If you’re looking for a taste of Phoenix’s history and culture, look no further than the Melrose District. Located on 7th Avenue, this district is home to some of the best antique shops in the city as well as a variety of delicious restaurants. Whether you’re spending the day shopping or hopping your way through the Phoenix gay bar scene, in Melrose, you’ll find a place to fit your vibe. Here’s your guide to everything on the Melrose District’s 7th Avenue corridor.
The Melrose District is a neighborhood located in north-central Phoenix. It’s situated along 7th Avenue, roughly between south Camelback Avenue and Indian School Road. Though the boundaries of the district are not hard lines, they’re generally considered to be from south Camelback Avenue to Indian School Road.
The Melrose District in Phoenix gets its name from the historic neighborhood it passes through called Woodlea Melrose. The district was originally named after the many trees in the area. In the 1940s, Andy Womack built houses, calling the subdivision Melrose Manor. Most of the homes in the neighborhood were built from 1929-to 1949. In 1988, the neighborhoods officially combined and, with the City’s approval, became known as Woodlea Melrose.
The district has come a long way since then and is now one of the most popular areas in Phoenix. The Melrose District is home to many shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs. It’s also a great place to people watch.
This trendy Phoenix neighborhood is the perfect place to explore if you’re looking for a hip and unique experience. Bordered by Camelback Avenue and Indian School Road, the Melrose District is home to a variety of businesses and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a new place to eat or just want to check out some of the local shops, the Melrose District is the perfect place to start your exploration of Phoenix.
Throughout the year, the Melrose District plays host to many exciting events. One of the most popular is the annual Melrose Street Fair. This event, organized by the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association, features a variety of vendors, food trucks, and a car show. During the fair, businesses along 7th Avenue open their doors to encourage patrons to browse, eat, and drink. Another highly anticipated event in the district is the Phoenix Pride Festival. This annual celebration of LGBTQ+ persons is hosted at Steele Indian School Park, just east of 7th Avenue. The festival features a variety of fun activities and entertainment that are sure to please all who attend.
Woodlea Melrose is a Historic District since 2011.1
This vibrant and LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhood is a great place to start your exploration of all that this city has to offer. Here you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops that are perfect for anyone looking for a fun time. Check out “Jenny’s” Denny’s, the local late-night spot that has been a refuge for many in the LGBTQ+ community. And don’t miss Boycott Bar, the last lesbian bar in Arizona! Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or just want to explore all that this vibrant neighborhood offers, the Melrose District is sure to please.
Top Spots To Check out in Melrose
The Melrose District in Phoenix is a great place to check out some unique shops, art, dining, and nightlife. This district is known as “The Curve” because of its winding nature, and the “gayborhood” because of its high concentration of LGBTQ+ bars and businesses. If you’re looking for a taste of Phoenix’s pride and midcentury roots, this neighborhood is a must-visit.
Melrose District LGBTQ+ Nightlife
Stacy’s @ Melrose
4343 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
At Stacy’s @ Melrose, you’ll quickly feel like it’s your new home bar – partly because this spot is a routine stop for all segments of the LGBTQ+ community and there are rotating events that cater to each. As the evenings cool off, this dance floor heats up!
4129 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
The Rock is one of Phoenix’s hidden gems. Although it may not look like much from the outside, once you walk through the doors you’ll find a variety of events and activities taking place. From karaoke to drag shows, there’s something for everyone at The Rock. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch Phoenix Coqui parked outside before you head home. their tripleta fries are definitely worth trying!
Open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends. Opens at 2 p.m. on weekdays.
710 W. Montecito Ave., Phoenix
Thunderbird Lounge is a retro-inspired bar with a fun atmosphere and a cool place to hang out. The small indoor bar and large outdoor patio are decorated in a 1970s style, complete with groovy tunes and old-school video games. In addition to drinks, the lounge also offers lawn games and a small dance floor. Whether you’re looking for a casual place to hang out with friends or want to have a backyard bash, Thunderbird Lounge is worth checking out.
Open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day.
Looking for a place to let loose and party? Look no further than Charlie’s Phoenix in the heart of the Melrose District. This popular gay bar boasts an indoor dance floor, a large patio with two outdoor bars, and a slogan that promises “There’s always a party right here.” Whether you’re looking to watch a drag show, sing karaoke, or just dance the night away, Charlie’s is the place for you. And when it comes time for a late-night snack, don’t forget to check out the taco trucks parked outside!
Open afternoons until late every day.
Open 2 p.m. to 4 a.m
Pat O’s Bunkhouse Saloon
4428 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix.
Pat O’s Bunkhouse Saloon has a slightly different vibe than the more upscale Charlie’s. This bar is perfect for casual beer drinkers who also appreciate leather and facial hair. It is situated in a small house on Seventh Avenue, with both indoor and outdoor seating available.
Open early to late every day.
4301 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
If you’re looking for a place to have some fun and meet new people, Boycott Bar is worth checking out. This lesbian-friendly bar is a great place to go for karaoke nights, dance parties, and other events. Plus, they offer Whiskey Wednesdays and other specials that are worth taking advantage of. Offering a variety of events, from themed nights to guest DJs and drag shows, Boycott is a welcoming place for all women. With its close-knit community feel, Boycott is the perfect place to make new friends and enjoy a fun night out.
Open afternoons through late-night daily. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Restaurants and Coffee Shops
4221 N. 7th Ave, Phoenix.
If you’re looking for a delicious and unique breakfast option, head over to Rollover Doughnuts in Savannah. This amazing spot will turn adults into kids in a candy shop, with cases packed full of enormous donuts in all sorts of flavors. You can go classic with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles, or branch out and try one of the more unique options like a donut stuffed with bourbon creme or topped with pistachios or bacon bits. If you’re feeling decadent, go for the dough-cristo sandwich which is deep-fried and served with raspberry jam. And if that’s not enough for you, be sure to check out their hotdog menu which offers some truly unique options.
Open 8 AM-8 PM
Copper Star Coffee
Copper Star Coffee is a welcoming cafe in the Melrose district of Los Angeles, flying rainbow flags to show its support for the LGBTQ community. They offer both drive-thru and dine-in options, with a variety of hot and cold coffee drinks, tea, smoothies, and snacks available. They make their bagels in-house, which can be enjoyed with cream cheese, Nutella, or bacon, eggs, and cheese for a hearty breakfast sandwich. For lunch, they have a variety of options, including a honey goat cheese sandwich served on focaccia and a curry chicken pita.
Open 6 AM-5 PM
4515 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
At Joe’s Diner, you can enjoy a classic American breakfast any day of the week. The diner is well-known for its delicious pancakes, which are perfect for a hearty and satisfying meal. If you’re looking for a filling lunch option, Joe’s also serves burgers and sandwiches until 2 p.m. daily. So whether you’re looking for a morning meal or a midday bite, Joe’s Diner has you covered.
Open for breakfast and lunch every day.
The Refuge Cafe
4727 N. 7th Ave, Phoenix.
The Refuge Cafe is a coffee shop located in central Phoenix that serves coffee for a cause. Established by Catholic Charities Community Services of Arizona, all profits from the cafe go towards programs that support refugees, foster children, veterans, and domestic violence survivors. The cafe offers a selection of traditional coffee drinks along with a few interesting creations. Try The Jam, a frozen blended drink made with peanut butter, banana, Nutella, and espresso, or the Arizona Sunset mocha made with dark chocolate and orange syrup. A small food menu offers bagels, breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and bowls. If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee and want to do some good at the same time, the Refuge Cafe is worth checking out.
Open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays.
The Fry Bread House
4545 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
If you’re looking for a delicious and unique dining experience in Phoenix, head over to Fry Bread House. This cozy restaurant in the Melrose District is known for its fry bread—a simple, deep-fried dough that’s filled with a variety of sweet or savory toppings. The fry bread here is so popular and well-loved that it won James Beard recognition in 2012, making it one of only three Arizona restaurants, and the first Native American restaurant, to win the America’s Classics award. So if you want to taste some truly amazing comfort food, be sure to check out Fry Bread House!
Open 10 AM-7 PM
PHX Burrito House
4140 7th Ave., Phoenix.
PHX Burrito House is a great place to go for lunch, as they have a wide variety of burritos and tacos to choose from. The salsa is also fantastic and worth trying. The atmosphere is fun and colorful, with bright Loteria posters on the walls. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a meal. Menu options include breakfast burritos, classic beef, shrimp, or chicken stuffed versions, quesadillas, and tacos. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to have a delicious meal at PHX Burrito House.
Open 9 AM – 9 PM. Closed on Mondays
702 W. Montecito Ave., Phoenix.
Restaurant Progress is the new hotspot in Phoenix. It was designed and built by chef-owner TJ Culp, and his design taste pairs perfectly with his skills in the kitchen. The seasonal menu is based on whatever Culp and his friends find interesting, so there’s almost always a surprise or two, but never a disappointment. Put that alongside some killer cocktails, and this intimate space is the ideal date-night destination. Bonus points if you go to Thunderbird Lounge next door for a nightcap!
Open 5 PM-10 PM. Closed on Sunday and Monday.
4306 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
If you’re looking for a classic diner experience in the Melrose District, look no further than Melrose Kitchen. This old-school spot serves up classic American comfort foods like burgers, tuna melts, and country-fried steak and eggs, as well as Southwest classics like huevos rancheros, fajitas, and enchiladas. A black and white tile floor and the statue of a plump chef welcoming customers at the entrance give the place a retro feel that’s sure to take you back in time. So whether you’re in the mood for some classic American diner fare or something with a little more of a Southwestern flair, Melrose Kitchen has you covered.
Open for breakfast and lunch daily.
Short Leash Hot Dogs
4221 N. 7th Ave, Phoenix
If you’re looking for a casual spot to enjoy brunch during the day, Short Leash Hot Dogs is the perfect place to go. It’s located in the same spot as Rollover Donuts. However, in the evening, the cafe turns into a neighborhood hangout with a buzzy atmosphere. You’ll find just as many dogs (of the furry kind) as you will people. You can catch a few songs from local singers while sipping on craft beer or a summery cocktail. Pro tip: The swing seats hanging from the covered patio offer the perfect opportunity to feel like a kid again. If you want to order one of the cafe’s creative hot dogs, grab a table. The Bear comes topped with peanut butter, smoked gouda, bacon, barbecue sauce, and crackerjack popcorn, all wrapped in naan bread.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Friday and Saturday. Breakfast and lunch only on Sunday.
4971 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
Belly is a Vietnamese-inspired restaurant on the east corner of the north end of Valentine. The small spot has only a few tables and parking spots, but don’t worry – you can always pull up to the side for some takeout. Belly is a great place for an intimate experience, with dishes like Pho and Banh Mi. The focus on South Asian cuisine makes Belly a unique spot in Valentine, and the perfect place to go for a quick bite. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a romantic dinner, Belly is the perfect spot.
Open for dinner daily.
4130 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
Valentine is a one-of-a-kind restaurant that can’t be pigeonholed into one category. It serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night cocktails, and it’s also part of a furniture store. You’ll find mid-century design aesthetics, delicious food options, and a great atmosphere all in one place. What makes Valentine special is its dinner menu, which features seasonal dishes made with local ingredients that are inspired by the bounty of the Southwest. Some of the most popular items on the menu include elote pasta and crudo served with golden raisins, Churros and Chiltepin Shakerado for brunch, elote pasta for dinner, and cactus ice cream for dessert. If you’re looking for an amazing dining experience, Valentine is worth checking out.
Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late at night. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Industry PHX (permanently closed)
607 W. Osborn Road, Phoenix
At the southern border of the Melrose District lies Industry PHX, a space for comfort food, cocktails, and good company. This newcomer offers a variety of local beers, craft cocktails, and tasty eats. Whether you’re looking to catch the game on one of their many TVs or take in some drag entertainment, Industry PHX has something for everyone. And don’t forget to check out the local artwork and pinball machines while you’re there!
Open 11 a.m. to midnight
4447 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix
If you’re looking for some delicious and authentic Thai food, look no further than Thai Long-an. While the building that houses the restaurant may look a little run-down, the warm twinkle lights strung around the small patio are sure to draw you in. Throughout much of the pandemic, the restaurant has switched to takeout-only, but they’re experts at packing their noodles and curries into Styrofoam containers. Be sure to try the creamy coconut yellow curry, and don’t skip out on the sticky rice with mango for dessert. You won’t be disappointed!
Lunch and dinner daily.
Dark Hall Coffee
3343 N. Seventh Ave., Unit 3, Phoenix
Dark Hall Coffee is a unique vegan-goth coffee house mashup that has become a cult classic since opening in 2018. The espresso is amazing, but the real stars of the show are the dairy-free treats. The oat, cashew, and “blend no 3” milk in a witch latte (spicy mocha, charcoal, cayenne, and ghost pepper) are all must-tries. If you’re looking for a unique coffee experience, Dark Hall is the place to go.
Open 6 AM-2 PM
4349 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
If you live in one of the neighborhoods surrounding the Melrose District, trips to Sunrise Market seem to somehow become part of life. The tiny grocery store and deli are stocked with a large selection of beer and wine and seem to miraculously have whatever other provisions you may need, like the tortillas you forgot for Taco Tuesday or a pint of ice cream to pair with your bottle of local Arizona wine plucked from the shelves. Need salsa? Maybe lime juice? How about toilet paper? Sunrise Market has you covered. What’s even more impressive than the comprehensive stock is the quality of said items. The produce is fresh, the meat is high-quality, and (most importantly) the prices are unbeatable. Whether you’re picking up a quick snack or doing a full grocery run, Sunrise Market is the place to go.
Open 8 AM-10 PM
Highland Food Hub
720 W. Highland Ave., Phoenix.
The Highland Food Hub is a relatively unknown restaurant that popped up quietly during the pandemic. It’s a ghost kitchen, meaning that the building is home to many individual food businesses that serve customers through delivery apps like Grubhub and Uber Eats. Restaurants currently operating out of the hub include breakfast joint Bev’s Bistro and Philly Boys Cheesesteaks, among others. The Highland Food Hub is a great option for those looking for a quick, easy meal. The food is delicious and the service is efficient. If you’re in the area, definitely check it out!
Each restaurant within the hub has individual hours.
Filiberto’s Mexican Food
4201 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
If you’re looking for a great place to get Mexican food in the early hours of the morning, Filiberto’s is a great option. The food might not be as good during the day, but once the moon is up and the drinks are down, a taco or two from this standby starts to look mighty tasty.
Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night at every day.
Progress Wine (before The Montecito Bottle Shop)
704 W. Montecito Ave., Phoenix.
The Montecito Bottle Shop is a great place to find wine, whether you’re looking for something specific or just want to explore. They have an impressive selection, and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful if you need help finding something. They have a great variety of wines, from acidic and bright citrus notes to deep, earthy reds, and they also carry local beers and unique ciders. So whether you’re looking for something for your whole party or just want a bottle for yourself, The Montecito Bottle Shop is the place to go.
Open 12-8 PM. Mondays closed.
4402 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix.
Diamond’s Chinese is a traditional Cantonese-American spot that looks like it’s closed from the outside. But fear not, this spot is very much open. You can enjoy dinner in the no-frills dining room or better yet, order a takeout feast of potstickers, orange chicken, and shrimp fried rice to munch on from the comfort of your home.
Open for lunch and dinner daily, closed Tuesdays.
Modern on Melrose
700 W. Campbell Ave. #10, Phoenix
At Modern on Melrose, you’ll find fresh new pieces in midcentury modern furniture, art, lighting, and accessories every day. And if you’re looking for something special, be sure to check out the vintage lettering collection in the back! The unique monogram photo op is a must-see.
801 N 2nd St #104, Phoenix
If you’re looking for something unique to wear, Antique Sugar is the place to go. They have a vast collection of fashion from the 1920s through the 1980s. You can find everything from formal to casual to costume at this shop. Co-owner Anna Marie Sanchez says that the ’60s are big right now because of Mad Men and the 1920s are huge because of Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. So whether you’re looking for an outfit for a themed party or just something different to wear, Antique Sugar is definitely worth checking out.
4303 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
Retro Ranch is one of our favorite stores for finding eclectic and vintage pieces for my home. The furniture, housewares, apparel, and accessories are always changing and feature unique items that you won’t find at other stores. The window displays are always interesting and give you a taste of what’s to come inside. If you’re looking for something different, Retro Ranch is the place to shop.
Figs Home & Garden
4501 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
Figs Home & Garden is a furniture and global import store that offers endless treasures of all kinds. The store features a wide variety of furniture, home decor, and global import items. Customers can find tchotchkes, carry-on-sized items, and other unique treasures at this store.
4648 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
Welcome to Sweet Salvage, an antique showroom that is filled with reclaimed furniture, artwork, and other miscellaneous items. The great thing about this store is that it is open four days a month, so you have to be patient, but it is definitely worth the wait! They have a great variety of items, and you can find something for everyone here.
The Grand Canalscape is a beautiful part of Phoenix that has been transformed by the PHX Mural Fest 2021. Dozens of artists have left their mark on the waterway between 3rd and 15th Ave., creating a mosaic of sustainability-themed murals. Stroll along and take in the beauty of these murals, and you’ll see just how talented these artists are.
Enter off Seventh Avenue, between Joe’s Diner and Artistic Arborist.
Stacy’s @ Melrose
4343 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
The mural wall at Stacy’s @ Melrose is a great spot to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community. The wall features a vibrant and colorful desert landscape, with the largest set of wings in town. The wings are rainbow-colored, making them highly visible from the street. You might miss the mural wall if you’re approaching Stacy’s from the south, but it’s worth seeking out.
Phoenix’s Melrose District was selected as the site for one of Phoenix’s two rainbow crosswalks, due to its diversity, openness, and welcoming vibe. The rainbow crosswalks, which were unveiled in July 2018, serve as a bright and lasting symbol of the LGBTQ presence in the city and their contributions to the community as a whole.
Seventh Avenue, just north of Glenrosa Avenue.
Joe’s Diner is located next to the Grand Canalscape and recently received a new coat of paint. The eastern portion of the diner, by Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, is a tribute to the Hohokam’s design and engineering that resulted in the 1,000-mile, hand-dug canal system. The western portion of the diner (pictured above), by Pablo Luna, is a nod to the history, uniqueness, and character of Melrose architecture and features all the neighborhood’s most recognizable landmarks.
Things To Do
M7 Street Fair
The M7 Street Fair is a popular event that takes place on the first Saturday of March. The Seventh Avenue Merchants Association closes this stretch of Seventh Avenue to traffic and invites the community out to explore the businesses that call this district home. Each year, the event grows in size and popularity, so expect to find a wide variety of vendors, artisans, food trucks, beer gardens, family activities, live music, Chester’s Classic Car Show, and more.
The Desert Bloom Tattoo & Salon
4206 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
If you’re looking for a unique tattoo and hair salon in Phoenix, look no further than the Desert Bloom Tattoo & Salon. Indigenous-owned and operated, this studio is an almost hidden gem that celebrates many forms of creative expression. Missy Mahan, Marcello Stefanik, Tone Chee, and Tonya Dunn are all talented artists who will work their magic on your living canvas. While there are some items on display and available for purchase, appointments are required for tattoos and hair services. So if you’re looking for something truly special, be sure to check out the Desert Bloom Tattoo & Salon.
Exposed Studio & Gallery
4225 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
Exposed Studio & Gallery is a gay-owned and operated art space that has been in operation since 2004. It celebrates all forms of art across many mediums, including live body painting, and hosts rotating collections as well as pop-up events. Pieces come in all sizes, so you’re welcome to browse and shop here. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Exposed is a great place to find unique pieces for your home or office.
Where To Stay
Rise Uptown (formerly Arrive)
400 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
If you’re looking for a place to stay near Melrose District, look no further than Rise Uptown. It is the only accommodation option close by. This new adaptive reuse development in the uptown area is just north of the Melrose District and celebrated its grand opening on Labor Day weekend in 2020. As part of the $20 million project, Venue Projects and Vintage Partners teamed up to restore twin midcentury modern towers. The property features a pool bar helmed by Ross Simon, the local cocktail guru behind globally awarded cocktail bars Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour and Little Rituals. Guests are invited to enjoy poolside craft cocktails at the swim-up bar, fittingly named Lylo—a British colloquialism for a pool float. Additionally, Don Woods’ Say When, the hotel’s 1,100 square-foot penthouse cocktail lounge, serves up retro-modern cocktails, throwback bar bites, and 270-degree city views from the 2,000 square-foot view deck. So whether you’re looking for a place to stay in Phoenix or just wanting to enjoy some amazing cocktails, Rise Uptown is the place for you.
If you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience in the heart of Phoenix, be sure to check out the Melrose District. Whether you’re shopping for one-of-a-kind art pieces, grabbing a bite at one of the district’s many restaurants, or just taking in the sights, there is something for everyone in this vibrant neighborhood. And don’t forget to stop by Exposed Studio & Gallery while you’re there!