7 hacks for a cheap night out in Phoenix


They say write what you know. Some have won Pulitzers for editorial writing. Others have brought forth meaningful change through in depth investigative reporting. Me? I'm here to talk about barhopping. This may not win me any Pulitzers. But if I can even save one tourist $20 on an night out, I consider that a job well done. Going out to the bars in Phoenix usually means one thing - Old Town Scottsdale. Old Town is great, but it can be damn expensive. You're easily looking at a $100 night without proper guidance. Heed my advice and you shall paint the town red with several hard earned dollars to spare.

1. Sake bomb at Geisha a Go Go

If you're going to Old Town, it's best to load up on drinks when they're still semi-affordable. Your best bet is to start of your night at Geisha a Go Go. This sushi bar is a prime spot to get aggressive early. Their happy hour includes half priced drinks from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can get cheap beer, fruit cocktails, and $5 sake bombs. It's so cheap that you can drink even if you're on a freelance writers salary.

2. Win booze at Giligin's

Post happy hour, you're going to want to kill a few hours before hitting the big bars. That's where Giligin's comes in. Think of Giligin's like a Chuckie Cheese for drunk adults. They have goldfish races, giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, and beer pong. They even have what I lovingly call a "Wheel of Death" - a spin wheel where you can win alcoholic prizes. Oh, they also sell 24-ounce beers for cheap.

3. Dive it up at Patties

Patties checks all the boxes of a classic dive bar. They have drunken regulars, pool sharks, and most importantly, cheap drinks. It's hard to capture the appeal of Patties with the written word. Maybe it's the dollar bills stapled to the wall. Maybe it's the ping pong tables. Maybe it's the inevitable sight of a drunk guy stumbling his way through a dance routine. Regardless, Patties is a must on any cheap barhopping night.

4. Hop in a golf cart

By now you should be ready to hit the major league bars. Sadly, getting from Patties to the main bars is quite the trek. You could fight with an Uber driver over surge prices, but your best mode of transportation is a golf cart. No, I'm not advocating stealing a golf cart (no matter how awesome that sounds). Old Town has a bunch of drivers cruising around in golf carts just waiting to pick up drunk passengers. You'll be able to snag a ride for cheap as long as you have a few bucks for a tip.

5. Buy a Personal Pitcher at Whiskey Row

I'm not going to lie - I hate country music. I loathe country the way most of America loathes Nickleback. Still, country bars are a part of Arizona's DNA. Give in to the country gods and head to Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row. Instead of paying $8 for a beer at neighboring bars, you can grab a personal 32-ounce domestic pitcher for $6. This liquid courage will turn you into a line dancing king.

6. Drink like a boss at El Hefe

El Hefe is a typical Old Town bar. The music is way too loud, the crowds are way too big, and the drinks are way too expensive. Still, El Hefe has something the other bars don't - the Luchador. This shirtless, masked wonder is hellbent on getting the party started. His sole job is to dance on the bar and pour liquor down the mouths of unwitting customers. If you're lucky enough to flag down the Luchador, you can get a shot for the low cost of a $1 tip. The Luchador also has an army of table dancing women at his disposal who have free reign to pour you Fireball for tips.

7. Grab a slice from Joe's Pizza

Congratulations, you successfully got drunk for cheap. Use some of your savings on something truly special - drunk munchies. Most people leaving the bars stumble upon Mr. Mesquite Street Tacos. Their carne asada tacos create an irresistible aroma for even the strongest willed boozer. However, these tiny $3 tacos aren't nearly big enough to fill a drunk stomach. Your better bet is to continue on to Joe's New York Pizza. This is the de facto drunk munchie spot in Old Town. You can get a satisfying NY slice for $3.50.


John Kuells is a freelance writer and Phoenix native. When not barhopping, he can be found writing for his blog The Book of Kuells.