10 N. San Marcos Pl., Chandler
Originally slated to move into the former Kokopelli Winery spot in historical downtown Chandler, the San Tan-area outpost of this local pizza mini-chain landed in the circa-1912 Hotel San Marcos building instead. The space was gutted and renovated to house a chic, modern Italian restaurant with a secret: a cozy, well-hidden underground bar called The Ostrich, led by craft cocktail maestro Brandon Casey. Wind down with a $5 glass of house red paired with bruschetta, fried calamari or meatball sliders in the upstairs lounge ($5 each). Crust’s other five-dollar deals include a small pizza rustica and breaded mozzarella, with $3 brews and $6 cocktails to soothe your spirits after a long workday. Afterward, follow the side staircase down to the basement, rumored to have been a Prohibition-era hangout for the area’s more colorful characters. 3-6 p.m. M-F, dine-in only.
130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Tucked into a small alley next to a three-story mid-century building, the entrance to Valley Bar is plain and unassuming. But with Crescent Ballroom owners Charlie Levy and Tucker Woodbury at the helm of this bar-cum-music venue, it’s a different story inside. Beeline for the Rose Room with its whimsical portraits that cover nearly every inch of spare wall and score $3 Coors drafts (16 oz.), plus a buck off drafts including Papago Orange Blossom during happy hour. Toss a few skee balls in the game room while indulging in $4 well cocktails, or pop a squat on a wooden bar stool and nibble on flatbread ($7) paired with Spanish house wine ($4). With its retro vibe and hidden exits, Valley Bar is the perfect spot to savor a vintage-inspired cocktail like the Slow & Low Old-Fashioned, a potent whiskey and citrus mashup available for just five clams. 4-6 p.m. M-F, all day Su.
Second Story Liquor Bar
4166 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Restaurateur Tommy Plato’s second-floor lounge could easily double as a Mad Men set with its glittering crystal chandeliers and swanky tufted leather benches. Located above a well-trafficked Gelato Spot, Second Story isn’t exactly a secret. Its dark, narrow staircase and dim lighting bolster the sleek speakeasy vibe, though, coupled with rotating happy hour nibbles you practically need a password to order. Pair the $7 daily cocktail with beer bread ($5) and marinated olives ($6), or order whiskey guru John Christie’s “dram of the day” ($7) while people-watching at the cozy corner bar. Heartier specials include ham and cheese beignets ($7), corned pork belly on rye ($13) and a $15 meat-and-cheese chef’s board with drunken cherry mostarda. Cool cats can also score a rosemary focaccia burger paired with a glass of vino (or whiskey) for $17. 4-6 p.m. daily.
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