By Lisa Marie Morrison

Tucson, during the Gem and Mineral Shows, is a hot-bed of nightlife activity. The following list is completely biased and geared towards locations convenient to the various gem shows; they appear in no particular order. For a complete and up-to-date list of events, pick-up a free copy of the Tucson Weekly, available in bright red boxes all over town.

Drinks on the patio: with or without food

Cushing Street Café and Bar
Beautiful, historic territorial building, private walled patio, steps from the Tucson Convention Center
198 W. Cushing Street
(520) 622-7984

El Charro Café
A downtown mainstay since 1922, the patio’s always lively during the shows, wait in the bar with a nice tequila-on-the-rocks con lima.
311 N. Court Avenue
(520) 745-1922

Enoteca Pizzeria & Wine Bar
Right on the corner of Stone and Church, good food fast , superb wine list
58 W. Congress
(520) 623-0744

Delectables Restaurant
Best people watching patio, directly on Fourth Avenue, but you feel tucked away while you sip wine, and nibble on a cheese and fruit plate.
533 N. Fourth Avenue
(520) 884-9289

The best places to hear live music

Hip lounge, great cocktails, smoker-friendly outdoor patio, and on at least five nights a week you’ll find solid local music mixing it up with hot up-and-coming touring bands. Typical weekend cover charge for name acts is only about $6 and mid-week shows in the comfortable lounge are usually free. Our favorite Tucson club. Hands down.
Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street
(520) 798-1298

Club Congress/The Tap Room
Something is happening there tonight; it might be great live music, ‘80s night discotheque, a quiet night on the patio, or a pint in the Tap, but something’s happening. Booking agent David Slutes also fronts one of Tucson's finest rocks bands, The Sand Rubies, and you can count on him to book great local and touring acts.
311 E. Congress Street
(520) 622-8848

The Rialto
The state-of-the-art sound system and acoustics rock our world. Lined up to play during the gem and mineral shows are DeVotchKa, Susan Tedeschi, Andrew Bird, and the three-day extravaganza “Tucson Gem & Jam” Feb. 6th-8th
See www.gem&jam.com
318 E. Congress Street
(520) 740-1000

Pubs: Downtown area

The Shanty
A secluded Irish pub at the south end of Fourth Avenue, roomy with a splendid patio, extensive beer menu. "Brilliant," as our European friends like to say
401 E. 9th Street
(520) 623-2664

Barrio Brewing Company
A true neighborhood pub, Gentle Ben’s micro brew on tap, lively conversation all around
800 E. 16th Street
(520) 791-2739

Bob Dobb’s Bar & Grill
Bar-in-the-round, graffiti covered walls, smokin’ good food
2501 E. 6th Street
(520) 325-3767

The Hut
A giant Tiki head (trust us, you can’t miss it), Tucson’s largest beach patio, and live music you can dance to on the weekends
305 N. Fourth Avenue
(520) 623-3200

Surly Wench Pub
Worth it for the lady-pirate décor alone, new lounge area, bar food kitchen. Loud live music most nights, leaning towards punk, heavy metal and rockabilly. Lots of tattooed people. Great fun if you like it loud and fast.
424 N. Fourth Avenue
(520) 882-0009

Che’s Lounge
The locals’ pub, Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. Crowded, popular, crazy art decor, very cool, cheap drinks and the bar staff really know how to make a decent cocktail.
350 N. Fourth Avenue
(520) 623-2088

Holidome Area-ish

Nimbus Brewing Company and Taproom
Renowned beer, great atmosphere, live music played against a warehouse loading dock backdrop
#850 E. 4th Street
(520) 745-9175

Desert Diamond Casino Hotel
The Monsoon nightclub, steak house, buffet and the loosest slots in town
Nogales Hwy 1 mile south of Valencia
(520) 294-7777

Whole Bead Show/Westward Look Mineral Show friendly

Sullivan’s Steak House
Cozy bar, tasty martinis, cool jazz
1785 E. River Road
(520) 299-4275

Fantastic open patio, hip settling, valet parking. Very popular with the young, chic and super cute clique.
2995 E. Skyline Drive
(520) 299-1600

Acacia at St. Phillip’s
One of Tucson’s loveliest patios, sublime cuisine, delightful music.
4240 N. Campbell Avenue
(520) 232-0101

Thunder Canyon Brewery
A terrific pint of ale, extensive menu, large, east facing patio at the Foothills Mall. Fast, friendly service. Kid friendly and sports friendly. Inexpensive, good food, and a smoking area on the patio. 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd (just north of Ina Road)
(520) 797-2652

Dive bars that begin with the letter “B”

Home of the “Jumbo” beer, crock-pot hot dogs cooked in beer, local color aplenty
538 E. 9th Street
(520) 623-6811

Bashful Bandit
Biker bar par excellence
3686 E. Speedway
(520) 795-8996

Bay Horse Tavern
Pool tables, a great jukebox and a giant chair
2802 E. Grant Road
(520) 326-8554

Bambi (The)
Ask the bartender if he/she has heard any good jokes lately
5050 E. Speedway Blvd.
(520) 795-6663

In a class of its own

Kon Tiki Restaurant & Lounge
Authentic 1960’s tiki lounge, killer Scorpion Bowl (make sure you have a designated driver!), it’s a short drive east and a world away…
4625 E. Broadway Blvd.
(520) 323-7195

Alternative entertainment

Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness
For the girls
2900 E. Broadway Blvd.
(520) 318-4838

For the boys
616 N. Fourth Avenue

Woody’s Bar
A dive bar for all
3710 N. Oracle Road
(520) 292-6702

College crowd

Flat screen TVs with the game on, pool tables, live music in back, cool historic surroundings
247 N. Fourth Avenue
(520) 623-8600

Anything on University Boulevard between Park Ave. and Euclid Ave.

Country and Western

The King of Clubs, this one’s the real deal
6622 E. Tanque Verde Road
(520) 298-0430

Cactus Moon
Fridays and Saturdays feature live music
5470 E. Broadway Blvd.
(520) 748-0049

Your hotel lounge

By far, the best to be found is around the pool on a beautiful Tucson afternoon for the dealer/exhibitor Happy Hour at Inn Suites (you can find us there); but any close-by lounge will suffice.

Tucson bands and solo artists

Tucson boasts an incredibly rich and varied live music scene and we recommend trying to catch some of these great local artists:

Leila Lopez  super talented local singer/songwriter with a beautiful voice
Sand Rubies  formerly The Sidewinders; progenitors of the "Tucson sound"
The Jons
Al Foul
Tom Walbanks  amazing, high energy traditional blues player from England
The Tryst
live mariachi music
The Kate Becker Project
The Rosano Brothers
Last Call Brawlers
 raucous, fun rockabilly/punk crossover
Cathy Rivers
Grupo/Duo Sonido
Naim Amor
Stephen George
Kevin Pakulis
Salvador Duran
Mission Creeps
 spooky, hugely entertaining zombie rock band reminiscent of The Cramps