Late-night Dining

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Carlsbad Tavern
3313 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale
480-970-8164

Delux
3146 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
602-522-288

Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
7000 E. Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale

Decorated with license plates, Christmas tree lights and hanging bats (an allusion to New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns), this funky neighborhood hangout — which specializes in spicy New Mexican food and Southwest Cuisine — has been offering late-night food for years now. In fact, employees from other restaurants often drop by for a nightcap and a bite to eat. The late-night menu offers inexpensive snacks and full-blown meals, including tortilla soup, pozole, green chile stew, tequila-marinated grilled shrimp with orange-cilantro pesto, brochettes with three dipping sauces and yummy blue corn enchiladas (one filled with shrimp, the other with chicken). If your stomach can take the heat, try the signature carne adovada or the habanero burger, but don't expect to sleep any time soon. $-$$

At lunch and dinner time, Delux draws a variety of customers — business people, tennis-playing housewives, college students, tourists and retirees — all there for the great burgers and premium beer. But as night turns to late-night, the crowd gets younger, the noise level more deafening. By 11:30, there's often a wait. And why not? This is THE place to watch pretty people and imagine that Phoenix has a big city vibe after all. Although the menu offers a few interesting salads, panini and a fine fish sandwich, it's the burgers everyone craves —either the classic or the Delux (topped with Maytag blue, applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onion and Gruyere. $

If you're dressed up (maybe you've been to a play or a concert), and you're hungry for a bit more sophistication, stylish Tapino is the perfect option. The upscale ambience is soothing, the wine list is terrific and the globally-inspired small plates seem even more exotic at midnight, considering that your other options probably include Jack-in-the-Box. Here, you might order French cheeses, warmed olives (more yummy than you can imagine), duck confit tostadas with huitlacoche or kurobuta pork belly with African BBQ sauce. Some times you and three other couples might have the place to yourselves; other times, the bar is crowded and lively. Either way, it's the city's best option for upscale late-night dining. $-$$$