At the Big Bang ($3 cover Sun-Thu, $6 cover Fri-Sat; 501 S. Mill Ave., Ste. B-101; 480/557-5595), the dueling pianists know how to warm up a crowd. Five minutes into our visit, we women find ourselves in a sing-off against the men, with volume being the criterion for which sex earns a shot on the house. The song is Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling," and the men definitely win.
The next stop is Rúla Búla Irish Pub and Restaurant ($2 cover Fri-Sat; 401 S. Mill; 480/ 929-9500), just up the street. Along with a cozy interior, Rúla Búla has Smithwick's―a Guinness-brewed ale that's rarely found in Arizona―as well as some of the city's best bands. "I've been missing out all this time," Amanda sighs as we watch the Keltic Cowboys work their bagpipes, bass, and banjo. "I've never been out in Tempe."