Surly Wench Pub: Happy Hour
This is a great place for happy Hours. I attended a meet-up at Surly Wench with my meet-up friends on a Friday night. It is not a very big establishment, but enough to host up to 50-100 people. The pub had great music, and service was commendable. The finger foods are delicious.
Atmosphere was inviting, the interior decor good. The exterior looks a little rugged and less inviting, but do not let that stop you from going in.
I do not drink beer, so I normally go for the stronger drinks like wine, whiskey, rum, jin, vodka etc. The bartender said their Jameson Kami-kazi is a favorite, so I tried it. I must admit I was surprised how good it was.
Later in to the night, I tried their whiskey sour. The live music adds charm and atmosphere,Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Cookout & Songs in the Cottonwood Grove: Around the Campfire
On special evenings during the week, the Tanque Verde Chefs and Ranch hands would throw a campfire cookout at the Cottonwood Grove, a clearing just off of one of the ranch's trails. The night of our arrival, the sun had already set and the campfires were burning bright at the Cottonwood Grove. Red-checkered tableclothes covered the wooden picnic tables which were circled around big campfires. The campfires, edged in rock, lent a wonderful glow to evenings in the cottonwoods and kept any chill at bay. Lively western music from a lone guitar filled the evening air.
Some families were just finishing their meal and others such as us were arriving hungry and excited. Mesquite wood fires lent a unique flavor to burgers, chicken, ribs and even hotdogs they were grilling! Potato salad, garden salad, and macaroni salad accompanied baked beans and corn-on-the-cob for side dishes. Blueberry crumble for dessert was baked right in the outdoor, brick oven. Lemonade, water, iced tea were the beverages offered, but sodas and beers could also be purchased on the spot. Don't expect a gourmet meal, but the food is good, hot, and there's plenty of it!
Lending to the atmosphere, the singing of Western cowboy songs by Mr. Tom Chambers kept us all entertained. Mr. Chambers told us about his hope of keeping these genuine, western cowboy songs alive for present-day folks and I thought of what a great gift he was giving us all. People lingered at the Cottonwood Grove long after the meal to hear Tom sing and watch the children having the time of their lives running around like crazy, playing tag, catching bugs, "hootin n'howlin."
More than the good, hot & filling food, I appreciated the opportunity to enjoy this terrific experience which is the essence of western American history and life. I couldn't help but think that this is the way many cowboys in the 1800's spent their evenings after a hard day of riding the fences or driving cattle. Simple pleasures are often some of the best!
The trip to Tanque Verde brought to fruition an unexpressable childhood dream---I hope to return to experience this part of our country & culture again soon!
(Apologies for the poor qualities of the photos.)
Dress Code: Cowboy boots & hats if you have them, jeans, shorts, western shirts, t-shirts, fleeces--just about anything for a comfortable evening in the desert!
I recommend closed-toe shoes in case you run into any critters going to or coming from the Cottonwood Grove.Related to:
- Family Travel
Kitt Peak Observatory: Stars galore
Kitt Peak has a night observation program that you need to register well in advance for. We got to spend about 2 hours viewing the stars through a 20" reflector telescope. BE PREPARED - the temperatures on Kitt Peak are about 20° cooler at night than the city of Tuscon. But it is definitely worth it.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Dog House Saloon: Great Margaritas & Its Got a Pool Table!
The one place at Tanque Verde Ranch that adults can call their own is the "Dog House Saloon." Though looking like an unpretentious Mexican casita from the outside, the inside is very inviting with its compact bar, plenty of tables and chairs, a fireplace and a pool table. The interior space feels more like a log cabin than a saloon and feels kind of cozy. The evening light casts a rich glow on the wood plank floors and stripped log beams. Many take their drinks to the outside veranda terrace which overlooks the tennis court area and it can be difficult to find a seat because it becomes a very popular place at sunset!
A friendly crowd also gathers inside when it's cocktail time, and it's enjoyable to sit inside and munch on the free popcorn to pass time or prior to dinner. I couldn't get my husband to play a game of pool, so we eventually mosied on over to another outside spot where he enjoyed a cigar with his drink.
The Saloon does not open until about 5 pm. If you prefer to stroll the front lawn, enjoy the pool area or walk around the ranch with your drink, treat yourself to the walk-up window of the saloon. My husband thought this was great!
The Saloon sells a limited variety of mixed drinks and beer.
Various: A Run-Down on UA Area Drinking
The Main Gate area is along University between Park and Euclid.
One of Tucson's three brewpubs is on University just west of the UA campus. Gentle Ben's also serves food in addition to their many fresh beers. Happy hour (M-F 4-8) brings $2.50 drafts and discounted appetizers.
Frog n' Firkin, across the street from Ben's, is another UA institution. It's a younger crowd with a much smaller bar area but usually better food. Decent draft beer selection and a huge bottle selection.
No Anchovies next door has a good selection of draft beers and some excellent pizza. Daily specials as well.
Belushe's, on Sixth Street between Park and Highland, is a campus staple. Daily draft specials, $2 Coronas all the time, and some pretty good food, it becomes the big sports bar on game days. Very mixed crowd of die-hard alcoholics, UA employees and UA students.
Zachary's, just down the street from Belushe's, is mainly famous for its pizza. However, they have one of the best draft beer selections in town, with imperial pints and daily beer specials.
A newer entry is 1702 on Speedway between Cherry and Campbell. Currently (it has changed several times), they serve huge slices of pizza, soups and wings, but the main attraction here is the beer. A rotating selection of guest taps has fostered a policy of no printed drink list. Instead, you order off of a white board. The beers are all excellent and the servers are all well-versed in what's best suited for your tastes. This is definitely a beer aficionado's place and not for someone who wants a bottle of Bud Light (not served) or a glass of wine (also not served).
A couple of other places I'm not really going to discuss because I either don't like them or I've never been to and they're not my scene: Dirtbag's, Championship Dining, Auld Dubliner.
Dress Code: All casual.
various bars off the bar strips: other bar areas
Like most other cities, Tucson does have some good bars off of its major bar strips.
Grant Road is one of the better ones, with bars strewn along for several miles:
The Kingfisher (between Tucson and Country Club) mainly serves as a high-end restaurant, but also has a popular, high-end bar mostly frequented by the hip, late 20's, early 30's set.
French Quarter (just east of Country Club) serves Louisiana style food, has live music (usually cover bands) on the weekends, and is a pretty decent bar. It's a little wilder than Kingfisher, but good all the same.
The Shelter (between Alvernon and Swan) has a strong 60's motif (not Tim Leary 60's, but rather JFK 60's), a good crowd, and is a good drinking spot on most nights. It's a small place, in a very interesting building, so it fills up quickly after 9pm Th-Sun. Very casual and very Tucson.
During the day, it's mostly a business area, but at night, the strip between Speedway and Grant is a popular bar area. The big ones are the Cactus Moon (country music dancing, but also hip-hop with a very mixed crowd) and Sakura (sake bombs with live patio music on Fri/Sat), but there are several establishments close by. Monkey Business, a restaurant on Wilmot south of Broadway, is a good hang-out for after-work drinking. There are also two newer, more dance club places in the area: DV-8 on Speedway west of Wilmot and Ice (formerly City Limits) on Wilmot at Pima.
Dress Code: The Kingfisher is a little snobby, although I don't think anything is official. Business casual level should be suitable.
The Auld Dubliner: Ireland Comes to The Desert Southwest
Can you imagine building a Pub entirely in Ireland, dismantling it, shipping it to Tucson, in the desert, and the building it piece by on site? That is what they di dwith teh Auld Dubliner, an authentic Irish Pub built in Dublin and then dismantle dand reassembled here.
They have an Irish Session every Sunday at 4 o'clock. When I am feeling homesick for Ireland, I can count on some delcious Irish stew and a dram of Jameson's to send me back again.
Dress Code: CasualRelated to:
- Women's Travel
HoneyBee Park in Oro Valley: Nighttime Desert Stroll
Be cautious of nightime desert wildlife and all, bet a hike in the cool desert at night is awesome...coyotes howl...javelinas prowl and oh the snakes!! Not so bad in the winter...its great
Dress Code: probably have to be dressedRelated to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Travel with Pets
The Shelter: Swank!
The Shelter is a go-go boot wearing, martini drinking, swanky, groovy lounge! The decor consists of JFK rugs, lava lamps, leopard -print wallpaper, red leather booths and 60's style lamps. There are some DJ nights if you feel like dancing and they have a pool table area. Always a 60's movie on the tv. Can get rather smokey though.
Dress Code: None
Movie Theaters in Tucson: Movie Opening Madness
Going the the movies on a weekend in Tucson can get frustrating fast, especially if it is a big opening weekend. Tucson is very big on opening weekends.
If you want to see a movie that just opened on a Friday or Saturday night you must buy your tickets in advance! By 5pm on Friday most of the newer shows will be sold out for the rest of the night. It was a little bit of a shock when I first came to Tucson.
Buy your tickets ahead of time and I also recommend getting to the theater by atleast half an hour before the show if you are planning for seats together that aren't in the first few rows.
The best advice, however, might be to just wait until a matinee or a week after a movie opens. It may still be busy, but not sold out.
Dress Code: CasualRelated to:
- Theater Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Casino Del Sol: Casino
This Indian casino is the one most convenient to Tucson. It has 6 restaurants in addition to its multiple rooms of slots and tables.Related to:
- Casino and Gambling
Cigar Bar: Cigar Bar
Here's the group (minus Elaine) at the Cigar Bar!
The food was great! So was the service! Thanks Jackson! ;o}
The Desert Diamond Casino: The Desert Diamond Casino
There are two casinos in Tucson.
The Desert Diamond Casino is the one we went to.
The woman next to me won a bunch but not me so we weren't there long.
It was fun though.
Dress Code: Wear anything you want to.
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