In or Out the House?: The Story of How I Created My Own Bar Crawl Experience

Thankfully at a young age, I learned a invaluable lesson that I carried with me into "adulting"... THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BEING BORED!


Please understand, the Keke you know and love does enjoy traveling  and has lived all over the US. Yet, that still doesn't change the fact that I grew up in the backwoods of Cross, South Carolina where everythinggg was a minimum 30 minute drive away. It's safe to say that experience alone equips Crossonians (and all country folk for that matter) to be naturally resourceful and innovative!

Regardless if you grew up in the city or in the country, I'm sure most of you can relate to "staying in or out the house" to conserve your mother's "good air" or  not to interrupt her "good sleep". Without fail, my mother gave me this "in or out" ultimatum  daily and more often than not, I chose out.

Out meant exploring with my cousins and turning "being bored" into anything from full rescue missions (one time, we rescued an "ostrich") or coming up with the idea  to build our own school Rainbow Elementary from the ground up using shipping crates (which we had to close once the "walls" fell down and almost took my baby cousin out). Instead of complaining about not being in close proximity to Chuck E Cheese or our beloved Discovery Zone, we were constantly stretching our limits and creating the experiences we desired! To be bored was impossible in our world! 

Twenty eight years later, that lesson still reigns supreme! While Phoenix typically has events and festivals galore, sometimes there's NOTHING and I can be really close to being the b-word. 

One day I got sooooo close to being bored on a Saturday of all days, but God!  I remembered that great lesson from my childhood and had the grand idea to create my own bar crawl experience in Downtown Phoenix along Roosevelt Row! 

It was completely unplanned...

No destinations in mind...

Just park and walk style...

And it was perhaps one of the greatest decisions of my life!

And it was perhaps one of the greatest decisions of my life!

What a thrill! I was smart (and coherent) enough to document each stop with a obligatory  photo and location tag, that you will find below with my infamous shades (for the "cool kid" effect)!

Although completely random, it was just my luck that each location made this "out the house" experience completely WORTH IT! Thanks mommy for instilling such a great lesson that has allowed me to explore four really awesome gems right in my backyard! 

YES, I'm advocating for you to visit these locations and YES, I'm sharing the highlights from what was one of the dopest ideas I've had in a while. Most importantly, I want to remind all of my young melanated professionals  who are perhaps as close to bored as I was to get up, get "out the house" and if you remember nothing else I share with you ...


First Stop: The Dressing Room

 220 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Oh, The Dressing Room! I've heard  folks RAVE about this place and it was just my luck that I'd  stumble upon the gem FIRST on my journey. Intimate in size and adjacent to the MonOrchid Gallery, The Dressing Room makes for a very classic, artsy experience. The real gem is the chic back patio, as I am a complete sucker for patios.

I have to confess; this would mark the first day I indulged in a Paloma by recommendation of the waiter. The C & V Paloma in his opinion was their most popular drink. Although I am not sure as to why I waited so long to indulge in this masterpiece, I am pleased I did considering tequila is my very best friend!

Hands down, this will be my drink of choice at this bar for years to come! (And it was only $4 during happy hour!) The icing on the cake was the service.  Many thanks to my attentive, informative (and super attractive) waiter that day! 

FYI:  You can count on Dressing Room to have happy hour EVERY SINGLE DAY from 11am- 6pm! Let the good times roll! 

Second Stop: Trap Hauss BBQ

511 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

After my out of body experience with the C & V Paloma, I came to my senses and  realized that I had not eaten. Arizona heat + drinking + no food= A NO GO! After strolling down down Roosevelt looking for my next destination, I spotted the sign for the newest black owned BBQ restaurant, Trap Haus BBQ!

As a southerner, I have earned the right to be picky about my barbeque. With that being said, if you can't deliver on great brisket and amazing BBQ sauce, then we honestly don't have much to talk about.

To my surprise, Trapp Haus 'DELIVERT' on both ends with "The Classic" Sandwich! The brisket melted-in-your-mouth  and the sauce was finger licking good! The owner Phil is a east coast Award Winning BBQ Pitmaster who finally turned his talents into a brick and mortar location. This promising spot serves everything from their Famous Crack Wings to an array of sides like  collard greens- All Southern Girl Approved. I've been there atleast four times since that visit. Each time, a meal worthy of sharing on the 'Gram! 

FYI: From 11am-3pm on Sunday, you can indulge in their Sunday Soul Brunch!  The last Sunday I was there, DJ Biz International was spinning  ALL THE R&B CLASSICS and they had Shrimp and Grits on the menu! 

Third Stop: Bliss Rebar

IG:  @BlissRebar  

901 N 4th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

To keep the theme of "outdoor vibes only" , I ran across what I consider the most central spot off Roosevelt Row-- Bliss Rebar! Although my friends and I  convened here to meet for First Friday shenanigans in the past, today would be my first time trying out one of their tasty concoctions. 

Certainly on a bar crawl, I could not neglect my second best friend, rum, and decided to go to the tropics with the "Let's Have A Tiki" cocktail --- their exceptional version of a Mai Tai!

There's nothing like catching the sunset with a drink that makes you think of the islands. I've since returned to Bliss Rebar and discovered they also make some of the greatest French Toast I've ever eaten -- with pretzel bread! 


FYI: Weekends feature $12 bottles of Champagne to make your own mimosas with your mixer of choice. Share this deal with a friend and your weekend is  LIT! 

Final Stop: Cobra Arcade Bar

801 N 2nd St #100, Phoenix, AZ 85004

How does one end such an epic unplanned crawl?! AT THE ARCADE! Cobra Arcade Bar floods with adult Phoenicians craving a vintage gaming experience featuring all the classics from Pac Man to Dig Dug! Said adults also get to have drinks and a live DJ while showing off their skills from the 90s?! Why didn't I think of this myself--such a genius idea! 

After beating a random guy at The Simpsons, he offered to buy my final  drink. No bar crawl is complete without a beer, so I decided to end the day with a Rekorderlig Wild Berry Cider and it was PHENOMENAL! Not beer, but a great close second! 

Where are those beloved sunglasses that made the previous photos? Welp, I accidently stepped on them during an intense Dance Dance Revolution battle. Although saddened they didn't make the picture due to injury, it was completely worth my random bar crawl experience made from thin air.

FYI:  Ladies play for FREE on Wednesdays! Great for a Wednesday wine down with friends  (or even an inexpensive date idea fellas)!


What are some of your favorite Phoenix bars?

Drop them below and let's find a time to meEt there... long AS YOUR PROMISE TO as CATCH A SMACKDOWN AT cobra afterwards! :)