AZ88 (7353 Scottsdale Mall, 480/994-5576, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 a.m. Mon.–Fri., 5 p.m.–1:30 a.m. Sat.–Sun.) is a great place to eat, drink, and be seen. With its killer comfort food and first-class martinis, the perennial Scottsdale  favorite attracts older couples on their way to a show, as well as trendy scenesters who descend on the bar and mod all-white patio after 8 p.m. Try the classic French 75 martini or Pimm’s Cup and scope out the chic glass-and-white-wall decor, which provides a minimalist backdrop for the over-the-top and always changing art installations.
The neighboring Brackin’s Bar (7320 E. Scottsdale Mall, 480/945-2882, noon–midnight daily) is a more laid-back option. This comfortable hideaway, tucked into the grassy lawn of the Scottsdale Mall, is a great place to treat yourself to a late-afternoon drink. There’s live music on the weekends, and the cozy fireplaces on its two patios are perfect for cooler evenings. And with $3 beers and cheap cocktails, you’d barely know you’re in Old Town .
It’s always fascinating when two worlds collide, and there’s no better place to see the Old West meet high heels and hair product than at Saddle Ranch (4321 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480/429-2263, 11 a.m.–2:30 a.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–2:30 a.m. Sat. and Sun.). But, hey, when in Rome…Take a shot of whisky and let out your inner urban cowboy by riding the bar’s main attraction, a mechanical bull—which is thankfully surrounded by an inflatable mat and padded guards to protect from serious injuries.
The Polynesian-themed Drift (4341 N. 75th St., 480/949-8454, 11:30 a.m.–2 a.m.) invites patrons into its throwback lair by the glow of tiki lamps and a mammoth tropical aquarium behind the bar. The 1960s-flavored lounge serves up boldly colored drinks with the requisite umbrellas and fruit, and the two-for-one happy hour (4–7 p.m.) provides the perfect excuse to order a retro punch cocktail and flaming pupu platter.
Like a lone cabin in the woods, The Lodge (4422 N. 75th St., 480/945-0828, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat., 10:30 a.m.–2 a.m. Sun.) provides a warm retreat in the cold, glitzy forest of downtown’s nightclub district. Look for the family of hand-carved Sasquatches at the entrance, and head into the cozy watering hole to order a drink at the honey-colored “log” bar. Don’t be fooled by the pool table, small arcade, and wood-paneled walls—this is still Scottsdale , so expect an upscale crowd and a respectable menu. Nonetheless, the rustic decor is a charming alternative to the neighborhood’s minimalist lounges, and it’s hard to beat Bingo Tuesdays and Fish Fry Fridays.
Crown Room (7419 E. Indian Plaza, 480/423-0117, 5 p.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat., 5 p.m.–midnight Sun.) offers low-key ambience, great drinks, and an inspired lounge decor in the city’s nightclub epicenter. The martini bar shakes up an extensive menu of cocktails, from cosmos and manhattans to its signature cookie-dough martini, and the 30-something crowd is a little less clubby than you’ll find at at neighboring bars.
Wannabe Axl Roses and Whitney Houstons who may be a little shy will love the private karaoke rooms at Geisha A Go-Go (7150 E. 6th Ave., 480/699-0055, 5 p.m.–2 a.m. Tues.–Sun.), a rock ’n’ roll Japanese bistro. Order Japanese beer or fruity Hello Kitty cocktails in the dark, wood-paneled bar, which serves as a Zen “rock” garden complete with bonsai tree and portraits of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Couples and groups up to 20 people can rent the rooms by the hour (rates starting at $20 per hour for a four-person room), and reservations are recommended.
Yes, Virginia, there is a cool dive bar in the heart of trendy Scottsdale . Duck into Coach House (7011 E. Indian School Rd., 480/990-3433, 6 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–2 a.m. Sun.) Halloween through New Year’s Eve to witness a holiday drinking miracle: thousands of Christmas lights covering the walls and ceiling of this tiny old wooden house. The bar is a popular destination year-round, though, attracting an impressively diverse mix of bar hoppers, club goers, and old regulars. Make a new friend over darts or pinball, or grab a seat on the patio.
Inspired by Mexico’s casual beach bars, Dos Gringos (4209 N. Craftsman Ct., 480/423-3800, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily) packs in 20-something singles looking for cheap drinks and potential love. The raucous, open-air bar has three patios, and the kitchen serves Mexican standbys until close.
The chic Olive & Ivy (7135 E. Camelback Rd., 480/751-2200, 11 a.m.–midnight Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Fri.–Sat.) is a great place to see Scottsdale’s professional set at play. The upscale Mediterranean restaurant offers decent food, but its posh decor and large outdoor lounge overlooking the Scottsdale Waterfront’s Arizona Canal have made it a place to mingle. The people-watching hits its prime at 10 p.m., when a steady stream of styled 30- and 40-somethings sidle up to the bar for Grey Goose martinis.