Casey Moore’s Oyster House (850 S. Ash Ave., 480/968-9935, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–midnight Sun.) is a Tempe  mainstay, where college students and professors share an enormous patio with hipsters and hippies. The old creaky house-turned-restaurant is rumored to be haunted, and you may just see a ghost in one of the upstairs bedrooms, which have been converted into small dining rooms for private parties. Still, the real action is outside or in the bar, where you can get one of two dozen beers on tap and a cheap cocktail. The fresh oysters and appetizers aren’t half bad, either.
Graduates of neighboring Arizona State University  make a point of visiting Four Peaks Brewpub (1340 E. 8th St., 480/303-9967, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–2 a.m. Sun.) when they return to their old stomping grounds in Tempe. The popular brewpub is a bit of a legend, and with so many delicious ales, stouts, and pilsners, who can blame their enthusiasm? The amber Kilt Lifter Scottish-style ale is served at restaurants and bars throughout the Valley, and the refreshing Hefeweizen, Hop Knot IPA, and seasonal brews are just as tasty. Be forewarned: There is no air-conditioning, so make sure you sample the brews when the weather is pleasant. Pints are $3 at happy hour, which runs 3–7 p.m.
Dos Gringos Tempe Trailer Park (1001 E. 8th St., 480/968-7879, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily) can seem like spring break in a Mexican beach town: cheap drinks, loud music, and the occasional college kid gone wild. Nevertheless, it’s a fun place to enjoy a beer or margarita with friends, as the cheap prices and occasional live music bring out a bit of Cinco de Mayo’s festive spirit. Head upstairs to the large balcony, which overlooks most of the outdoor bar. You won’t want to miss the people-watching below.
Follow the sound of the energetic live band into Rula Bula (401 S. Mill Ave., 480/929-9500, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily). The lively Irish pub oozes Gaelic charm and honors the building’s roots as an old saddlery and harness shop with plenty of tools, dark woods, and old engravings of horses. You’ll feel right at home among the friendly regulars at the large oak bar from Ireland, or you may want to grab a table outside on the inviting patio. If you can tear yourself away from the comprehensive beer list, treat yourself to the Bailey’s cheesecake or whiskey-spiked bread pudding that will have you thanking St. Patrick himself.
When it’s 114 degrees outside, you need a dry sense of humor. Join the locals at the always air-conditioned Tempe Improv (930 E. University Dr. Ste. 201, 480/921-9877, www.tempeimprov.com , 8 p.m.–midnight Thurs.–Sat., 8–10 p.m. Sun.), the Valley’s outpost of the national comedy-club chain. Most weekends you can catch touring comedians, as well as standup masters like Bob Saget, Kathy Griffin, and Jerry Seinfeld.