Tucson, Arizona, is a city with a rich tapestry of culture, history, and a burgeoning nightlife scene. Nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, it’s not just the scorching sun that sizzles in this vibrant metropolis; it’s also the thriving bar culture. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through Tucson’s top watering holes, where you can experience the perfect blend of southwest charm and urban sophistication. From trendy craft cocktail lounges to dive bars with a touch of old-school flair, Tucson’s bars offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a local seeking your new favorite haunt or a visitor eager to taste the city’s flavors, our handpicked selection of the best bars in Tucson promises to quench your thirst for both libations and adventure. So, grab a seat and get ready to explore the spirited side of the Old Pueblo.
The Buffet Bar
In one of Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods, you’ll find Tucson’s oldest bar and one of America’s most legendary dives. The Buffet Bar has been taking care of locals and travelers since 1934. The Buffet Bar is an authentic no-frills establishment, so come as you are and bring your drinking shoes. Oh, and don’t leave town without trying The Trash Can.
Tap & Bottle
Tap & Bottle opened downtown in 2013, and after overwhelming demand, owners Rebecca and Scott Safford also opened an uptown location. Regardless of which Tap & Bottle you wind up at, it’s the perfect spot to grab a bottle of wine or an exclusive beer. You won’t find any mixed drinks here. But if beer or wine are your pleasure, there’s no better place to be than Tap & Bottle. Plus, there’s a retail shop, so you can grab something to enjoy at home on your way out the door.
At the corner of Bryant St and Grant Rd, you’ll find this sixties-themed hangout built into an old nuclear fallout shelter. While that doesn’t sound especially inviting, this little dive is the perfect place to grab a drink, and the staff is excellent. History buffs are sure to love this place, as it seems forgotten by time, with loads of JFK memorabilia and other kitschy decor.
Off Broadway on South Eastbourne Avenue, you’ll find Tucson’s premier cocktail bar in a tiny mission-style building. This small bar serves up some of the most inventive cocktails, with plenty of classics. Be sure to try a Oaxaca Dry Sour if you’re ready to get your night started with a kick.
At the corner of East 16th and Euclid sits a massive building reminiscent of an old factory. Thankfully, this factory makes beer. This location offers five expansive rooms, and they brew the tastiest beer in town. Barrio is Tucson’s oldest brewery, and they’re 100% employee-owned. Grab a Citrazona IPA and some beer sponges, and you’re in for an excellent afternoon.
In the Historic 4th Avenue District, you’ll find Ermanos, a beautiful bar helmed by the Erman Brothers. These guys dish up a rotating selection of excellent beers, wine, and craft cocktails in a divey atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. Be sure to try the Old Vic or Oaxacan Smash.
Nestled into downtown Tucson in the basement of Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink, you’ll find Tough Luck Club, a brutalist bar dishing up craft cocktails, beer, and wine. If you can manage to find the place (enter through the side gate on Scott Avenue), you’ll be rewarded with a night to remember. Cocktails rotate regularly, so we recommend trusting your bartender to serve you something extraordinary.
At the corner of 4th and 7th, you’ll find Che’s Lounge, one of the best dive bars in the country, let alone Tucson. This divey spot dishes up feel-good vibes, live music, and all your favorite drinks. Che’s also regularly features local artists, and if you’re lucky, one of Tucson’s fantastic food trucks will post up outside so you can enjoy a delicious snack.
In a strip mall on Speedway, you’ll find Casa Film Bar, one of the most exciting concepts in town. Casa has been open for over thirty years, albeit as a video and game rental store. A few years ago, the folks at Casa expanded and opened one of Tucson’s best beer bars, with over twenty curated brews on tap.
Good Oak Bar on Congress Street in downtown Tucson may be tiny, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with its focused menu and excellent selection of booze. Good Oak is the ideal spot to grab a burger or sandwich and wash it down with a few local craft brews or cocktails. Be sure to try one of the Cones!
Inside a beautiful historic building in Armory Park, you’ll find Owls Club West, an excellent cocktail bar that was once a funeral home. It might sound creepy, but the courteous and helpful staff will make you feel right at home. The Aspirational West is my favorite libation here, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including tripadvisor.com, tucsonfoodie.com, theculturetrip.com, thisistucson.com, azcentral.com and tucson.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.