You can’t keep an Arizonan indoors. Well, you can, but it usually involves a 115-degree July afternoon or a monsoon dust storm. Otherwise, we crave the outdoors like lizards sunning on a rock. If you can add a cold beer or frozen margarita to the mix, then we’ll stay out all night. Scottsdale’s most-loved bars offer roomy patios to enjoy our famous sunsets and mild evenings. They also provide the perfect stage for the see-and-be-seen set, who flock on weekends to downtown’s trendy bars, which come and go based the latest fickle tastes. The recommendations below skew to long-time favorites, like the Western classic, El Chorro Lodge in Paradise Valley, which was once the saloon of choice for visiting Hollywood celebs in the 1940s and ’50s. Others, like Shade at the W Hotel, best epitomize the city’s position in the L.A.-Vegas-Scottsdale nightlife triangle. They all offer a fun atmosphere and outdoor spaces you won’t want to leave.
El Chorro Lodge
Clark Gable, John Wayne and Milton Berle have all sidled up to the “classroom bar” at this former girls school built in 1934. A recent restoration has reinvigorated El Chorro, adding contemporary Western touches like cowhide furniture, cozy courtyards with fireplaces and an outdoor bar with unbeatable views of Camelback and Mummy mountains. Try the sticky buns, a 65-year-old tradition.
Olive & Ivy
The upscale Mediterranean restaurant offers decent food, but it’s large outdoor patio overlooking the Scottsdale Waterfront’s Arizona Canal that has made Olive & Ivy a place to mingle. The people-watching hits its prime at 9 p.m. when a steady stream of preening locals (of all ages) pack the bar.
Shade is a little slice of L.A. smack dab in the middle of downtown Scottsdale. The all-day, all-night party at the W Scottsdale lounge spills across an indoor-outdoor, poolside playground, with guest DJs and a gorgeous crowd of bar-hoppers. Like Vegas, half the fun is surrendering to the over-the-top hedonism—or at least observing it from the bar.
A recent renovation transformed Camelback Inn’s outdoor R Bar into a beer and wine oasis, complete with water features, fire pits, desert landscaping and unspoiled mountain views. Live bands play the courtyard’s small stage, while inside, TVs broadcast national games. For dinner, head next door to BLT Steak—or another round of drinks.