Top 15 Hipster Hangouts in Phoenix

May 10, 2013

It's hard to ignore the hipster craze that has taken America by storm. It seems like everywhere these days, more and more people are wearing scarves, drinking fair-trade coffee, and riding fixed-gear bicycles. This is the age of the hipster!

It may surprise you to learn that the hipster phenomenon is not contained only in major cities like Williamsburg or San Francisco. In fact, Phoenix has quite a selection of businesses where you're likely to find some hip young people hanging out. I have compiled a list of what I feel are the top 15 hipster hangouts in Phoenix. Let's count them down:

15). Fez on Central
Need a bite to eat? Stop by this hipster restaurant on Central Avenue, within walking distance of the Light Rail. They are open late and feature a selection of gourmet menu items to satisfy your inner foodie.

14). Harkins Valley Art Theater
Located on Mill Ave within walking distance of Arizona State University, this one-screen cinema shows a variety of independent, special and limited-run movies. Nearby attractions include a Vespa dealership and numerous smoke shops and bars.

13). Buffalo Exchange
Hipster girls will love scouting for vintage clothes and accessories at this clothing exchange store on University, just down the street from ASU.

12). Zia Records
Tattoos and odd piercings are not required to shop at Zia, but you will definitely feel out of place if you don't have any. Zia sells used CDs, records, DVDs, and most recently, books and video games. They are also open until midnight, whereas Bookmans closes at 10pm. Just follow the trail of crushed up cigarette butts to the entrance.

11). Arizona State University
Hipsters are everywhere in college, and ASU is no exception. There are plenty of girls on campus sporting thick-rimmed glasses and pursuing liberal arts degrees. Bonus points if you pick one up at a protest rally.

10). Pane Bianco / Bar Bianco
What could be more authentic than sipping wine and eating cheese in an old, dimly lit house downtown? Most people end up here while waiting for a table at Pizza Bianco next door, where wait times can sometimes top 2 to 3 hours! Bar Bianco offers a limited menu of appetizers in a most unusual atmosphere.
9). Stinkweeds
This indie record shop in Downtown Phoenix is one of the few places you can go to find new releases on vinyl. The whole store is barely larger than a 2-car garage, but that won't stop the neckbeards from flocking to this wax mecca for that warm, vintage tone you can only get with records.

8). Goodwill
Nestled among the racks of clothing and outgrown sports equipment, the hipster frequents this spot looking for ironic T-shirts, jeans, and a sweet deal on a vintage turntable. Goodwill has over 40 stores in the Phoenix area, so you won't have to look hard to find the retrophiles in your neighborhood.

7). Bookmans
Bookmans Entertainment Exchange is an Arizona gem. Originally from bike-friendly Tucson, this small chain has expanded with stores in Phoenix and Flagstaff. They have a wide variety of used books, music, movies, video games, musical instruments, and more. You can buy, sell, or trade in your old stuff for cash or store credit. They definitely cater to retro gamers, with a wide selection of classic Nintendo and SEGA game cartridges. They even have LaserDisc movies!

6). Yucca Tap Room
Dark wood paneling. Dim lighting. Cans of PBR. Bar shuffleboard. Phoenix's Yucca Tap Room has everything the discriminating hipster could want, including a concert calendar chock full of bands you probably haven't heard of.

5). Hotel Valley Ho
This hotel offers mid-century modern design at its finest. Built in 1956, the hotel once drew famous Hollywood stars for its futuristic designs and amenities. It fell into disrepair in the 1970s and was in danger of being demolished in 2001. It reopened in 2005 after a multi-million dollar renovation and was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2006. When only the most authentic retro style will do, the Hotel Valley Ho is your choice for mid-century lodging.

4). Lux Coffee Bar
Starbucks? Too corporate, too mainstream. Keep it local by ordering at Lux on Central Ave. Easily accessible from the electric-powered Valley Metro Light Rail.

3). Crescent Ballroom
Since it opened in 2011, the Crescent Ballroom has quickly become one of the hottest places to see independent bands. The Crescent has acts booked nearly every night of the week, along with gourmet food by Chris Bianco (of Pizza Bianco/Pane Bianco fame). Expect to see lots of V-necked concertgoers there to see the latest bands you've never heard of.

2). Apple Store
From the Scottsdale Quarter to Fashion Square or Arrowhead Mall, you can bet on finding some hipsters ogling the latest Macbooks for when their next trust fund disbursement check arrives. On the day of a new iPhone/iPad release, that place will be crawling with more V-neck t-shirts than an Abercrombie catalog.

1). ArtLink First Fridays ArtWalk
The culmination of all things creative and indie takes place once a month as the hipsters emerge from their dorms and studios to migrate towards the Roosevelt District on the first Friday of every month. It's a parade of facial hair and fixed-gear bicycles as the hipsters make their way from one art gallery to another. This is the place to go people-watching.

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