As home to one of the largest university campuses in the United States, you might expect Tempe, Arizona, to have its fair share of nightlife. But you might not expect the options to be as diverse as they are. Exploring Tempe after dark is not just for Arizona State University students. In Tempe, everyone is welcome to join the fun.
Enjoy a glass of wine at a relaxing cafe or wine bar. Raise a pint with new friends at one of Tempe’s craft breweries. Dance the night away at one of the many taverns and clubs – or even a sing-along piano bar – along downtown Tempe’s Mill Avenue. Listen to live local music at Tempe Marketplace on weekend nights, or see your favorite band at The Marquee Theatre.
Downtown Tempe: drinks, food & live music
Downtown Tempe is bustling any time of day, but the district really comes alive after the sun sets. Walk from place to place in this very pedestrian-friendly downtown, and create a personalized pub crawl.
Every night of the week, you’ll find a mix of locals and visitors at such popular spots as Rula Bula Irish Pub, Fat Tuesday and Loco Patron.
At Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, pair a cocktail – like bourbon-infused lemonade – with comfort food favorites such as chicken and waffles and the all-American burger. Then show off your skills with a game of corn hole or a twirl around the dance floor.
If a relaxing evening is more your speed, unwind with a glass of wine at House of Tricks or La Bocca Urban Kitchen and Wine Bar, two restaurants that combine tranquil atmospheres with delicious food and drink and a cool downtown vibe.
Culinary Dropout at The Yard Tempe is an impressive space – a historic warehouse transformed into one of the coolest venues in town for happy hour, dinner and handcrafted cocktails. Everything here fits the hip vibe: no uniforms for staff, an innovative menu with dishes like barbecue pork-belly nachos, fire pits, yard games and live music on Wednesday through Saturday nights.
The Marquee Theatre, located just north of downtown on Mill Avenue, is one of the most popular venues for live music in the Phoenix area. It has a full calendar of up-and-coming and well-known national acts. Be sure to buy your tickets soon for Echosmith, George Ezra, MGMT and O.A.R.’s upcoming shows.
Tempe’s performing arts
Tempe is a perfect destination for theatergoers, with stellar productions straight from Broadway and local companies that produce incredible work. Start your evening with dinner and cocktails in downtown Tempe, then take the short walk to ASU Gammage, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed auditorium that is home to one of the most successful university-based Broadway series. Shows such as Hamilton, Wicked and The Book of Mormon have graced the stage here. And next season, beginning in October 2018, includes blockbusters Waitress and Dear Evan Hansen.
Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA) is a beautiful lakeside venue that hosts local theater companies such as Stray Cat Theatre – known for thought-provoking and quirky productions – and Scottsdale Musical Theater Company, which presents some of the most beloved musicals. On Friday and Saturday nights, TCA hosts EDGE Happy Hour, which combines local musicians with creative cocktails and savory food.
Tempe’s craft breweries
Tempe’s breweries pour some of the best craft beers you’ll ever taste. Four Peaks Brewing Company is the place that started Tempe’s craft beer scene more than 20 years ago. Its Kilt Lifter Scottish Ale is the number-one bestselling beer in Arizona. Four Peaks’ location in a historic creamery building on 8th Street is a community-gathering place for great brews, excellent food and an atmosphere that is welcoming and undeniably Tempe.
Credit: Pedaul Haus
In downtown Tempe, you’ll find Pedal Haus Brewery, a bike-friendly spot with a massive patio and award-winning brews. Huss Brewing Co. in south Tempe has a rapidly growing reputation for quality beers, including the Arizona-themed Copper State IPA. Sleepy Dog Brewery is another local favorite, best known for drafts with clever canine-inspired names like Red Rover and Tail Chaser IPA. A relative newcomer, The Shop Beer Co. has made a big impression with its cozy neighborhood location and beers such as Coffee Brown and Desert Pale Ale, which is brewed with a hint of agave.
More late-night fun in Tempe
There are still more options for nightlife in Tempe. Check out some of the best comics around at Tempe Improv, located next to the Arizona State University Tempe Campus.
Visit Tempe Marketplace on weekend nights and stroll through "The District," a walkable area filled with restaurants, bars and shops. Tempe Marketplace hosts live music on the outdoor District Stage every Friday and Saturday night. Find all types of games, food and a full bar at Dave & Buster’s.
A few miles away in south Tempe, Main Event is perfect for a date night or fun with family and friends. Here you’ll find bowling, arcade games, billiards, a gravity ropes course and laser tag.
Brought to you by the Tempe Tourism Office, (800) 283-6734, www.tempetourism.com.