Posted on Leave a comment

downtown Phoenix bars – Gracie’s tax bar

Gracie's tax bar

Phoenix’s best future dive bar

Life before Gracie’s tax bar was bleak.

I’d pull into Phoenix from the interstate, find a parking lot, and start google searching. Best bars in phoenix. Punk bars in phoenix. Metal bars, dive bars. Looking for any listings that offered a glimmer of hope for a fun night. After reading a few promising clues from yelp reviewers, I ended up going out to a ‘punk bar’ in Tempe that was rather anticlimactic. Then, I found another promising lead 10 miles in the other direction. This one also didn’t feel that inviting. Both places would sell you a drink, but neither were all that welcoming and warm.

On the next visit, I was vending at a downtown art market. At the end of the day, another vendor I made friends with, mentioned a few others were heading to a place called Gracie’s. After the event, I packed up my merchandise and headed over to Gracie’s tax bar for a nightcap. I don’t google anymore. I just go to the best bar in phoenix.

gracie's tax bar phoenix, az
Gracie’s tax bar

Gracie’s tax bar

When you first pull up, it doesn’t seem like a bar exactly. probably because it’s housed in a former tax service building. Opened in 2017, Gracie’s is still pretty new. However, it somehow feels like a place that’s been around the block a few times. There’s an old juke box down at the end of the long wooden bar to the left. Coming back along the wall, there is booth seating below a couple glass block windows. The barroom is completely finished with fine vintage wood panelling. It really looks like a place where time stopped. In 1987. It’s a comfortable feel, and friendly in here. Although its a relatively new bar, nothing seems new at all. Nor does anything or anyone feel out of place.

The front bar area is unfussy and accommodating, but if bar stools and booths aren’t your thing, head to the back patio. Just a short walk past a claw machine and working photo booth. Step out the backdoor to the original patio; A comfy area with a stand up counter and several groupings of chairs with coffee tables.

The Outdoor scene

On most nights, there’s live DJ’s laying down anything from soul, new wave to other vintage dance hits. Conveniently, there’s two service windows to facilitate ordering another round without having to go inside. A back parking lot was annexed recently as additional seated outdoor space, some nights featuring projected movies. Late at night, it really picks up and turns into a party atmosphere. But, without the usual ‘party’ trappings; it feels more like a comfortable and fun get-together at a friend’s house.

Outdoor patio bar phoenix, az

The clientele are a pretty random mix of Phoenix artists, musicians and a few hip professionals. It also seems to be a place where the dust hasn’t quite settled yet, a lot of first time visitors checking the place out. 

As far as the bar itself, It’s dim with colored lighting, serving classic cocktails and beer. Behind the bar and off to the side, is a little grill offering up fried pickles, tater tots and chopped cheese sandwiches. Gracie’s tax bar captures the true spirit of the dive, yet doesn’t claim to be one. The crowd here is younger, fun, and always seems to be in a good mood. The music is upbeat, and the place feels like yours to relax and enjoy.

If your passing through it’s right off the I-10 interstate click here for directions. It’s not far from one of my favorite restaurants that serve all plant-based Sonoran style tacos and Mexican food. Located centrally in downtown it’s around 45 minutes from my preferred metro area free campsite, and the superstition mountains.

Leave a Reply