Bars in Rio Rico

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Dancing flames erupt from teppan grills, illuminating the captivated faces of diners seated around the tabletop grill. The roaring fires are tamed by Sakura's highly skilled chefs, who playfully flip spatulas in the air before sizzling up plump morsels of teppanyaki steak, chicken, and seafood. Behind the sushi bar, chefs fold fresh fish into both raw and cooked specialty rolls, which reporters from Tucson Weekly lauded as "some of the most delicious seaweed, sweet vinegar rice and raw fish concoctions imaginable."

Kimono-clad waitresses glide through the lively dining rooms, bearing plates of sushi, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and colorful specialty cocktails. In the sports bar, the walls grasp massive flat screens and hundreds of pictures of the owner posing with local celebrities—from weather girls to the neighborhood grocery’s bag boy of the month. Towering chrome heaters warm the tabletops of the expansive outdoor patio, where colorful lights and hanging flags set the stage for live music performances each night.

6534 E Tanque Verde Rd
Tucson,
AZ
US

The Empire Pizza & Pub staff assembles a mix and match of 23 ingredients?including barbecue sauce and genoa salami?atop 13 New York-style pizzas. Their efforts helped earn the eatery a Best Pizza nod in 2011 by Metromix. They name their specialty pies after notable places in New York, such as Soho?s white pizza with tomatoes, basil, and parmesan and the Jackson Heights slathered in barbecue sauce and sprinkled with chicken, green pepper, and onion. By preparing the pies, subs, and salads for carry-out, delivery, or serving them at the restaurant as late as 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday (11 p.m. other days) and as early as 835 B.C.E., the staff accommodates diners of many tastes and schedules.

The arena in which the team?s servers operate features exposed-brick walls lining the narrow layout. A bar at the back pairs libations with pizzas, while vintage lights illuminate the copper ceiling.

137 E Congress St
Tucson,
AZ
US

By hosting haunted houses and spooky events, The Slaughterhouse has raised more than $40,000 for organizations such as the American Diabetes Association. Visitors interested in befriending the venue?s mischievous specters can embark on ghost tours, which explore the premise?s haunted depths. Alternatively, on-the-go partiers can select from a rental fleet of trailers packed with haunted-house-style frights or sound-system-equipped hearses, ideal for proving coolness to judgmental teenage vampires.

1102 W Grant Rd.
Tucson,
AZ
US

Led by prolific and award-winning chef Janos Wilder, J BAR's culinary team blends together the tasty traditions of Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean to fill their menu with innovative food preparations. Diners can safely remove protective finger helmets when sharing salvers of crispy calamari served with roasted sweet potatoes and a ginger barbecue sauce ($8). Teeth taste the tenderness of the bistro's grilled filet of beef, which awakens palates to the flavors of mushroom chilaquiles, calabacitas con queso, basil chimichurri, and grilled onions ($18). Cranberry habanero chutney cascades over helpings of jerked pork ($15.50), while toasted buns ensconce 9 ounces of ground sirloin with foie gras, chilies, and cured bacon before emerging from kitchens alongside a heap of garlic fries perfect for cross-stitching into a bib ($13). When possible, J BAR crafts meals using fresh ingredients from local gardeners.

3770 E Sunrise Dr
Tucson,
AZ
US

Café Jasper was reviewed by Tuscon Weekly. While some customers are mixed on service, reviewers praise the café's brunch and say the food is fresh. TripAdvisors give it an average of 3.5 owl eyes and eight Yelpers give it a 3.5-star average.

6370 N Campbell Ave
Tucson,
AZ
US

Reviving jaded posses of Tucson tongues with its traditional cuisine, La Fuente Restaurant is a Southwestern outpost for friendly service and live-strummed dinner music. The vast menu offers shareable starters such as the sour cream-flanked cheese quesadillas ($8.99), as well as hearty specialties like the mole poblano, a chicken breast simmered in the semisweet chocolate-chili sauce that cowboys once used primarily as mustache wax ($16.99). Dinner combos eliminate the burden of choice and are served in full-flavored configurations like beef taco, beef tamale, and cheese enchilada ($11.99), or a small eatable army of beef or chicken gorditas ($11.99). Meat-free options abound for green-mouthed plantavores and include a veggie burrito ($12.99) and spinach enchiladas ($11.99 for two).

1749 N Oracle Rd
Tucson,
AZ
US