I lived in Tucson, AZ for 20 years. If you want to meet the local crowd, go to some concerts down on 4th Avenue in a bar or club (unfornately, the live jazz bar and restaraunt "Cafe Sweetwater" has closed boo-hoo but there is a club in its place). Also, many times a year, the Avenue hosts outdoor parties (other than the Street Fair) where you can hear more than one band (say hi to the famous Yolanda at Good-natured Futons). If nothing is going on here, run on down to downtown, where there are multiple venues for live music (check out the Hotel Congress).
Tucson has great nightlife, we know this because we started a nightlife site just for Tucson Nightlife.., TheBeerRun.com is our nightlife site all about bars,clubs and concerts in Tucson. We have promoters posting new events and it's a social network as well.
There are tons of places in Tucson to have fun, i know since i've been in PHX, and Tucson for nightlife and we got lots to do.
Club Congress, Skirts and more downtown to O'malleys, Maloney's, Ches, North and more on 4th.. LEVEL on River, PEARL on Wetmore, RA and NORTH in the Foothills.. It's tons of fun.
check out www.thebeerrun.com for a lot of nightlife in TUCSON. All the lame people posting there isn't much to do... have no clue.
Dress Code: 4th has no dress code really, just don't wear thugged out clothes and baggy jeans...
La Encantada area has nice dress code as well as Pearl and Level.. nice but casual no sneakers and short sleeves.
Depending on your style is where you should go obviously, we have more info on www.thebeerrun.com
Typical clientele is listed as "tough chicks and rock dudes". Slightly older crowd. Decor tend to pictures of painted ladies, roller derby jerseys, and a poster of Angelina Jolie. The Surly Wench attracts a very interesting crowd. Alternative lifestyles, welcome. They sometimes have live music of the acoustic, punk, or trash variety. Hours are 5PM to 2AM.
Dress Code: Tattoos, biker jackets, jeans, fishnet, etc.
O'Malley's is a bar and grill located on the corner of 4th Avenue and 8th Street. They serve all types of drinks including Jose Cuervo Margaritas on tap, and typical bar and grill food. I only had a drink so I cannot testify as to the quality of the food. The decor is sports and alcohol related. They have big screen TVs tuned to sports (and strangely enough Dr. Phil). They also have 4 nice pool tables. The staff was friendly and the girl behind the bar was cute. I paid $1.75 for a large glass of Sprite. Popular hangout for U of A students.
Dress Code: Pretty flexible. Frat Boy and Sorority Girl chic.
Maloney's is one of the best places to go on 4th Avenue for fun, music, and to meet people. They serve sandwiches, sliders, quesadillas, and burgers; but mostly people come here to drink and meet new people. Very popular hangout for U of A students. Try the Fiji Chicken Sandwich a blackened chicken breast with an avocado slice, tomato, onion, bean sprouts, muenster cheese, and jalapeno mustard, for $8.95.
Dress Code: Pretty liberal; but you must remain dressed.
The Surly Wench Pub lives up to it's name. The bartendresses have attitude for miles, but if you can hang with that, it's all good. The pub itself is a funky dive/artspace with live music & DJ nights. It is also the home of The Black Cherry Burlesque Troupe and they have performances almost on a monthly basis. The burlesque shows are fantastic, you must check it out, but pay the extra money for VIP or 2nd row to really get the full spectacle.
They're also the "unofficial" pub of The Tucson Roller Derby, so you might see some real live roller girls if you're there at the right time.
Food is available from a tiny kitchen; burgers, fried stuff, sandwiches, quesadillas, etc. and it's not too bad actually.
AND a good juke box!
Dress Code: There are no special requirements, but expect to see tattoos & alternative styles.
A 70's ambiance with hip, laid-back crowd, cool-as-hell bartenders, and $2.50 drafts on weekdays (Sierra Nevada, Newcastle, Four Peaks, Harp, Guiness, +others). Plush is my favorite bar in town. It is also the best venue in town. You won't always see the greatest bands here, but there is almost a band playing, always for less than $10. There is a back room that opens up for the larger acts, which is just as cool as the rest of the bar, and a small stage area they clear out in the main bar for smaller acts.
There is also a non-smoking wine bar area at the back (a new addition in the past year), with yet another patio that edges into the parking lot, flanking Sixth Street.
The crowds arrive start getting in around 9, but there are people here at 5.
The Surly Wench:
The Surly Wench has quickly become a staple for the younger, cynnical set along Fourth. Show occur about 3-4 times per week, and there is almost always a cover. There are two pool tables, booths, a long bar and a very interesting decor. $1.50 Schlitz and PBR cans are popular, but they do have some decent stuff as well. The wood floors make it noisy, and the crowds come in around 9pm.
There right next door to each other, and really about the same thing. These are the frat boy bars in town. O'Malley's is a little more alcoholic/binge drinking-oriented, while Maloney's is more of a meat market. Beer selection, ambiance and music are all poor at both places. Maloney's is also a chain. Stay away from these places unless you're in a frat, desperate to get laid, or both.
North is called such because it is the northern-most bar on Fourth. Once upon a time, there was live music, but this is gone. The bar now exists as a sort of dingy frat bar, where you come to drown in Bud Light for not a lot of money. Lots of pool tables, but very smokey and nasty. Also somewhat of a pick-up bar.
Dress Code: Maloney's occassionally has a dress code, but it isn't much (no flip-flops, no ratty t-shirts).
The rest are very un-pretentious, and you can come in however you'd like.
With a name like the Surly Wench Pub, I had to check this place out. However, I did not go on White Trash Wednesdays. The pub has live music and resonable drink prices.
Dress Code: Black, hipster wear and trailer park chic.
My husband is from Argentina. So when I took him to Tucson, I thought what better place to take him than to a capitalist bar named after a Marxist Argentine. It is a youngish hipster crowd. It is a relaxed atmosphere but small. It can get really crowded. Drinks are pretty resonable (No DC prices!).
Dress Code: It is Tucson - every place is relaxed. Hipster wear.
Large, roomy bar/nightclub. Didn't sample the food, but they have RedBull!
When our group wheeled in about 10pm,(courtesy of the bestest driver/host ever: Cyrus! You rock, dude!) The place was already getting pretty busy. The Tucson location (there are 4 Maloney's) is broken into two main areas, as far as I can remember anyways. The first area has a large bar, and maybe some pool tables, a separate dining area and plenty of leaning rails to rest your fine pilsner on.
The second area has a large bar as well, but also a sizeable dance floor and DJ. By 11pm things were getting loud and crowded, and as the night went on, the dance floor was the place to be. We visited on a Friday night, and the DJ was definitely trying to please all facets of popular music throughout the night. This is difficult to pull off successfully, but I will give the DJ an A+ for effort. Most of our crowd was OK with it, but a few wanted to stick to mingling music (hey, you can't please them all.)
Dress Code: It seemed open to jeans and sneaks, so pretty much anything goes.
There are at least a few pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs located on both sides of 4th North Avenue just north of a downtown. This is area more for locals than tourists, I suppose. But looked safe and quite nice. And there were quite many locals there in the evening - mainly young people.
Dress Code: Casual dress = T-shirt + jeans or shorts + trainers for example. No nudity accepted :-). Strange clothes accepted!
Large club with 2 bars. Has plush red carpeting everywhere except dance floor. Live music mostly concentrating on southwestern/country music. If you see locals Teddy Morgan, Al Perry, Fourkiller Flats or Rodeo Queen listed in The Tucson Weekly check them out! They're some of our best talent. Be warned that it is a very smoky place. You can hang out in the other room if you're not interested in the music. Drinks are rather pricey though.
Dress Code: None
One of the oldest bars in tucson. A total dive! Cheap beer, pool table and shuffleboard. Jukebox has records in it probably from when it first opened. You will see very shady characters here, but the college crowd loves it after about 10:30pm.
Dress Code: None