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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Phoenix article click DailyXtraTravel
Boys of Phoenix
Click on the link for a handy PDF version of our January 2008 Phoenix travel feature!|
Text below was undated September 2009
A warm climate year-round, dry desert air, and a modest cost of living: Phoenix and surrounding areas have a lot going for them. What you may not know is that Arizona's major metropolis has a reputation within the
gay community there as being among the most sexually open cities in the U.S.
Located in central Arizona about 150 miles south of Flagstaff and 150 miles north of Tucson, Phoenix is situated on a broad, flat desert basin amid scattered barren rocky mountain peaks. The city's small downtown
contains a few dozen high-rises. Surrounding them is a large metropolitan area that's expanded outward rather than upward. This sprawling city has largely encompassed the surrounding communities of Scottsdale, Mesa,
Tempe, Glendale, and Sun City. Phoenix is now the nation's fifth-largest city.
Bars and clubs
The club scene in Phoenix is somewhat spread out. Bars are open till 1 a.m. serving liquor, and some stay open with after hour parties, without liquor.
If you like strippers, Pumphouse II (4132 E. McDowell) is a down-to-earth club featuring "Hot Bodz" strippers Thursday through Saturday nights from 10:30pm and on Fridays and Sundays from 5-8pm. It's a sexy male revue with guys ranging from slim and smooth to big and muscular. Just five minutes from Sky Harbor Airport and Arizona State University, Pumphouse II also has underwear parties, wet jockey contests, amateur drag shows, and free darts games on Saturdays.
Bunkhouse (4428 N. 7th Avenue) is the bar where everyone knows your name -- or they soon will. They have pool, darts, hot bartenders, and an outdoor patio with fire pit. Monday and Tuesday Poker Nights, Wednesday Karaoke, and Thursday Underwear Nights are regular events and on Saturdays and Sundays they serve up burgers with their $1 draft beers. Open Monday-Saturday from 8am, Sunday from 10am, Bunker has daily Happy Hours until 8pm.
Charlie's (727 West Camelback Road) is a popular Western-themed bar with sister establishments in Denver and Chicago. Mondays here see Amateur Strip Contests, and there are 2-Step and Line Dancing lessons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Fridays and Saturdays go afterhours until 4am, and there are volleyball games all afternoon on Sundays.
(3432 E. Illini St) and their second location, Dick's Cabaret II (2438 E. McDowell Rd), you'll pay more attention to the naked male strippers in constant rotation than the interior decorations, especially if you opt for a private "VIP" session. You could love it one night, hate it another, depending who's on stage, but you always get a genuine slice of Americana.
Other bars include Amsterdam (718 N. Central) a comfortable bar that welcomes all, with great martinis and show nights throughout the week;
Apollo's (5749 7th St) neighborhood favorite with nightly themes, free Wi-Fi and "Greek God" males strippers each Sunday night;
BS West (7125 5th Ave, Scottsdale) a popular dance club with
a full shedule of weekly events including karaoke Thursdays and Sundays,
plus a Beer Bust and BBQ and 5pm all-Male stripper revue on Sundays too;
Cherry Bar (1028 E. Indian School Rd) video bar with mostly male crowd and pool games; and Cruisin' 7th (3702 N. 7th Street), with
Thursday night and Saturday late afternoon male strippers, Wednesdays Comedy, Thursday Leather nights and Friday/Saturday drag revues.
Two local dance clubs attract a young crowd:
Forbidden (6820 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale) for 18+, and
Homme (138 Camelback) playing an alternative, Indie and electro music mix.
Ice Pics Video Bar
(3108 E. McDowell Rd) has a variety of nights, each with it's own crowd, with drag, show tunes, comedy nights, strippers (Friday pros, Thursday amateurs) and karaoke.
Incognito (2424 E. Thomas Rd) features Thursday through Sunday Hip-Hop and R&B dancing with shows and afterhours on weekends until 4am.
Karamba (1724 E. McDowell Rd) is full of hot men dancing to Latin beats on weekends. With Tuesday and Wednesday shows they have a great mix and easy vibe.
Kobalt (3110 N. Central Ave) boasts one of the region's best mixes of people and nightly events rotations, with very popular happy hours with strong drinks, cheap.
Oz (1804 W. Bethany Hone Rd) is a small neighborhood gay pub with pool tables and an outdoor patio where smoking is okay.
Plazma (1560 E. Osborn) is a neighborhood video sports bar to catch the games, play pool or join the karaoke singers.
Velocity 2303 (2303 E. Indian School Rd) is a men's leather and fetish bar with underwear nights, wet boxers and hot bods contests, and other special leather and bear events.
Cash Inn Country (2140 E. McDowell Rd), Club Vibe (3031 E. Indian School), and Z Girl Club (4301 N. 7th Ave) are area clubs that serve mostly women.
Where to eat
Roscoe's All Star Grill (4531 N. 7th Street) is a sports bar with a varied menu and friendly atmosphere. Have a game of darts or pool, or watch the game on one of their nine monitors.
For an affordable Mexican meal stop by Mi Patio (3347 N. 7th Avenue) -- good food and excellent service mean you'll leave feeling satisfied.
If you're looking for a bear or leather-man Chute (1440 E. Indian School Road) is your place. A friendly atmosphere for all, Chute features Leather Night Saturdays and specials on Wednesdays. Sundays after 6 p.m.
-- with a donation of non-perishable food items, dry goods, or toiletries -- you get $5 off at the door. These items are then donated to VIDA, a local AIDS organization. With a gymnasium, steam shower, two leather sling
rooms, and relaxation areas, The Chute enjoys a nice after-hours crowd.
Also check out Off Chute Too (4115 N. 7th Avenue), a store where you will find cute undies, t-shirts, magazines, and kinky stuff, too.
Flex (1517 South Black Canyon Highway), serving Phoenix now for over 20 years, is also open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They feature a pool, jacuzzi, steam room, gym, lockers, and
private rooms. Mondays are Buddy Nights from 4 p.m. to midnight -- one member gets a room or locker at regular price and the buddy gets a free locker. Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4 p.m. till midnight, are half-price rooms. A
similar special is offered on Wednesdays from noon till midnight. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays Flex features an early-bird (11 a.m. till 2 p.m.) special -- just for members -- who get $5 off a locker. Learn more on their
Where to stay
Book at Arizona Sunburst Inn (6245 N 12th Place; 602-274-1474) for a gay oasis in the Valley of the Sun. It's mostly men, with clothing optional sunbathing, swimming and spa and if you stay 7 nights the last night is free. They have Wi-Fi internet, expanded Continental breakfast, and they're pet friendly too.
Rainbow Casita (2707 N. 20th Ave; 602-628-5781) is a gay owned B&B with clothing optional pool, spa and tropical garden in central Phoenix, that's equally convenient to the airport and the gay scene of bars and restaurants.
The Royal Inn (4312 12th Street; 602-266-6883) is a private retreat for gay men, with clothing optional grounds and pool for overnight or day guests. It's in central Phoenix just minutes from shopping, restaurants and light rail service.
For a general public but comfortable midtown Museum District boutique hotel, the Clarendon (401 W Clarendon Avenue; 602-252-7363) is a good option with great pool and rooftop bar, free international phone calls, fitness facility and free WiFi service.