by TRAVIS BRAASCH
Although Fourth Avenue may be considered the hub of nightlife in Tucson, the Golden Nugget offers a break from the impossible parking and overpriced drinks. With the vibe of a lively neighborhood hangout, the Golden Nugget is not just another dive bar.
Located at 2617 N First Ave., the Golden Nugget would be easy to miss if not for the bright colorful sign burning the words “World Famous Golden Nugget” into the dark. Despite the modest white exterior, it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
Upon entering the Golden Nugget, you will immediately notice the walls are completely covered in neon signs. You get that laid back atmosphere that comes with many dive bars but this place is much cleaner than other dive bars in town.
With four pool tables, four large television sets, a jukebox, a shuffleboard and even a lottery ticket machine, there is something for just about everyone.
If you’re a music lover, the Golden Nugget has a diverse jukebox holding any song you can think of. On top of the great music choices, Wednesdays and Sundays are karaoke night, guaranteeing a good night out even if you are just there to observe the diverse groups of patrons.
From college kids in red, white and blue, the staple University of Arizona colors, to men decked out in boots, cowboy hats and big belt buckles singing along to Johnny Cash tunes. It’s obvious everyone’s there to have a good time.
From spirits to pitchers of beer, the Golden Nugget can serve up something to quench your thirst during these stifling hot months.
There’s a great selection of draft beers on hand, such as Shock Top and Dragoon IPA, as well as a variety of domestic and imported bottled beer and a vast selection of liquor.
Not only is the alcohol stronger and cheaper than most bars you would find downtown, the bartenders are wonderfully friendly. They are always willing to walk you through the selection without making you feel foolish on your first visit. It’s all part of the small-time, homey feel that’s derivative of dive bars.
On karaoke nights, despite the large crowds of fun patrons, the bartender Holly was sprinting around the bar, making sure no glass remained empty for more than a minute.
When karaoke starts you really see how diverse the crowd is. From an older man wearing a newsboys cap and overalls, belting out Hank Williams “Cold, Cold Heart”, to a college kid in a beanie and UA shirt singing “Badfish” by Sublime, you never know what’s next.
The Golden Nugget feels much more like a community than a bar normally does. All the different people of varying ages mixing together brings a sense of togetherness. There is a much more social vibe at the Golden Nugget than you find at some other bars. The patrons intermingle like old school friends.
Next time you are looking for a place to unwind and have some fun, the Golden Nugget will liven up your night and keep you coming back.
They are open Monday-Saturday 9- 3 a.m. and Sunday 10-3 a.m.
For more information, visit goldennuggettucson.com.