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Despite its name, the Bikini Lounge is not the place to gawk at busty bartenders in swim wear. Instead, Bikini Lounge is blend of every personality on the downtown spectrum. Friendly, long-term bartenders serve drinks to the business crowd, Trunk Space art venue hipster overflow and, ahem, more regular joes who have been visting the bar for years. The bar first opened its doors way back in 1946, making it the oldest watering hole in Phoenix. It maintains its '40s appeal, only making basic repairs throughout the years, while updating its overall vibe with professional DJs spinning six days a week, including 602'sdays and Bikini-a-Go-Go, where local favorites blast a mastered mix of music genres for packed crowds.
As glass towers and luxury lofts continue rising in downtown Phoenix, theres been a shindig for the past half-decade thats truly remained undergr...
If you wanted to put a label on it, Phoenix’s vintage tiki bar Bikini Lounge could be called many things. Some would deem it a hipster paradise, wh...
At long last, there's pie again at Bragg's Pie Factory. A new vegan cafe, Bragg's Factory Diner, has opened in the very spot out of which the Bragg family originally sold cakes and pies in the '40s a... More »
Christmas Day is certain to be a busy time for anyone and everyone around the Valley. But once all the packages have all been unwrapped, the yule log has gone out, and the last of the eggnog has been... More »
There's something magical about the Bikini Lounge--magical in the way a particularly strange shade of fungus might appear to you at three in the morning. You sort of stare, unable to fully comprehend what it is, but you know it is disgusting and somehow it cheers you up.
Bikini Lounge is the very definition of a dive bar. It's small, dark, cramped and full of cheap booze and loud patrons. There's dancing, some nights, with DJs who may even refuse to play dance beats. The bar tenders are generally helpful, though there is one woman who will more likely punch you in the face than serve you drinks, and there's a cluster of leather-clad, denim-soaked biker guys gathered around the single solitary pool table, scowling at each other while hipsters smoke cigarettes right outside.
This place isn't for everyone, not at all. Its for the people who like to skirt an edge--what edge, I can't say, but an edge, a precipice, and just a slight misstep will send you toppling over it, but here, in the balance, there's a sense of strange equilibrium.
What I'm trying to pretentiously say is that the Bikini Lounge is the perfect dive bar. The drinks are cheap, the atmosphere is thick, and its a paradise of filth and grime and tacky glitz and faded glamour. Its old, its inviting, and there's rarely a dull moment. This is a bar to come to if you want an adventure, and in a way, is there anything more you could want out of a bar?
It's hard to imagine all the insane things Wesley "Wes" Nieto has seen over the 23 years she's worked at Bikini Lounge, one of downtown's most cherished dives. Naturally, Nieto is one tough lady, never one to mince words, and more than apt to deliver a stinging insult if she finds your drink order less than worthy. But that's all part of her charm -- she'll rip you a new one with a smile, then pour you an extra-stiff cocktail to salve the wound. Her two-plus decades at the Bikini... More »
Six years ago, longtime downtowners Bradford and Andy McPants started a weekly underground DJ night at Bikini Lounge. They had no way of knowing the beast they were creating. After various incarnations and resident DJs, today's artsy dance party is 602'sdays, and you're not going to find anything else like it in the Valley. Folks like Djentrification, Meaty Ogre, and Salchi von Papi spin and mash up sonic oddities such as rare Afrobeat, Turkish psych, and Thai funk. Throughout the year, the... More »
Wes, as she's known to friends and regulars, is from the old school. Not the fancy spinning-shaker-of-death-thru-fire bartender, but the give-it-to-me-straight school of bartending. We couldn't be happier about that.It's true that Wes doesn't take any guff, so you'd better be nice to the staff and the regulars. There's no snapping your fingers or waving bills at the Bikini Lounge. We dare you to try. We saw someone do that once -- rumor has it they're still waiting for a drink. Wes has... More »
This fast-paced world of today? We are not entirely down with it. Take last year, when Bikini's jukebox was replaced by some digitized interwebby thing mere days before its (perhaps no longer deserved) Best Jukebox award went to press. But this artsy-skeevy-tiki bar is a delicate ecosystem. Knowing this, its proprietors maintain some balance by designating a surly, savvy Homo sapiens to finesse the weekend's sounds (at an event called Sophisticated Boom Boom -- though if you're really... More »
We know what makes a jukebox good: selection, selection, selection. Take Election Night, 2004. We stumble into the Bikini, where the beer and cable TV are flowing. Before long, we realize some things won't be resolved that night -- things about Ohio. But we need closure, some way to process recent events, and we spy the jukebox. Five dollars buys 25 tracks and puts red states and blue states behind us for a while. Our personal, cathartic, ephemeral mix tape: Marvin Gaye, Rolling Stones... More »
In the parlance of gaming, a sawdust joint is a no-frills, lower-end gambling parlor, the kind of place where they might even have sawdust on the floor, but where you can still catch that betting buzz. Now, there's no sawdust on the floor of the Bikini Lounge, and there's not even gambling, unless you're wagering on when the cat next to you is going to try to light his cigarette the wrong way around. But if Phoenix is a player's paradise, then it follows that there are both sawdust juke... More »
The Bikini Lounge is the kind of watering hole Charles Bukowski would have immortalized in poem or Jack Kerouac would have lived across from while banging out On the Road. A place where the beer is cheap and the chicks are extra-friendly. The sort of taproom where you can meet anyone from a teamster to a mad artist to a street philosopher all in as much time as it takes you to amble the length of the lounge. This is especially true on First Fridays, with all roads leading to this 57-year-old... More »
Crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, as you push your way through the Bikini Lounge toward the bar, you'll find a mix of pseudo-intellectual artists, wanna-be underground college students and hooker-chic women and men who look like truck drivers. Tiki torches line the back walls around the deep-seated booths and the pool table in the back while the jukebox roars anything from '50s doo-wop to early '90s hip-hop -- it's all smooth, and it's all good for the hook-up train. The place is noisy... More »
Since 1946, the Bikini Lounge has been the Valley's most unabashed tiki bar, and well it should be. It has everything that those Swingers-style posers would give their martini shakers for: the fake thatched roof over the bar, the bamboo light fixtures, the black-lighted batiks on the walls, and in the place of honor behind the bar, a giant painting of a topless hula girl. Or is it the Girl from Ipanema?Then there are the added benefits: $1 Kamikaze shooters, $2 mini-pitchers of... More »
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