Get Out offers its 2004 Devil Picks - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Get Out offers its 2004 Devil Picks

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Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2004 1:32 pm | Updated: 5:50 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

With the weather hotter than Hades, it's time for the Sun Devils to return to Arizona State University. For first-time ASU students and anyone else new to these parts, Get Out's annual Devil Picks issue is your guide to the best our town has to offer in eating and drinking, entertainment, nightlife and style.

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EATING & DRINKING

Best place to take a date

House of Tricks: Though it may have a name better suited for a bordello, House of Tricks is full of evening romance. Nestled in the neighborhood north of ASU, Tricks has a large outdoor patio with twinkle lights and a stellar bar staff. Sup with your sweetie on succulent pecan-smoked salmon or chicken and duck mousse and chase it down with a glass of 2001 Blackstone merlot. (114 E. Seventh St., Tempe, [480] 968-1114)

Best low-carb option

Ruby Tuesday: Watching those carbs? Ruby Tuesday saves the day with more than 40 low-carb dishes, including mouth-watering options from the peppercorn chicken caesar wrap to cheesecake. Diners can also choose from 38 low-calorie, low-fat entrées and a salad bar. (4 E. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 303-9660; plus several other Valley locations)

Best vegetarian eats

Pita Jungle: In the land of the Golden Arches and countless meat-centric Mexican food drive-thrus, there is an oasis for the non-flesh nibblers. The animal- friendly of Tempe are welcomed at Pita Jungle. Nosh on blue corn nachos or plunge into a heaping hummus platter. And just in case you find your lunchtime commute soaked up by PETA protest meetings, they deliver. (1250 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, [480] 804-0234)

Best ice cream

Cold Stone Creamery: From cake batter to cheesecake to white chocolate ice cream, Tempe-based Cold Stone Creamery can create just about any frozen treat you can imagine. Add brownies, fruit, nuts or candy to satisfy your sweet tooth. (ASU Memorial Union, Tempe. [480] 727-7535 or 510 S. Mill Ave., Tempe [480] 921-7456; plus several other Valley locations)

Best salad

Sweet Tomatoes: If the Arizona heat has you craving a cool, fresh salad, look no further than Sweet Tomatoes. The restaurant features a lengthy counter of salad fixings, as well as pasta, soups and dessert. (1410 E. Southern Ave., Tempe [480] 831-1600; plus several other Valley locations)

Best cheap dinner

Nello’s: The $7 garden salad with marinated, broiled chicken could feed two, but you can’t go to Nello’s and not have pizza. So order the four-slice individual (avoid barbecue chicken) deluxe combo for $5.05 and the two of you will leave happy and full but not busting at the seams. Nello’s has several East Valley locations, but the Ahwatukee Foothills location is the best by far. (4710 E. Warner Road, Ahwatukee Foothills, [480] 893-8930)

Best sushi

Ra Sushi: A sushi bar in the desert with a noisy rock ’n’ roll vibe? Sounds like a reckless recipe for intestinal ickiness. But, by golly, the sushi is fresh, the atmosphere is cool and the service is dandy even when the dining room fills up. We like the crunchy tootsie rolls and we love the fresh sea urchin nigiri. (411 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, [480] 303-9800; additional locations in Scottsdale and Ahwatukee)

Best cheap lunch

Susie’s: It’s one step up from a hole-in-the-wall, but it’s good and almost as cheap as eating south of the border. They offer 12 lunch combos but our fave by far is three carne asada tacos, rice, beans and a draft beer for 5 bucks. (2405 E. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 966-7091)

Best sandwich

Sacks The Art of Sandwicherie: The specials are phenomenal at this creative sandwich stop, but staples like the Sack’s Gothic (turkey breast, ham, sauteed mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, shredded lettuce and mayo on a baguette) won’t disappoint. (839 W. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 967-2980; 35 E. Ninth St., Tempe, [480] 966-9266)

Best wings

Native New Yorker: If you want wings, go to the Valley’s 25-year- old church of chicken. Week after week, diners dig into nearly 90,000 wings in their choice of sauces: mild, medium, hot, suicide, barbecue hot, honey hot, honey barbecue, barbecue, oriental garlic and new pineapple teriyaki. Dine-in and buy a drink on Tuesdays and you'll save $1.80 per 12-pack of wings. (Several Valley locations, www.aznativenewyorker.com)

Best Asian eats

TOTT's Asian Diner: The Get Out gang are regulars at TOTT's (Taste of the Town) and we keep going back for the delicious orange chicken, kung pao, pad Thai and other dishes piled high with food. Take your friends to share samples of all the savory treats. (1817 E. Guadalupe Road, Tempe, [480] 897-7928)

Best tacos

Dos Gringos: The simple charbroiled steak flour tortilla tacos ($2.50) — stuffed with seasoned cabbage and served with a side of pico de gallo, sour cream and lime wedge — are available daily at this cantina from 11 to 1 a.m. (1001 E. Eighth St., Tempe, [480] 968-7879; 4209 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale, [480] 423-3800; or www.dosgringos az.com)

Best burritos

Chipotle Mexican Grill: We’ve had some brilliant burritos in this border state but it’s tough to compete with Chipotle’s made-to-order style of burros. Whether you want barbacoa or veggie, extra cheese or no sour cream — this McDonald’s-owned chain (the horror!!!) can satisfy anyone’s burrito craving. (Several Valley locations, www.chipotle.com)

Best hangover breakfast

US Egg: You had a little too much Mill Avenue action last night, and now it feels like your brain cells are picketing violently around your cerebellum. Appease them with a cup of coffee, some juice and US Egg’s secret hangover weapon: the protein pancake. Blueberries, oats, a little butter and syrup on top — as Emeril says, bam! Give that hangover a tasty one-two punch. Bonus: The cake’s only got 7 net carbs. Bonus-bonus: An order of cakes is big enough to share with a friend, so she can tell you about all the stupid things you did last night. (131 E. Baseline Road, Tempe, [480] 831-0070; additional location in Scottsdale)

Best Italian

Arrivederci Trattoria: Diners are greeted with friendly hugs, double-cheek kisses and inspiring Italian dishes. Try the cannelloni di carne — beef and veal stuffed into three homemade pasta tubes, covered with melted cheese and a lip-smacking tomato cream sauce — for lunch ($8.50) or dinner ($12.95). (4221 E. Chandler Blvd., Ahwatukee Foothills, [480] 759-9292)

Best barbecue

Honey Bear’s: This longtime Phoenix favorite finally started smoking in the East Valley when they opened a Tempe restaurant in July. Their Tennessee-style barbecue offerings include shredded pork, beef, chicken and hot link sandwiches ($3.80-$4.60); pork rib dinners ($7.75-$13.99); spicy cowbrow beans and sweet potato pie ($1.75). (7670 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, [480] 222-2782 or www.honeybearsbbq.com)

Best dessert

Oregano’s: Back in ’97, we had our first spine-tingling taste of a pizza cookie. Every dessert since has failed to top the simplistic scrumptiousness of Oregano’s revolutionary merging of a half-baked cookie with three scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. The very thought gives us chills. (3622 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, [480] 970-1860; 7215 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, [480] 348-0500; 523 W. University Drive, [480] 858-0501; or www.oreganos.com)

Best smoothies

Jamba Juice: It’s the Starbucks of smoothies. When you need a perfectly blended icy fruit fix, you know there’s always a Jamba close by. Try the tangy Citrus Squeeze (pineapple juice, orange juice, orange sherbet, frozen strawberries, frozen bananas, ice). (multiple locations, www.jambajuice.com)

Best cheap breakfast

Harlow’s Café: Stepping into Harlow’s on a weekend morning is like riding a time warp to the pre- Denny’s days of the respectable greasy spoon joint. At Harlow’s, it’s a 50/50 toss-up whether your silverware will be flecked with crud, there’s high-cheese-factor wood paneling on the walls and the special of the day is on the menu — literally. Admittedly, the food isn’t great at Harlow’s, but it’s filling. And cheap. (1021 W. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 829-9444)

Best slice on the go

Slices: From its cute pizza-slingin’ Boston boys to its delicious varieties of pizza (chicken parmigiana to baked potato), this tiny pizza eatery is a winner with ASU students looking for a cheap, quick, delicious bite on the run. (11 E. Sixth St., Tempe, [480] 966-4681; 7111 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, [480] 421-9535)

Best post-bar grub

Greasy Tony’s: Clubgoers head to this Tempe joint for East Coast style cheesesteaks, pizzas and just plain greasy eats to help soak up the night’s alcohol. It’s open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. (921 E. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 894-6100)

Best grilled cheese

Denny’s: This late-night chain serves up a killer grilled cheese unlike any other restaurant in the Valley. The hearty sandwich, which is grilled to perfection and oozes with cheese, is unbelievably tasty whether you’re sober or tipsy. (several Valley locations)

Best burger

The Chuck Box: The hamburgers cooked over an open flame at The Chuck Box are first rate. They only get better when you put on your own choice of fixings on top. (202 E. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 968-4712)

ENTERTAINMENT

Best sports bar

McDuffy’s: During pigskin season, this venerable, beer-stained Tempe watering hole is ground zero for irresponsible game day alcohol consumption in the greater East Valley. Courteous beer wenches and copious TV sets make for many splendid views. (230 W. Fifth St., Tempe, [480] 966-5600)

Best movie theater

Camelview 5 Luxury Cinemas: Cinema lovers cannot live on “Old School” DVDs alone. Situated near Fashion Square Mall, this unassuming six-plex is the leading sanctuary for foreign and independent film in the Valley. No half-naked Will Ferrells polluting these screens. (7001 E. Highland Ave., Scottsdale, [480] 222-4275)

Best bookstore

Changing Hands Bookstore: Borders on Mill? Schmorders on Mill. The 30-year-old new and used book mecca Changing Hands used to be on Mill, but when that scene got too chain-y, it moved to a suburban shopping center on Guadalupe Road and McClintock Drive. There, the independent bookstore — with its selection geared more toward the Utne Reader/NPR/soy milk crowd compared to Borders’ relative facelessness — is allowed to simmer in a more hippie-friendly vibe, what with a nearby Trader Joe’s and a neighboring The Wildflower Bread Co., where you can get a sandwich and crack open that latest literary find. (6248 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, [480] 730-0205, www.Changing Hands.com)

Best strip club

Babe’s Cabaret: Bared female flesh is a little like pizza: When it’s great, it’s great. When it’s bad ... it’s still pretty great. The point being, you could stumble into virtually any disreputable gentlemen’s club on the Scottsdale strip and do well for yourself, but the talent at Babe’s is particularly tasty. (2011 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, [480] 947-9909)

Best karaoke bar

Grapevine: Just paces from the Scottsdale party scene, this loungy restaurant-bar is the Vatican of local karaoke haunts. DJ Bobby Cook — a musical polymath who plays over a half-dozen instruments — cranks up the energy by plucking a guitar or rapping on some bongos while his patrons warble their hearts away. (4013 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale, [480] 994-1792)

Best theater

Gammage Auditorium: Here’s a tip, ASU students: Get a job ushering at Gammage and you’ll get in gratis to the Broadway in Arizona season of shows. There’s no better way to see top-notch touring shows on the cheap. Also, don’t discount the Herberger College of Fine Arts’ on-campus student productions — including the tender “Dancing at Lughnasa,” running Sept. 24-Oct. 3. You can usher for those, too. (1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe, [480] 965-3434)

Best place to yell ‘tag, you’re it!’

Stratum Laser Tag: Need to relieve some stress after a mid-term? Try laser tag. This 13,000-square-foot laser tag playground features 15 different levels, 90 towers, bridges and ramps for customers to get caught up in a game of cat-and-mouse. The venue offers unlimited laser tag from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday for $16.99. (1455 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa, [480] 545-5500)

Best place to volunteer

St. Mary’s Food Bank: Need some community service to maintain those scholarships? Lend a hand by sorting and packing emergency food boxes at St. Mary’s Food Bank. Volunteers are needed Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to clean, inspect and pack food that is distributed to needy families through partnering agencies across the Valley. Their greatest need for volunteers is all day Saturday. Simply call and stop in — the training session is brief and on-the-job. (2831 N. 31st Ave., Phoenix, [602] 352-3640)

Best live music venue

Marquee Theatre: Despite some pesky problems (parking and air conditioning issues chief among them), the Marquee Theatre is staging terrific concerts by national and local artists in a wider variety of genres than any other place in town. And its sloped floor makes for great sightlines from anywhere in the house. (730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, [480] 829-0707)

Best one-day trip

Nogales, Mexico: Some college entrants can be frustrated to find their dreams of dance club foam parties and weekend benders delayed by minor-in-possession charges and militant residence hall assistants. But fret not, ye belligerence-curious, for your salvation lies south of the border. By heading south on Interstate 10 and continuing on Interstate 19, it takes a little more than 2 1/2hours for newbies to find themselves in the humble town of Nogales. Travelers entering Mexico will need a passport or birth certificate for entry. Walking across is reasonably safe and street parking is available for a few blocks along the Arizona side of the border. If driving into Mexico, motorists are required to carry Mexican insurance, which drivers can purchase from vendors on the way or the Arizona Automobile Association (701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, [602] 274-1116, Ext. 4809). Though it is legal to drink at age 18 in Mexico, it is also advisable to understand the local laws to assure your trip remains as brief and fun-filled as planned.

Best weekend road trip

Crown King: There are no red rocks but what’s not to love about having a frosty beverage at the 98-year-old Crown King Saloon after an exciting dirt road journey? This living ghost town is nestled in the Bradshaw Mountains just 100 miles northwest of Tempe. If you leave the saloon, other enjoyable activities include a bed and breakfast, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, gold panning, berry picking, mountain biking and ATV riding. To get there, take I-17 north to exit 248 (Bumble Bee exit) and follow the graded (suitable for passenger cars) dirt road 28 miles into Crown King. (www.crownking.com)

Best alternative fun night

Roller derby bouts at Surfside Skateland: The terrifically terrifying ladies of Arizona Roller Derby host their season opener at Surfside Skateland (1625 E. Weber Drive, Tempe, [480] 968-9600) Sept. 18. See the wildly campy antics of the nurse-themed Bruisers as they battle newbie baseballers the Bad News Beaters in an all-out skate and stealth match. Doors open at 7 p.m. and beer gardens will be open inside. Check the schedule at www.azrollerderby.com for other upcoming events.

Best place to rock ’n’ bowl

AMF Tempe Village Lanes: The young and the trendy come out to this center's Cosmic Bowling, which combines flashy lights and loud rock music with bowling. AMF offers Cosmic Bowling 9:30 p.m. to midnight Wednesday and Sunday and 11 to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The cover is $13-$17. (4407 S. Rural Road, [480] 831-5322)

Best radio station

KEDJ (103.9 FM): With its willingness to take chances on new bands such as Dexter Freebish, Denver Harbor and Pepper, The Edge remains cutting edge and is always a step ahead of its competition. The station’s morning show is top-notch and its radio personalities continue to keep us laughing. But what really stands out about the station is its support of the local music scene. (www.theedge1039.com)

Best liquor store

Top’s Liquors: From Bud Light kegs aplenty to an admirable wine selection, Top’s Liquors provides for frat parties, candlelight dinners and everything in between. (403 W. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 967-5643)

Best skate park

Chandler Skatepark: It is rumored that the new Tempe skate park — set to open in about four months — will put all other Valley parks to shame. For now, though, the Chandler Skatepark is still where it’s at for skateboarders of all ages and skill levels. (4500 S. Basha Road, Chandler, [480] 782-2640)

Best hiking

Superstition Springs Wilderness: Avoid the crazy Camelback Mountain crowds and head east to the Superstition Springs Wilderness. It’s worth the 30-plus-minute drive from Tempe to explore the park’s more than 200 trails, accessible elevations of 4,500 feet and amazing wild flower shows in February. There are seven trail heads; call [480] 610-3300 for directions.

Best mountain biking

South Mountain Park: There’s excellent biking less than 10 minutes from ASU at the 16,000-acre South Mountain Park. The park boasts 58 miles of trails with National Trail being the longest at 14.3 miles. Visit www.ci.phoenix.az.us/PARKS/hikesoth.html for trail maps, ratings and directions. (multiple entry points)

Best comedy club

The Tempe Improv: Flagship of the national Improv chain, The Tempe Improv is not only the best comedy club in town, it’s one of the best in the country. It’s hosted the filming of numerous TV specials, a portion of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedian” movie and features A-level national comics every weekend. (930 E. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 921-9877)

Best strip mall

Apache Boulevard and Dorsey Avenue Complex: Do your laundry (and get dry cleaning done) while noshing on a breakfast burrito from the Filiberto’s drive-thru, then get your hair done at the Full Service Hair Salon. To offset the feminine primping, learn to kick butt Drunken Master style at the the Chinese Shao-Lin Center, then get your energy back with a tasty lunch at Pita Jungle. Pitch woo with a cute girl (or indie boy) over the Lali Puna section at the awesome Stinkweeds CD/record shop and, together, take bartending classes next door; fall in love and get matching tattoos at In The Flesh Tattoo. Speaking of flesh — before things get hot and heavy, visit the Planned Parenthood in the northwest corner of the strip mall. Take your newfound sweetie to Rasta Tings to profess your love of Bob Marley memorabilia, then over to the smoke shop to buy Zig-Zags. Whoops, your darling is straight edge? Break up over skewers at Tasty Kabob. Get your laundry — it’s done by now — and go home to write your own update of Kevin Smith’s “Clerks.” What a crazy life you live. (1250 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe)

Best record store for students

Hoodlums: For the college crowd there’s nothing more convenient than shopping for the latest CDs and DVDs while on your way to class, and the only place to do it is at Hoodlums on campus at ASU. The shop may be small, but its selection is large and the staff is friendly and helpful. (ASU Memorial Union, lower level, [480] 727- 8733, www.hoodlumsmusic.com)

Best makeout spot

‘A’ Mountain: Her name was Katie. We met at midnight at the base of “A” Mountain (though it’s more like a hill, really, at 300 feet; it’s also known as Tempe Butte and Hayden Butte, but nothing spoils the mood like the word “butte”). Hand in hand, my freshly wooed darling and I climbed against the crisp chill of December winds, stepping higher and higher. It was a slow, easy, casual hike — which was good, because I was out of shape and nothing spoils the mood like wheezing. We got to the top, climbed higher up to the rocks jutting ragged near whatever that fenced-in electronics tower thingy is, and, against the backdrop of an empty parking lot below and Tempe Town Lake in the distance, we sucked face until our toes turned blue. Good times. (northeast corner of downtown Tempe, off Mill Avenue)

NIGHTLIFE

Best-looking crowd

Stetson Drive, Scottsdale: On a street where swanky lounges, hipster hangouts and longtime nightspots converge with countless hair salons, so too do the Valley’s natural (and not-so-natural) beauties.

Best wine bar

Kazimierz: Not everything on the menu at Kazimierz fits the student budget. Imagine ordering a lovely bottle of Guigal syrah and being presented a tab for $1,800! Highest of high-end labels aside, Kazimierz has nice glasses of white or red wine for $5-$10, tasteful light dining fare and nose-tickling Limbeck’s framboise (raspberry ale) on tap, which is highly recommended. (7137 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, [480] 946-3004)

Best coffee shop

Coffee Plantation: Tucked into a shady brick building smack dab in the middle of Tempe’s premier retail neighborhood, Coffee Plantation is worth a visit for lush lattes and eye-popping espresso shots. Serving up Diedrich’s coffee, the java bar is a cozy haven for a late-night finals frenzy or midday mocha break. (680 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, [480] 829-7878)

Best microbrewery

Four Peaks Brewing Co.: Blocks away from bustling Mill Avenue, Four Peaks Brewing Co. lures in college crowds with its cozy, misted patio, friendly staff and award- winning microbrews. Tour the spacious wooded interior or chat with pals over a pitcher of Kilt Lifter. The veggie pesto pizza is worth sampling, too. (1340 E. Eighth St., Tempe, [480] 303-9967)

Best place to shoot pool

Main Street Billiards: Fight the late-night dormitory doldrums with an escape to Main Street Billiards. Mosey through the smoky hangout to find scores of tables, a fair share of sharks and servers who will deliver a beer or coffee right to your pool-side — er, table-side — barstool. The later you stay at this west Mesa dive, the more interesting the sights. (1749 W. Main St., Mesa, [480] 969-7898)

Hottest female bar staff

The Library Bar and Grill: Men flock to the Library — not to study, but to be around the sexy, young sirens who work and dance on the bar. With the female staff usually attired in horn-rimmed glasses and sassy, plaid school-girl skirts, it’s no wonder that there is usually an abundance of men at the Library on any given night of the week. (501 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, [480] 929-9002)

Hottest male bar staff

Drift: Forget triple-digit temperatures. Women are sure to swelter at Drift when they get near the hotties that hold court behind the island-like bar. Fortunately, the bartenders make a mean strawberry daiquiri to help cool you off. (4341 N. 75th St., Scottsdale, [480] 949-8454)

Best dive bar

The Rogue: There isn’t a dress code at this punk-rock hangout where people wear wifebeater tank tops, studded belts and torn jeans. You’ll also notice a lot of mohawks and colored hair. But what the bar is best known for is its Pabst Blue Ribbon specials. PBR is practically de rigueur here and is on special for 50 cents a can from 8 p.m. to midnight Mondays. (423 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, [480] 947-3580)

Best patio bar

The Salty Señorita: The south Scottsdale cantina features a prime people-watching spot — its large patio, which overlooks Scottsdale Road. Patrons in their 20s and 30s pack the patio when the sun goes down, making the bar one of the best hot spots in the East Valley. (3636 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, [480] 946-7258)

Best drink special

The Vine Tavern & Eatery: If you spent most of your money on over-priced text books, don’t fret. You can make $10 stretch at this ASU hot spot on Mondays and Wednesdays when the bar offers $1 well drinks and drafts from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (801 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, [480] 894-2662)

Best game bar

The Sets: With foosball, air hockey, shuffleboard, pool, video games and chess, the Tempe game bar has a little something for everyone. (93 E. Southern Ave., [480] 894-8339).

Best neighborhood bar

Casey Moore’s: ASU’s jocks and Abercrombie kids may have Mill Avenue, but postgrads, burnouts, hipsters and hangers-on alike know the best Tempe watering hole for those without backward baseball caps is Casey Moore’s, tucked in a party-hearty residential neighborhood just southwest of University Drive and Mill Avenue. This no-frills joint features a great patio, darn good bar food, a wait staff that can range from curt to gushingly sweet and the coldest Guinness this side of the Blarney Stone. And, oh, did we mention Casey’s is haunted? Read the spooky stories in the bathroom hallway, then make your way upstairs and check out the baby doll in the crib. (850 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, [480] 968-9935)

Best place to light up

Red Sea Hookah Lounge: Unlike other East Valley hookah establishments, the Red Sea isn’t a restaurant. It's a full-on smoking lounge with tobacco flavors such as watermelon and apple. Red Sea charges a $2 cover and it’s $6 to smoke a bowl. (827 S. Rural Road, Tempe, [480] 966-2401)

Best hook-up bar

Maloney’s On Campus: “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” That’s only one of the many cheesy pick-up lines you’re sure to hear at this ASU-friendly bar which is known for its on-the-prowl college clientele who are looking to score some digits. (955 E. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 894-2224)

Best cheap drinks

M3 Bar & Lounge: In addition to offering a bevy of eye candy, M3 — which was formerly Magnum’s — features $3 drinks from beers to shots to colorful cocktails all the time. (2623 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, [480] 423-7087)

Best margaritas

Z Tejas: Z Tejas margaritas are so potent, they have to cut you off after three. We recommend the popular Chambord flavor for a frozen and fierce treat. (20 W. Sixth St., Tempe, [480] 377-1170; 7014 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, [480] 946-4171; 10625 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, [480] 948-9010).

Best bar for a body shot

Dos Gringos Trailer Park: Girls gone wild? Look no further than Dos Gringos and you’ll find its hormonal customers — which will probably include your geology class neighbor — getting down and dirty with body shots, a ritual at the college hangout. (1001 E. Eighth St., Tempe, [480] 968-7879)

Best gay bar

BS: Drink specials? Check: Two-for-one Wednesdays. No-attitude bartenders? Check: Darin, Michael, Heather, et al. Karaoke? Check: Sundays and Thursdays. Dress code? No way: Come as you’re comfortable. (7125 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, [480] 945-9028)

Best Tucson bar

Plush: Drinking in the home team’s territory can be tricky business, but it’s easy to stay low-profile at Plush. At Sixth Street and Fourth Avenue, the bar is just blocks west of the U of A Wildcats’ lair. With its low lighting, velvety interior and reasonably priced drink menu, it is the most laid-back hideaway the block has to offer. (340 E. Sixth St., Tucson, [520] 798-1298)

STYLE

Best hair

Carsten Institute of Hair & Beauty: Carsten-quality stylists have got to start somewhere — and it’s usually at the institute, a beauty boot camp where students hone techniques on customers who like the discounted prices. (3345 S. Rural Road, Tempe, [480] 491-0449)

Best pedicure

Spa Nordstrom: Customers get a private room, a reclining chair, eye cover, aromatherapy treatment and a paraffin dip before polish or buffing. An 80 minute-treatment is $55. (7055 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, [480] 946-4111)

Best cheap shoes

Last Chance Bargain Shoes: It may be quite a drive, but Last Chance Bargain Shoes is the place to go for the best selection in discount shoe shopping. Last Chance receives the final clearance and return stock from Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack department stores. Find running shoes by Diesel and Adidas, boots by Nine West and Franco Sarto pumps. Ladies, this could be the only place on Earth to happen upon an affordable pair of Manolos. (1919 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, [602] 248-2843)

Best club clothes

42 Saint: As gritty bands like The Strokes and Jet gained popularity recently, so did shaggy haircuts, expensive jeans, and this store’s stock of rock star-worthy gear that helps style-savvy clubgoers channel their inner Sgt. Pepper. (15220 N. Scottsale Road, Scottsdale, [480] 945-8148)

Best tattoo shop

Club Tattoo: Chester Bennington of Linkin Park became a partner this year, which also marked the opening of the award-winning shop’s third East Valley location. You know what they say: Go big or not at all. (Club Tattoo I, 1212 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe; Club Tattoo II, 825 S. Rural Road, Tempe; Club Tattoo III, 1423 S. Country Club Drive, Mesa; [480] 902-0943 or www.clubtattoo.com)

Best skate shop

Cowtown Skateboards: The skate scene being as picky as it is, it’s anyone’s guess why one shop gains a devout following while others flounder. But for skateboarders who have been violating city sidewalks for years, Cowtown is No. 1. (3016 N. Dobson Road, Chandler, [480] 214-0133 or www.cowtownskateboards.com)

Best dorm outfitter

Urban Outfitters: The holy grail for freshmen armed with dad’s credit card to fund everything a dorm room requires, from bamboo floor mats and the “Jesus Ashtray” to a rug that looks like a sunny-side up egg. (545 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe, (480) 966-7250.)

Best bargain home shopping

Goodwill: A coffee table that once found a home in grandma’s living room is now “retro cool,” and at Goodwill, it’s cheap, too. Pay close attention to the date on price tags; anything that’s there for more than 30 days gets discounted another 50 percent. (Locations throughout the East Valley and Scottsdale)

Best Art Gallery

reZurrection Gallery: Part eclectic furnishing store, part art gallery, this quirky Tempe gem sells refurbished vintage pieces alongside funky, handcrafted originals made by local artisans. (601 W. University Drive, Tempe, [480] 377-9080 or www.rezurrection.com)

Best bargain clothes

Buffalo Exchange: Despite growing competition, Buffalo Exchange is still the best place in town to find vintage dresses, real trucker caps, a pair of $120 jeans for $30 and moms with tattoos. For cash-poor students, it’s also the best way to get rid of old clothes in exchange for beer money — or new clothes. (227 W. University Drive, Tempe, (480) 968-2557 or www.buffaloexchange.com)

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