How does someone under 30 living in Tempe spend their weekend nights after a long week of work or classes? By grabbing a drink and taking pleasure in the bustling nightlife of Mill Avenue. This street is a historical landmark for the City of Tempe as it has been around since 1931 and has gained a pretty noteworthy status as one of America’s great streets.
The time of year in which you can see the most unity within the Mill Avenue community is during the College Football season when the Arizona State University Sun Devils win a game. But in all honesty, any occasion is a great time to spend the night or day on Mill because there are more than 100+ venues, including restaurants, clubs and retail shops to check out.
Not every city in the country can claim status as a “College Town” but thanks to the Mill Avenue Sun Devils, Tempe residents have the right to do so. If you’re all about the nightlife, Mill Avenue is the party town for you. The scene is absolutely ridiculous (in a good way) since there’s an environment for everyone. If I had to handpick five bars and nightclubs where you would have a great night, it would be the following:
1. Mill Cue Club – This is by far one of the most famous and hottest bars on Mill as it’s widely known for its legendary Long Island Iced Teas. Order one of these drinks while shooting some pool with your pals and you’ll be sure to start your night off on the right foot. Cue Club has been around for some time now and it’s not closing down anytime soon.
2. Moonshine Whiskey Bar – Moonshine is everybody’s favorite country-themed bar. It displays an amazing ambiance and it’s one of the few bars on Mill that’s home to a big enough dance floor to get your two-step on. If you’re a fan of country music—and having a ball—this is definitely your place.
3. Gringo Star – Gringo Star is a relatively new bar that opened up on Mill last May. It’s home to a vintage arcade with classic games like Pac Man and Ski Ball (free beers if you score over 400) and has a modern street art and 90s theme.The 6,500-square-foot venue also boasts industrial furniture, a wood-clad bar, a state-of-the-art sound system for DJs, a stage and a patio. Gringo Star is a one-of-a-kind locale on Mill and mostly attracts Arizona State University students who are looking for a little diversion.
4. El Hefe – This hangout just recently opened up over the 2013-14 winter break and has become a popular venue on Mill Avenue. I’d recommend grabbing a beergarita and taking in the blaring music and flashing lights as you interact with peers in this festive atmosphere. It’s the second El Hefe opened in the Valley after its original location in Old Town Scottsdale. El Hefe Tempe has adopted a lot of the same décor as the original franchise but gets more boisterous on Friday nights compared to its Scottsdale counterpart.
5. Firehouse – My personal favorite to wrap up a night out on Mill Avenue. The location is rumored to be cursed because there’ve been five separate businesses since 2008, but this bar and restaurant has been prosperous for the past year and a half. Firehouse stays true to its name with a 1949 pumper fire truck located inside and, in my opinion, DJs who always know what to play to get the place rocking.
California Native and Arizona State University Student Joshua Montecino is currently a junior pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Tourism Development and Management. He will one day become a global voyager and Arizona is his starting destination.