If you’re traveling to the Tempe, Arizona area, make sure to check these top-rated rockabilly bars!
Rockabilly music made its debut in the early 1950s with artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. The term “rockabilly” is a combination of the word rock from “rock and roll” and the latter part of the word “hillbilly,” a common term for country music in the 1940s to 1950s. In the early 2000s, the wave of rockabilly music was reignited in various areas of Arizona including several local Tempe bars.
Yucca Tap Room
Yucca Tap Room (yuccatap.com) in Tempe, Arizona, is what locals call a “dive bar,” and this establishment is proud of that fact. It features a variety of live music nightly, and there is never a cover charge to get in. The Phoenix New Times voted this bar “Best Local Venue” and “Best Dive Bar.” It has been open since the early 1970s and has hosted a number of rockabilly bands like Mario Moreno and the Ramblers. Yucca Tap Room offers more than 30 beers on tap, in addition to about 200 bottled and canned beverages. It also serves hot food and features a whiskey room adjacent to the live music venue.
As one of the only live music venues in Tempe to have dual stages, Club Red (clubredrocks.com) states on its website that it books more bands than many of its competitors. Club Red is part of a local music plaza in Tempe which houses a band rehearsal space for rent, a live events ticket vendor, Naked Dave’s Music shop and Phoenix Tattoo Company. Club Red books a variety of different types of music including rockabilly, classic rock, alternative rock, metal, punk and blues. It features both 21-and-over shows as well as all-ages shows for adults 18 and up.
Monkey Pants Bar and Grill
This popular Tempe hangout (monkeypantsbar.com) showcases both rockabilly and psychobilly-style bands. Psychobilly (also known as horror-a-billy), is a genre of music that combines punk with rockabilly. Monkey Pants is situated is nestled in one of Tempe’s small strip-malls, offering nightly drink specials, plus a wide variety of appetizers such as nachos, buffalo wings, fish and chips and hot dogs. In addition to live music events, Monkey Pants features comedy nights, bar games like trivia and poker, a pool table and outdoor patio seating.
SuckerPunch Sally’s Diner
SuckerPunch Sally’s (suckerpunchsallysdiner.com) was originally an old-school bike and hot-rod building shop in Tempe. Locally, this crew is a well-known group of rockabilly enthusiasts who decided to take their brand to a whole new level by opening a diner and bar with the same name. SuckerPunch Sally’s Diner is a 24-hour establishment that features homemade food, live music, a full bar and free wireless Internet. It is located in downtown Tempe near Arizona State University and has amassed a wide following with students, greasers, punk rockers, skaters and surfers.
The Sail Inn
The Sail Inn (thesailinn.com) features an indoor and outdoor stage for live music performances. It offers a laid-back atmosphere and varied types of music acts including rockabilly, reggae, indie rock and acoustic jam sessions. The Sail Inn rents its venue for public or private events and music festivals, plus offers daily drink and meal specials. The Phoenix New Times awarded this bar with “Best Dive Bar” and “Best Deadhead Bar” awards, among others.