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America’s great college towns always have a great bar scene, and Tempe, Arizona, is no exception! The busy nightlife hub, Mill Avenue, is home to some of the most popular bars in Tempe, AZ. However, many other places cater to those seeking a more sophisticated experience.

Just 15 minutes east of Downtown Phoenix, Tempe’s nightlife combines great dining experiences and a very walkable downtown area bolstered by a colorful bar scene. There is a range of options, from laid-back bars for cocktails and conversation to live music venues spotlighting local artists and eclectic DJ parties to dance the night away on vacation.

Bar-hopping in Tempe is a great way for first-timers to discover all the great locations around town: Downtown Tempe, the Arizona State University campus, the Farmer Arts District, and more. And the best part is that they’re all within a short driving distance from our vacation rentals.

Tempe’s diverse bars await, and these are our favorites.

1. Four Peaks Brewing Company

  • Address: 1340 E 8th St Ste 104, Tempe, AZ
  • Favorite menu item: Kilt Lifter
  • Price Point: $$

There’s nothing like cracking open a can of the famous Kilt Lifter and sipping Arizona’s #1 locally-made beer. This flagship beer continues to be why Four Peaks Brewing Company is one of the most popular bars in Tempe, AZ.

This brewery prides itself on maintaining the traditional grain-straining brewing process it perfected since its opening in 1997. If a Scottish Ale isn’t your fancy, try an 8th Street Pale Ale, paying homage to its original location or the orange-inspired tastes of the WOW Wheat Ale, whose proceeds are donated to support a local non-profit.

Stop by the 8th Street location, established in a century-old building, is the original brewery that features an outdoor patio and hosts tours every Saturday. And with beer cans as colorful as these, consider taking a six-pack to-go and enjoy back at your vacation rental.

2. Pedal Haus Brewery

  • Address: 730 S Mill Ave #102, Tempe, AZ
  • Favorite menu items: German-Style Pilsner, Day Drinker Light Lager, Belgian-Style Tripel
  • Price Point: $$

True craft beer aficionados will feel at home at the Pedal Haus Brewery. Their “True to Style” philosophy treats brewing like art—selecting the right ingredients and brewing methods for an authentic taste. The dedication to the craft shines because it’s taken home awards for the Best Brewery in the US and many gold-medal-winning beers on tap.

Situated in the heart of Downtown Tempe, this is the perfect place to enjoy the incredible weather on the city’s biggest outdoor patio space. Order a flight to sample a variety of European-style beers, like a German Lager paired perfectly with a soft pretzel. Those with more orthodox tastes will find precisely what they’re looking for in the line-up of experimental IPAs.

3. Varsity Tavern

Photo Credit: Thomas Trompeter

  • Address: 501 S Mill Ave # 200, Tempe, AZ
  • Favorite menu item: Varsity Old Fashioned
  • Price point: $$

Sports are a big deal in Tempe. If you didn’t snag tickets to the Arizona Cardinals or ASU collegiate games, Varsity Tavern is the next best place to indulge in fandom.

Varsity Tavern is the epitome of a college town sports bar—a massive 10,000 square-foot venue lined with 90-in TV screens to catch every play regardless if you pick indoor or outdoor seating. As you can imagine, game day is always the most exciting time, but this bar gives a reason to stop by for a drink any day.

The weekly specials make this one of the best bars in Tempe, AZ. There’s something for every day of the week—from $10 burger and brew specials on Mondays to all-day happy hour on Thirsty Thursday.

4. One One Bar

  • Address: 501 S Mill Ave #300, Tempe, AZ
  • Favorite menu item: Beer Selection
  • Price point: $$

While enjoying the bar-hopping nightlife on Mill Avenue, the One One Bar will easily be your favorite. It has three levels, each with a full bar and a different atmosphere for a unique experience.

You’ll get plenty of fresh air on the avenue’s only rooftop bar. Grab a seat on the second-level outdoor balcony for views looking down on the bustling Mill Ave. And there is plenty of space to show off your latest moves on the dance floor or simply relax in a lounge setting.

The One One Bar has happy hour on Monday through Friday.

5. Low Key Piano Bar

Photo Credit: Thomas Trompeter

  • Address: 501 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ
  • Favorite menu item: Long Island Fish Bowl
  • Price point: $$

If you’re looking for a place to escape the raunchy college bars, the Low Key Piano Bar is more—well, low-key! The stage is always set for a good time at this laid-back bar where you’re in total control—from the drinks to the music.

Five nights a week, the bar features local pianists skilled to take on any song request the bar crowd gives them. Drinks are made-to-order by the bartender for the ultimate bespoke cocktail experience. If picking the music and drink is too many decisions for one night, sit back, order their famous Long Island Fish Bowl, and enjoy the show.

6. Yucca Tap Room

  • Address: 29 W Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ
  • Favorite menu item: Rotating seasonal beer selections
  • Price point: $$

Colorful artistic murals decorate Tempe. You’ll find some of the best murals in Danelle Plaza, where you can also stop by one of the best dive bars in Tempe, AZ: the Yucca Tap Room.

Come thirsty because there are nearly 30 beers on tap to try. Taste local brews from Four Peaks Brewing Company, The Shop Beer Co., or find options from around the country as far as Alaska! It also serves cans and bottles to take home your favorites as souvenirs.

The venue is just as fun as picking which beer to try next. It’s a popular spot for live music shows, pool tables and has a wall lined with retro pinball machines.

7. Handlebar Tempe

Photo Credit: Thomas Trompeter

  • Address: 680 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ
  • Favorite menu item: Frolic Margarita, Mo Than A Jito
  • Price point: $$$

Handlebar Tempe is happy to welcome bikers looking for a refreshing beer after biking the Tempe Town Lake waterfront. This must-visit contemporary American beer garden was nominated by the Phoenix New Times for the Best Beer Cocktail.

Park your bike and grab a seat in the cocktail bar lounge. Bartenders keep the energy high with bottle-flipping tricks while pouring perfect mixes of signature tropical-inspired drinks like the Frolic Margarita and Mo Than A Jito. The bar also features 24 draft beers and 50 craft beer cans for beer lovers.

Check their social media for special events like Whiskey Wednesdays, Karaoke Night, sports watch parties, and more.

Take a Sip of Tempe

Enjoy a day on the town at the best bars in Tempe, AZ. It’s a great night out from your vacation home rental to explore our city’s vibrant bar scene. Browse our collection of luxury vacation rentals to find your home away from home during your stay in Tempe.

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