downtown spot that’s been racking up local and international acclaim since 2014 for its extensive lineup of drinks and inviting atmosphere. And while it’s hard to choose favorites from the more than 60 cocktail creations, consider trying the sweet and citrusy Lemongrass Collins made with house-infused lemongrass vodka, fresh lemon juice, vanilla liqueur, vanilla sugar, and ginger beer.

1 W Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ 85003

3. Pigtails Downtown

1 E Washington St #128, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Ask someone who really knows their cocktails where to go for a phenomenal mixed drink, and they’ll make sure to tell you about Pigtails. Plus, the cute cocktail names and cozy, trend-forward atmosphere, and snacks are almost as great as the cocktails. There’s truly something for everyone on the menu, but for a couple signature picks, consider ordering a cold brew shot (because why not) and the Jalisco old fashioned with barrel-aged tequila, Demerara, and tiki bitters, as well as a bit of orange and lemon.

1 E Washington St #128
Phoenix, AZ 85004

4. Killer Whale Sex Club

922 N 6th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

While Killer Whale Sex Club takes the trophy for most creative name, it offers much more than shock value. Unlike many Phoenix favorites, Killer Whale Sex Club is unpretentious and approachable — located inside a brightly colored mandala-adorned house and decorated with Polaroids of guests butts (yes, really). It’s as fun as the name would have you expect with cocktails like the Pornstar Punch and Gold Digger. Opt for the Slippery When Wet, a cocktail made with strawberry, banana, mint, rhum agricole and Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka.

922 N 6th St
Phoenix, AZ 85004

5. Highball

1514 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Highball opened last year and has quickly become a local favorite thanks to its upscale-yet-warm atmosphere, and creative lineup of cocktails. For those who are still dipping their toes into the cocktail world, the menu offers helpful insight into what guests can expect from each drink. For example: boozy, rich, baking spices, tall (That’s the T.T.P. with gin, tequila, sherry, vanilla, pineapple, fig and lemon). A current favorite is the Bamm Bamm’s Cup with Fruity Pebble-infused pineapple rum, mezcal, cereal orgeat, pineapple, lime and berry bitters, which is described simply as smoky, mysterious, fruit flavors, short.

1514 N 7th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85007

6. Platform 18 at Century Grand

3626 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

From the brilliant minds behind UnderTow comes another immersive experience — this time with a turn-of-the-century, train-inspired bar designed to transport visitors back to the early 1900s. There are two main areas of the bar: Either climb aboard Platform 18 for the full train-ride experience, or head to Grey Hen — a New Orleans-style apothecary bar. There’s a full book of cocktail options and customers really can’t go wrong with. For something fun, try the Bootlegger ice cream made with whiskey-infused vanilla bean ice cream topped with dry, indulgent sherry, and finished with toasted hazelnut and balsamic vinegar.

3626 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018

7. UnderTow

3626 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Despite all the great things about Phoenix, this town still doesn’t have a beach; so, if you want the feeling of a tropical oasis without leaving the state, UnderTow is your best bet. The newly relocated tiki bar goes all out to stay on theme and make customers feel like they’re cruising underneath the ocean with island decor and subway portholes around the bar’s perimeter. The eclectic atmosphere is complemented by a multi-page cocktail menu of knockout drinks. Don’t miss the sweet yet complex 30th Parallel crafted with Hendrick’s Gin, Chairman’s 12-year St. Lucian rum (from a private cask), falernum, spiced grapefruit cordial, pennyroyal, lychee, lime and lemon juice.

3626 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018

8. Blue Clover Distillery

7042 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Everyone knows the spirits make the cocktail, and this distillery and bar starts with the highest quality, local gin and vodka. Visit the tasting room for a fun, casual atmosphere and menu filled with bright, citrus-forward cocktails. The easy to sip Glad Eye is an excellent option made with Blue Clover’s own premium grapefruit vodka, Aperol, lemon, Prosecco, and lavender bitters.

7042 E Indian School Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

9. AZ/88

7353 E Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Martini lovers it’s your time to shine because there’s nowhere better known for a great martini in the Phoenix metro area than AZ/88, which has been serving the classic drink since you guessed it, 1988. It’s also been home to several eye-catching art installations over the years, so even those who have been frequenting the bar for its more than three decades in operation can find something new to enjoy. The bar offers more than two dozen variations of the martini, but the house classic is an easy pick: Build it to your liking with gin or vodka with and choice of olives, cocktail onions, or a lemon twist.

7353 E Scottsdale Mall
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

10. The Ostrich

10 N San Marcos Pl #B1, Chandler, AZ 85225

This speakeasy-style bar is putting Chandler’s cocktail scene on the map with an atmosphere that combines 1920s rustic elegance and a life-sized ostrich decoration. Fun fact: It once served as an ostrich feather storage facility for the city’s founder, Dr. AJ Chandler. This bar prides itself on the classics, so we’d order the French 75 made with Chandon Brut, Rouge cognac, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and a lemon twist.

10 N San Marcos Pl #B1
Chandler, AZ 85225

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