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Flagstaff is an amazing Arizona destination that's a definite departure from The Grand Canyon State’s usual landscapes--starkly beautiful lands dominated by sprawling deserts; dotted with cacti and epic towering rock formations. Rather, the mid-sized town is positively lush when compared to its AZ cousins, boasting a parade of pine forests and mountain views that belie its location as the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

Also known for its famously dark skies and as a prime road trip stop along Route 66, in recent years, Flagstaff has also built a reputation for a cool cuisine/bar scene that’s dominated by a number of creative, locally-owned options that are as welcoming and delightful as the city itself. Below are some of the coolest spots in Flagstaff to grab a crafty cocktail or an ice-cold brew (good vibes definitely included).

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Loving The Labels At Whisk And Whisky

Part gastropub, part whiskey lover's dream, the hip Whisk and Whisky is part of a local collective of boutique restaurants in Flagstaff. A true standout thanks to its 200(!) whiskey labels available for sipping; a deliciously elevated food menu; and a staff that’s in the know when it comes to the best recommendations, this sophisticated spot is the perfect place to pair a high-end sipper with a deliciously inventive meal.

  • Address: 601 E. Piccadilly Drive (#70 Aspen Place at the Sawmill)
  • Hours: Monday through Thursday 3-9 PM; Friday and Saturday 11 AM-10 PM; Sunday 11 AM-9 PM; Social Time (aka Happy Hour) 3 PM-6 PM daily
  • Food: Yes
  • What To Try: Whistle Pig Farm Stock Rye; Lagavulin (16-year) Single Malt Scotch; Pappy Van Winkle (12-year) Bourbon
  • What Makes It Great: The whiskey list is vast and contains a bevy of browns that span the globe—and the knowledgeable, friendly staff is always happy to offer their recommendations

Curated & Crafty Cocktails At The Annex Cocktail Lounge

Located on Flagstaff’s happening and historic south side, The Annex was originally meant as an overflow location for the adjacent (and very popular), Tinderbox Kitchen—however, it has since made a name for itself in the city’s cocktail scene. Known for its carefully created cocktail list that’s both inventive and thoughtful, The Annex is famed for its picture-perfect drinks and friendly bartenders that make guests feel right at home.

  • Address: 50 S. San Francisco St.
  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday 3 PM-10 PM; Friday and Saturday 3 PM-12 AM
  • Food: Yes
  • What To Try: Man O’War; Bobby’s Harvest; Afternoon Delight
  • What Makes It Great: Every cocktail at The Annex “tells a story with each sip”—and this isn’t just a tagline, as the drinks here are just as memorable as the experience

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Monte Vista Cocktail Lounge: A Classic Haunt (That’s Actually Haunted!)

There’s something special about a dyed-in-the-wool hotel bar and cocktail lounge: think no-frills, easygoing watering holes overflowing with personality; simple spots where the cocktails are classics and the beer is ice-cold. In Flagstaff, the Monte Vista is such a place—the first speakeasy in Flagstaff, the Monte V (as its affectionately known), is a bi-level lounge that delights in its notoriety and atmosphere that also comes with a haunted reputation— so be sure to ask the locals for their fave ghost story while you’re there.

  • Address: The Hotel Monte Vista, 100 N San Francisco St.
  • Hours: Happy Hour runs daily from 4 PM-9 PM; Live Music Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights and Karaoke Tuesday and Thursday starting at 9:30 PM
  • Food: No
  • What To Try: A draft beer pint; a Dirty Gin Martini; an Old Fashioned
  • What Makes It Great: The Monte V is located in the historic hotel of the same name, which opened its doors in 1927. Throughout its history, it’s hosted a number of famous names (including Bob Hope and Michael J. Fox, among others)—and, like the bar, also has a downright spooky reputation

Arizona Proud At Hops On Birch

One of the best things about Flagstaff is its small-town feel that’s due in large part to a number of distinctive, locally-owned businesses. An integral part of the Arizona mountain town’s identity, these cozy gems include its friendly and inviting watering holes and hangout spots; places like Hops On Birch that strive to capture that local spirit. There are no high-end cocktails here—just welcoming vibes and an unfussy beer list that highlights AZ brews alongside small craft offerings from across the country.

  • Address: 22 East Birch Avenue #2
  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday 12 AM-12 PM; Friday and Saturday 12 PM-2 AM
  • Food: No
  • What To Try: All Arizona brews include, This Beer Saves Water (Pale Ale); Ta Weno (American Amber); 928 Local (Farmhouse Ale)
  • What Makes It Great: Hops on Birch has a rotating draft beer menu that is always changing but never boring. They also have an extensive list of to-go options—a great way to take home an AZ fave.

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Uptown Pubhouse Is A Saloon With Style

Pool tables, great brews, and a dive bar atmosphere define the inimitable Uptown Pubhouse, serving up spirits and good times since 1993. A bustling hub of events and a fun spot to grab a pint (or sample their extensive whiskey selection), Uptown prides itself on maintaining the casual, laid-back vibes that have made it a local hangout spot for years—a true pub atmosphere where everyone just might know your name.

  • Address: 114 North Leroux Street
  • Hours: Monday through Thursday 12 PM-1 AM; Friday 12 PM-2 AM, Saturday 11 AM-2 AM, Sunday 11 AM-1 AM; Kitchen open until 10 PM daily
  • Food: Yes
  • What To Try: Shot of John Powers Irish Whiskey and a Guinness Draft; Rusty Nail; Smithwick’s Irish Ale (draft)
  • What Makes It Great: There are so many things that make Uptown a cool place to hang out; but it's the pub’s monthly events that set it apart—including poetry readings, book clubs, and literary readings; not to mention its Rum Runners Club and Tug O’ War team

Flagstaff is so much more than a fun stop en route to the Grand Canyon: known for its big-time mountain town vibes and a bar scene bustling with both classic pubs and upscale, crafty cocktail spots; Flagstaff is tops when it comes to hospitality—the perfect place to raise a glass this summer and toast Arizona’s gorgeous gateway city.