Palm Springs and the Desert Resorts

Desert nightlife is concentrated and abundant in Palm Springs, where there are many straight and gay bars and clubs, as well as hotel bars and lively pool parties. Arts festivals occur on a regular basis, especially in winter and spring. Palm Springs Life magazine (www.palmspringslife.com), available at hotels and visitor centers, has nightlife listings, as does the Desert Sun newspaper (www.mydesert.com).

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  • 1. Bootlegger Tiki

    This uptown drinking den picks up where tiki bar founding father Don the Beachcomber left off—first, by occupying its former space where Frank Sinatra guzzled navy grog by the quart and second, by delivering both classic cocktails like zombies and mai tais and fruit-forward, rum-heavy originals decorated with umbrellas, chunks of honeycomb, and flamingos. It's dark, full of kitsch (it's hard not to love the pufferfish lights), and has both late-afternoon and last-call happy hours daily. 

    1101 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-318–4154
  • 2. Pappy + Harriet's Pioneertown Palace

    Smack in the middle of a Wild West main street movie set built in the 1940s, this haute–honky tonk saloon serves stiff drinks and hosts live music on two stages: one inside and intimate, the other out under the stars. Given that it's on the small side and in the middle of nowhere, you might be surprised at the caliber of talent it books—Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Orville Peck, Lizzo, and Patti Smith have all made the pilgrimage—and the number of patrons it packs in on any given night. It also hosts surprise, drop-in performers, especially during the Coachella music festival. Bring your dancing shoes and come hungry, as the restaurant here dishes up open-fire, Santa Maria–style barbecue that's worth the inevitable wait for a table (reservations aren't accepted).

    53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, California, 92268, USA
    760-228–2222

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Wed.
  • 3. The Village

    Going strong since 1995, with themed happenings and live entertainment or DJs most nights, this popular sports bar/nightclub/restaurant caters to a young crowd and visiting bachelor/bachelorette posses who want to dress sexy, drink seriously (and cheaply during happy hour), and play hard.

    266 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-323–3265
  • 4. Toucans Tiki Lounge

    A welcoming place with botanical prints, vibrant colors, carved totems, and globe pendants, Toucans is the longtime go-to for those who love drag queens, cabaret, and festive drinks.

    2100 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-416–7584

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Wed.
  • 5. Ace Hotel and Swim Club

    Events are held at the hotel's bar, pool, or restaurant nearly every night, including film screenings, full moon parties, concerts, DJ sets, and trivia/bingo nights. Many are free, most are casual, and some are even family-friendly.

    701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92264, USA
    767600-325–9900
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  • 6. Agua Caliente Casino & The Show Theater

    In addition to the expansive floor filled with all kinds of gambling options (e.g., slot machines, table games, a poker room), the casino/resort also has multiple places to wet your whistle, shake your (fingers-crossed) moneymaker, and see DJs or local acts. The Show, the resort's prized theater where none of the 2,101 seats are more than 125 feet from the stage, also books a full calendar of concerts by household names like Dolly Parton and Sting, as well as fashion shows and sporting events like boxing matches.

    32--250 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage, California, 92270, USA
    800-514–3849
  • 7. AWE Bar

    Not everyone who feels like having a drink and rocking out can fit into Pappy + Harriet's, so this live-music venue with two bars, an outdoor patio, and a restaurant slinging burgers and serving up tacos and chips with guacamole is a welcome addition to the valley's nightlife scene. It's set in a renovated historical Old Town building, and its wave-shape ceiling, wood-strip walls, and cork-backed flooring make for warm, open acoustics.

    56193 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Yucca Valley, California, 92284, USA
    760-853–0090

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 8. Chill Bar Palm Springs

    Dance, drink, drag, and dine at this nightclub in a strip mall in the heart of the gay-centric Arenas Road district. By day, it's quite civilized. Socialize on the patio, share a watermelon feta salad, and play games. When the sun goes down, it's time to get down on the large dance floor to the hypnotic electronic beats of live spinners, enjoy drag performers, or marvel at the go-go dancers. Alcohol flows all day, every day no matter the theme.

    217 E. Arenas Rd., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-676--9493
  • 9. Hunters

    A young energetic gay and straight crowd comes to this club-scene mainstay for bar grub, drag bingo, bottle service, and Speedo-sporting studs.

    302 E. Arenas Rd., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-323–0700
  • 10. Tailor Shop

    Uptown and next door to Bootleggers, this moody, sophisticated establishment was opened in late 2021 by the folks behind Sandfish—which accounts for the extensive collection of high-end whiskies and the Japanese-leaning snacks and sushi menu—to service serious cocktail connoisseurs. It has a New York air, with tufted banquettes, dim lights, leather-covered menus, a wraparound marble bar, and waxed-canvas-apron-clad bartenders who sometimes roll over the bar cart to muddle and shake in your personal space.

    140 W. Via Lola, Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
  • 11. Tonga Hut

    The younger sibling of L.A.'s oldest still-operating tiki bar (opened in 1958 in North Hollywood) transports guests from Palm Springs to Polynesia with groovy tunes, pupu platters, and umbrella drinks. Most of drinks, both classic and original, are powered by rum, but gin hounds, rye or dies, and vodka lovers have a few options, too. The bar is on the second floor of a building in the thick of downtown, so try to nab a table on the lanai to watch the action from above. Private parties can reserve a shagadelic room hidden behind a phone booth.

    254 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-322–4449

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 12. Draughtsman

    Closed Permanently

    In the Uptown Design District and part of the ARRIVE hotel, this upscale pub focuses on Palm Springs and SoCal craft beers, classic cocktails, and modern comfort food, as well as classics like chicken potpie and short rib poutine. Hang out in the contemporary indoor space with soaring ceilings and watch sports, or chill on the patio where you can play cornhole or foosball.

    1501 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-507–1644
  • 13. Bar

    Closed Permanently

    The mural-covered exterior of Bar makes it clear that this hot spot caters to the L.A. crowd. Pulled-pork sandwiches and flatbreads pair well with whiskey drinks and artisan-beer cocktails such as gin, lemon, honey, and pale ale. DJs spin music throughout the week. On most nights there's no cover charge.

    340 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-537–7337
  • 14. Confessions

    Closed Permanently

    Confessions is a multitier dance club catering to a mixed gay clientele.

    611 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92264, USA
    760-416–0950
  • 15. Zelda's Nightclub

    Closed Permanently

    At this Palm Springs institution, the high-energy DJs, dancing, and drinking are still going strong and the dance floor is still thumping with Latin, hip-hop, and sounds from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Zelda's offers bottle service in the VIP Sky Box.

    611 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, California, 92262, USA
    760-325–2375

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

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