Mesa's sheer size lends itself to being a great city for nightlife. Because Mesa is so spread out, visitors have access to a variety of concentrated pockets throughout the city that are each filled with activity after the sun sets. The evening options are as endless and diverse as they come - from boot stompin' dance floors playing cowboy anthems to tequila-sippin' patios with fire pits blazing.
South of Mesa in the burgeoning community known as Gilbert, visitors can find a collection wine bars and chef-driven restaurants that are just as busy on a weekday as much as the weekend. Foodies know that some of the best flavor combinations come from south of the border so it's only fitting that just south of Mesa's border is Joyride Taco House, the newest restaurant to pack a regional Mexican punch. With a menu inspired by daily life and cuisine in Mexico, tacos take center stage and feature slow-roasted meats tucked into house-made tortillas. The bar scene here is as colorful as their selection of hand-muddled aqua frescas. Each one features the freshest ingredients and are paired with your choice of liquor. Popular choices include the Cucumber Mint fresca with your choice of tequila or gin, or the popular Almond Horchata fresca paired with Amaretto or Frangelico. Signature garage doors adorn both the front and back of the building, creating a breezeway and two distinct patios that keep the laid back vibe in-tact with entertainment in the form of a bocce ball court and lounge chairs.
Next door to Joyride is Postino East Wine Café where guests can expect nearly 40 hand-selected unique, approachable wines paired with simple, delicious food that's served to share. The warm, inviting space was designed for lingering and the friendly staff of up-and-comers are so well-tuned on their wine selections that you simply can't go wrong with white, red or rosé. Phoenix-based restaurateurs, Upward Projects, built the wine bar knowing it would be an urban space within a suburban area. The 2,500 square-foot building incorporates elements from their original location along with a versatile layout that includes an indoor-outdoor bar, wrap-around patio, and a green space for events. Lit up by bright neon signage, the backyard playground is another popular gathering spot for casual fun and good times while visiting Mesa City Limitless.
Mesa's newest hot spot is TQLA Agave Bar & Southwestern Kitchen. If you are a tequila lover you might have just found your sanctuary. Located at the upscale Dana Park Village Square, TQLA boasts one of the most scenic patios in the city with palm-tree lined views in every direction. They offer 80 varieties of tequila with several premium selections available on tap. These tequilas are "hyper-cooled" to 5 degrees Fahrenheit and it's a must to opt for their signature tequila flights or a handcrafted margarita. Or, lean on the suggestions of their "Master Mixologists" on hand to create your specialty cocktail and select from one of their infused tequilas including seasonal flavors such as pumpkin spice, hibiscus and citrus. The Southwestern Kitchen serves up a full menu straight through to last call.
The Windmill Winery offers one of the most unique special event settings for guests looking for a day trip from Mesa. Located in historic Florence, thirty minutes east of the city, you'll find the authenticity of a rural farm, with the elegance of stone pathways, lush landscape, and surrounding mountain views. Don't miss the Windmill Winery tasting room which is open every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 p.m. with wine tastings held every Thursday and Saturday starting at a flight of three wines for $5. The wine room holds a rustic elegance which extends an invitation of relaxation and whimsy. Purchase a bottle of wine from their private selection of blended wines, including the popular Hummingbird Nectar wine featuring wild honey and the award-winning Dutchman's Bold, and enjoy it in the charming gardens amongst the farm wildlife or next to their on-site pond.
For a low key experience and a more relaxed atmosphere, World of Beer at San Tan Village gives a new definition to the term neighborhood bar. Promoting their culture through a passion for craft beers from around the globe, guests here can see great local bands and order in food from the slew of restaurants surrounding them.
For more on Mesa's notable craft brewery scene - check out the Modern Day Nomads, 4 New Must-Visit Microbreweries in Phoenix's East Valley, including "Best New Brewery in the World".
The craft beer craze has made its way to the Sonoran Desert with several notable brews already earning respect and praise from the industry's top critics. In Mesa, make sure to plan a stop at the brand-new Beer Research Institute, or as the locals know it B.R.I. This micro-brewery was started by two Mesa guys doing "research" in their garage who learned quickly that they had something worth sharing. With a heavy focus on craft beer, the Beer Research Institute features Belgian-style ales with a fruit-forward taste and they brew West Coast American-style beers which tend to be hop forward and aggressive. What really makes B.R.I. stand out is their relationships with local farmers - in the spring, they feature Schnepf Farms peaches in their Peach Lolly beer. Pair a beer flight with their made-from-scratch dishes including BBQ right from the Pork Shop in nearby Queen Creek. Taco plates and a long list of sandwich combos round out the menu.
The Brass Tap just called Mesa its new home and is conveniently located in Mesa Riverview, across from Sloan Park. The Brass Tap offers more than 300 beers, 60 of which are on tap. They feature some of Arizona's most popular local brews including Four Peaks Brewing Company and Mesa's own Desert Eagle Brewery. They don't stop at Arizona breweries, they include the best beer selection from around the globe. While enjoying a nice cold one, you're invited to nosh on pub-style menu items including pretzel crust pizzas, paninis and flatbreads. Plan on diving into The Brass Tap's take on nachos featuring fresh kettle chips piled high with prime rib and Sam Adams beer cheese.