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Phoenix Gay Bars Guide - Best Gay-Friendly Restaurants and Bars in Phoenix

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11. Cash Inn Country - lesbian bar

photo by Andrew Collins

Drawing a predominantly lesbian crowd, this is one of the country's top country-western-themed women's bars and an extremely popular hangout in Phoenix. Line-dancing and two-stepping are a big part of the fun at Cash Inn Country (2140 E. McDowell Rd., 602-244-9943), but there's also darts and pool, free Wi-Fi, and an expansive patio out back. Many nights the DJs spin other types of music, too - from Latin to standard dance tunes. If you're not so big on cocktails, just drop in and hang out in the coffee bar. It's a very friendly place, with an especially nice bunch of folks working behind the bar.

12. Charlie's - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins

A rather butch bunch of guys, many who favor cowboy garb, frequent this long-time Phoenix favorite - Charlie's (727 W. Camelback Rd., 602-265-0224) also has branches in Chicago, Denver, and Las Vegas. An expansive dance floor, regularly updated decor, and great lighting and sound systems help this dependable country-western club keep up with the times and continue pulling in a dedicated crowd. Line-dancing and two-stepping are the dance styles of choice (lessons are offered many evenings), and on Friday and Saturday the place is open after-hours (til 4 am), when it draws a more eclectic crowd and plays popular dance music starting around 11 pm on Fridays and 1 am on Saturdays (when the crowd shifts dramatically, drawing more young clubbers - both men and a fair number of women). There's volleyball on Sunday afternoons.

13. Cheuvront Restaurant and Wine Bar - restaurant

photo by Andrew Collins
This inviting, hip wine bar just a short walk north of Bar on Central and Club Miami is run by openly gay former state senator Ken Cheuvront, and although it's a mainstream venue, you'll nearly always find gay folks convening here to partake of the superb wines and even more impressive food (including phenomenally delicious pizzas and platters of cheese). Cheuvront (1326 N. Central Ave., 602-307-0022) offers up dozens of wines by the glass are offered, and there's both conventional table seating as well as cushy sofas. Intimate and with low decibels, this is the perfect spot for a date or an evening out with friends.

14. Citizen Public House (Scottsdale) - restaurant

photo by Andrew Collins
A hip gastropub in Old Scottsdale's trendy 5th Avenue neighborhood, Citizen Public House (Craftsman Court at 5th Ave., 480-398-4208) serves stellar craft cocktails and creative renditions of classic American dishes. From the drinks list, consider the Bijou 13 (with Beefeater 24 and green Chartreuse) or the Rye's Wide Open (Wild Turkey, spiced apple cider, Fever-Tree bitter lemon soda, and sage on the rocks). The food is every bit as interesting, and perfectly prepared, including pork belly pastrami with rye spaetzle, chicken-and-waffles with almond butter and blue-clover honey, and a memorable dessert of pina colada bread pudding with brown sugar-rum praline.

15. Club 24 - gay bar

A casual neighborhood spot that's popular with bears and leather dudes, Club 24 (2424 E. Thomas Rd., 602-334-1462) is owned by the same team behind Cruisin' 7th and Anvil. The "Bears Den" happy hour on Fridays from 3 until 7 is a popular event, and Sundays are big with the leather crowd.

16. Denny's (no, seriously - the one at N. 7th St. and Camelback) - restaurant

photo by Andrew Collins
Yeah, yeah - go ahead and roll your eyes. There's not much new to say about the food and beverages served at the ubiquitous chain diner Denny's (5002 N. 7th St., 602-279-7721), but this particular location at Camelback and 7th Street has for many years been a favorite rendezvous for post-clubbing gays into the wee hours. It's pretty fun for people-watching, especially late at night, which is also the time of day when a Lumberjack Slam can seem like a great idea.

17. Cruisin' 7th - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
An old-school neighborhood bar that's been a hit with fans of strippers, drag shows, and the transgender scene since the late '70s, Cruisin' 7th (3702 N. 7th St., 602-212-9888) is just a laid-back, low-frills cruise bar. It's an all-welcoming place, and without any attitude.

18. Distrito at the Saguaro Hotel (in Scottsdale) - restaurant

photo by Andrew Collins
Part of the restaurant-bar empire of celeb TV (Next Iron Chef) star Jose Garces, Distrito (4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd., 480-970-4444) is inside the boldly modern Saguaro Scottsdale, a distinctive and brightly colored boutique hotel right in the heart of the city's Civic Center Mall area and an easy walk from Old Town galleries and restaurants. The hotel has had several incarnations (Mondrian, the James, the Theodore) and struggled to succeed in each case - here's hoping the Saguaro, part of the gay-friendly, San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre brand, can finally flourish here. Distrito is a beautiful space, using the hotel's same bright color palette, and the restaurant and adjoining swanky cocktail bar serves superb contemporary, and rather adventuresome, versions of regional Mexican cuisine - veal tongue tacos, sweet-corn soup with huitlacoche, duck with blood orange and mole negro sauce. The bar is a great place to sample artisan tequila and agave.

19. Dick's Cabaret - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
The city's most popular gay strip bar, Dick's (3432 E. Illini St., 602-274-3425) moved to a new location just south of Sky Harbor airport several years ago. It's a bit of an effort to find, as it's tucked amid a row of industrial concerns, but it's also very near several airport hotels along University Drive. The bar is well-regarded for its hunky dancers, and it's perhaps most famous because one of those handsome guys - David Hernandez - went on to show off his considerable vocal endowment as a finalist on American Idol (in 2008). That claim to fame aside, it's a pretty fun spot to ogle strippers.

20. Fez - restaurant

photo by Andrew Collins
Attractive and modish Fez (3815 N. Central Ave., 602-287-8700) is a hot spot among the GLBT set for brunch as well as cocktails, dinner, and late-night happy hour. Cocktails like the mint chipper (vanilla vodka, creme de menthe, Godiva white chocolate, and cream) appeal to sweet-tooths, while the food menu tends toward share-friendly, eclectic dishes (many with Middle Eastern influences), such as spicy harissa hummus, apricot-honey-glazed salmon, kisra flatbread pizzas, cuman-cinnamon-carrot soup.

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