The Phoenix Hipster Travel Guide

Phoenix hipster
Crikey! We’ve got Phoenix hipster scenesters in their natural habitat at Lux. Look at the plaid plumage on that specimen!

Hipsters should keep their trilby-wearing, Indie-loving, PBR-guzzling butts out of Phoenix. There’s nothing for them here, right? Just look at this city: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the sad public transit, the dearth of a true creative class. But there’s also a glut of dive bars, indie music venues, thrift shops and espresso bars. Plus you can sound uber-ironic and contrarian by telling your DJ/mixed media artist/php developer buddies back home that you think Phoenix rocks. So maybe a traveling hipster can get something out of Phoenix.

Well, then, let me help you build your itinerary with my Phoenix hipster travel guide. Check out these four places, and you’ll get the real Phoenix hipster experience.

The Clarendon Hotel

If you visit Phoenix, you need a place to stay. Frequent rooftop parties, DJs and modern-retro styling make the Clarendon Hotel a perfect crash pad for visiting hipsters. And it’s a choice location – walking distance from a light rail station -- the preferred hipster mode of transport aside from fixed-gear bikes. Consider this THE choice place to stay in the Phoenix Hipster Travel Guide.

Lux Coffee Bar

A way-too-serious DJ scowling at his Mac laptop like a submarine sonar operator listening for depth charges. A parking lot filled with beat-up cruisers, fixies and Scions. Shouting to be heard over the clamor.

Phoenix hipster travel guide
To get this rare shot of a hipster-free Oasis pool, the management at the Clarendon announced a 2-for-1 oversized sunglasses special in the gift shop. (SOURCE: The Clarendon Hotel via Wikimedia Commons)

This is Lux Coffee Bar. You can find far better espresso in Phoenix. But you can’t find more skinny jeans and awkward facial hair per capita anywhere. The menu has all the usual espresso suspects, plus trendy comfort food items. Finally, Lux has one of the most annoying, ill-functioning-on-all-browsers websites you’ll encounter.

FilmBar Phoenix

Looking for a film that doesn’t rely on explosions? You’re in luck – FilmBar is the place to find the old, the serious, the "so-bad-it’s-good" features that you’ll never see at a mega-movie megaplex. And there’s a genuinely impressive beer list featuring a smattering of Arizona-brewed items -- FilmBar might lose hipster points for not having PBR on the list. But you can’t argue that showing some Ingmar Bergman and French films from the 1950s doesn’t even the score. No Phoenix hipster travel guide is complete without FilmBar.

The Lost Leaf

How hip is The Lost Leaf? It’s website extension is .org, not .com. Odds are, the band booked for the night will have a stand-up bass. It’s no strip mall bar, but a nicely renovated bungalow. That’s hip. There’s also 140 bottled beers, some sake, some wine and even a few non-alcoholic beverages. You may feel out-of-place if you have no odd piercings or tattoos. But you’ll satisfy your people-watching needs, along with the desire for a choice beverage.