Best Block Party Items to Shop for in the Valley

Editorial StaffJuly 6, 2021
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Throw a locally minded block party with these convivial tunes, togs, treats and libations.

Photo by Camerawerks

Best Party grub
Two Hands Corndogs

Spicy corndogs, cripsy rice-puff corndogs, corndogs covered with tiny french fries… basically, this Korean-style corndog chain is the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. of corndogs. 1933 W Main St., Mesa, 480-366-4527,

Best Fashion Enclave
Hive on 16th

This collection of tiny Midtown businesses has a fresh coat of a paint and a new owner, but The Hive’s reputation as one of the artsiest spots in town is holding strong, with Julia Fournier’s Bee’s Knees vintage shop, Tennille Neilsen’s Composite Boutique and Keri Mosier’s jewelry studio (all pictured)as well as a performance space and more thrifted goods for sale. 2222 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-756-1082,

Best Hats – Bespoke
Watson’s Hats

Once you’re firmly committed to the hat life, mosey on over to this traditional shop. Milliner Eric Watson offers a slew of ready-to-wear hats, but he can also handcraft a custom cowboy, fedora, dress or Panama hat with his circa-1860 equipment based on the dimensions of your noggin. 7100 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, 480-595-9777,

Best Valley TikTok Celebrities
Playboy Manbaby

If the 30-minute run-time of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is too long for you, Playboy Manbaby’s TikTok channel offers shorter (and funnier) takes on the filibuster, Kyrsten Sinema, and the bizarreness of Arizona politics. The videos have elevated leader Robbie Pfieffer to influencer status and to partnering with the Maricopa County Democratic Party on a video series.

Best Canned Cocktails
Chaco Flaco

Chaco Flaco started in co-founder Chuck Moore’s Tempe kitchen in 2012, when the mixologist and bar manager would make margaritas in his blender at home and sell them in empty milk jugs. Fast-forward to 2021 and he and his partner, Steve Cislaw, have cornered the canned cocktail market, launching in AJ’s Fine Foods in May and throughout the Southwest, California and Colorado later this year. We’ll be sipping the refreshing, ready-to-drink strawberry daiquiri all summer.

Best Hats – Factory
Straw & Wool

New to the world of hats and looking to experiment? Head to this chic chapeau shop in the Roosevelt Row arts district. Peruse fedoras, pork pies, trilbies and boaters in various factory-determined sizes and at various price points, from a $25 newsboy cap to a $145 vintage French fedora. 610 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602-888-4761,

Best Pandemic Concert Series
Ditch Music

Amid concert cancelations during the pandemic, Tempe resident and Ditch Music organizer Paul Kent reached out to local musicians including Walt Richardson and Kim Capria and asked if they’d be interested in performing in small, socially distant, outdoor neighborhood concerts – many near a ditch, hence the name. Neighbors and friends volunteeered their vintage VWs to serve as transportation and make-shift stages, and a hit series was born. Ditch Music will likely make a return this fall.

Best Calming Dog Treats

Just like us, our furry friends are sometimes beset by anxiety. Maybe they’re having separation issues with your return to work after a year at home, or they lose their cool during storms or fireworks. Give them a dose of calm with CBD-infused dog treats from wagkind, a Phoenix-based canine wellness company.

Best Feel, Post-Quarantine
Animals at the Arizona Humane Society

After more than a year of social distancing, who could blame us if we longed for a warm and tender touch and a soft, endearing gaze from the other side of the sofa? Take the time to pet some AZ Humane residents, and you just might find your next roommate. 1521 W. Dobbins Rd., Phoenix, 602-997-7585,