James and Yolie here, back from our latest bucket list bar adventure. This time Arizona was our destination. We arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport early Friday morning where we were picked up by friends, Jamie and Yoly. Yes, you read that right. We'll try to keep things straight. Jamie was our dedicated designated driver for the weekend while Yoly navigated us in their oversized pickup truck, which we nicknamed...the aircraft carrier. After climbing in we headed for Tombstone, a picturesque 180 miles to the southeast.
Tombstone is a tourist hotspot full of souvenir shops, gunslingers, and saloons. We asked one of the erstwhile Wyatt Earps for a watering hole recommendation and they pointed us to the Four Deuces Saloon (101 S. Third St.). There were a few locals at the bar which was a good sign and we got a hearty greeting from Bob Bob, the barkeep. The Four Deuces had good specials with the most interesting being a Blooming Champagne, which was champagne combined with St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Bob Bob, though, was the star of the show. He provided an interesting history of the bar, gave us recommendations for food and drink in Tombstone and most importantly, he gave us the lowdown on Bisbee. More about Bisbee later.
We left the Four Deuces and headed down the street to The Crystal Palace (436 E. Allen St.) where we had a good lunch and cold beer while soaking up the Tombstone vibe. After lunch we had one more stop in town, that being the famous Big Nose Kate's (417 E. Allen St.) just a few steps down the wooden sidewalk. There you'll find yourself virtually drowning in western bric-a-brac. At the time there was a triple threat singer/keyboardist/saxophonist serenading the crowd with standards like Waylon and Willies' Luckenbach Texas. Sometimes he even displayed all three skills at the same time, not an easy feat. At the bar we asked Scott, a local maintaining his usual spot at the edge of the bar, for his advice on what we should drink. He quickly suggested the Old Overholt rye whiskey, and the Ultimate Bloody Mary. He explained that Old Overholt is the oldest whiskey in the country and Doc Holiday's favorite drink. Bartender Kip poured the righteous rye and then proceeded to hand craft a glorious Bloody Mary, it really was the ultimate. While enjoying our drinks and the familiar tunes Scott gave us some intriguing leads for Bisbee. After paying the tab we were back out in the hot sun looking for the next stage out of town.
Bisbee is another 23 miles further south. Bisbee is a must visit! Our first stop was at the St. Elmo Bar (36 Brewery Ave.). The cool bikers, colorful locals, and spunky bartender, Kristin, made this a great stop. The margaritas were big, made with fresh lime juice, and most delicious! We had a great time hanging out at the Elmo. Next stop in Bisbee was Room 4 in the Silver King Hotel (43 Brewery Ave.). Room 4 claims to be the smallest bar in Arizona. I think they are selling themselves short. It has got to be one of the smallest bars anywhere! The three bar stools could not even accommodate the four of us. The pint sized bar is a must go for bucket list bar fans. For dinner we ate down the street at Santiago's (5 Howell Ave.). The food there was great, with delicious entrees big enough for two. After dinner we all boarded the aircraft carrier and headed on back to Phoenix.
We got an early start on Saturday for Prescott, 105 miles miles to the north. Here's an important tip: it's pronounced "preskit". We had a pleasant surprise when we discovered it was Bluegrass Festival day. Great music filled the air while we bar hopped around the town square. Here we found our primary destination, The Palace Restaurant and Saloon (120 S. Montezuma St.), the oldest bar in Arizona. Cowboys and marshals greeted us at the door and freely mingled with patrons inside. We pushed through the swinging doors and soaked in The Palace's beauty. The drinks, the food, the staff, and the atmosphere were spot on. You must go to The Palace while in Prescott! On the way out we stopped and chewed the fat some more with the charming revolver toting gentlemen. On the walk back to the carrier, we popped in Lyzzards Lounge (120 N. Cortez St.). This was a locals dive. No food, no music, just a place to drink, play skeeball or shuffleboard, and chill with the locals. Since they don't serve food it's also a great hangout for furry locals like Charley and Walter. After the stop in Lyzzards, we headed for the Grand Canyon, 123 miles to the north. The canyon was very high on Yolie's bucket list, so we just had to go there on this first visit to Arizona. There is a nice family type tavern at the Grand Canyon, the Yavapai Lodge Tavern, but not really unique enough to make our bucket list of bars.
We spent the night in Williams, 60 miles south of the canyon. We got to Williams around 9:30 PM but it seems they roll up the sidewalks there at 10:00 PM. So, we just had time for pizza before hitting the hay. On Sunday we headed back to Phoenix, but before leaving Willams we had a terrific breakfast at Jessica's Family Restaurant (525 W. Route 66). Great food, friendly service...says it all. After getting back to Phoenix we had some time to unwind by the pool, have a couple of Jack Daniel's and a few Tito's. After lounging by the pool we all Ubered over to another couple's house to partake in the most amazing home cooked Polish dinner. The perfect way to close out our memorable weekend.
The next morning we headed to airport with fond memories of Arizona, it's beautiful landscape, wonderful people, and those unforgettable bucket list bars. My friends, we beg of you, go and explore Arizona! Cheers from James and Yolie!