Back in the days when Prescott was the territorial capital and a booming mining town, it supported dozens of rowdy saloons, most of which were concentrated along Montezuma Street on the west side of Courthouse Plaza. This section of town was known as Whiskey Row, and legend has it there was a tunnel from the courthouse to one of the saloons so lawmakers wouldn't have to be seen ducking into the saloons during regular business hours. On July 14, 1900, a fire consumed most of Whiskey Row. However, concerned cowboys and miners managed to drag the tremendously heavy bar of the Palace saloon across the street before it was damaged.
Today, Whiskey Row is no longer the sort of place where respectable women shouldn't be seen, although it does still have a few noisy saloons with genuine Wild West flavor. Most of them feature live country music on weekends and are the dark, dank sorts of places that provide solace to a cowboy (or a construction worker) after a long day's work. However, within a few blocks of Whiskey Row, you can hear country, folk, jazz, and rock at a surprisingly diverse assortment of bars, restaurants, and clubs. In fact, Prescott has one of the densest concentrations of live-music clubs in the state.
To see what this street's saloons looked like back in the old days, drop by the Palace, 120 S. Montezuma St. (tel. 928/541-1996; www.historicpalace.com), which still has a classic bar up front. These days, the Palace is more of a restaurant than a saloon, but there's live music on the weekends. A couple of times a month, there are also dinner-theater performances. Call to find out if anything is happening while you're in town.
If you want to drink where the ranchers drink and not where the hired hands carouse, head upstairs to the Jersey Lilly Saloon, 116 S. Montezuma St. (tel. 928/541-7854; www.jerseylillyprescott.com), which attracts a more well-heeled clientele than the street-level saloons. On weekends, there is live music in a wide range of styles. Just around the corner from the Palace and the Jersey Lilly is the Prescott Brewing Company, 130 W. Gurley St. (tel. 928/771-2795; www.prescottbrewingcompany.com), which is today's answer to the saloons of yore, brewing and serving its own tasty microbrews. A block away you'll find the Raven Café, 142 N. Cortez St. (tel. 928/717-0009; www.ravencafe.com), which is the most artsy and eclectic nightlife venue in town. Not only does the Raven have the best beer list in Prescott (with an emphasis on Belgian beers and American microbrews), but the entertainment lineup ranges from Monday-night movies to live jazz and bluegrass.
The Prescott Fine Arts Association, 208 N. Marina St. (tel. 928/445-3286; www.pfaa.net), sponsors plays, music performances, children's theater, and art exhibits. The association's main building, a former church built in 1899, is on the National Register of Historic Places. A block away, you'll find the Elks Opera House, 117 E. Gurley St. (tel. 928/777-1367; www.elksoperahouse.com), a renovated theater that was built in 1905. Yavapai College Performance Hall (tel. 877/928-4253 or 928/776-2000; www.yc.edu/content/communityevents) also stages a wide range of shows. And check the schedule at the Sharlot Hall Museum's Blue Rose Theater (tel. 928/445-3122; www.sharlot.org). Also, each year in early December, Prescott stages the Acker Musical Showcase (www.ackershowcase.com), a citywide showcase of local talent. As many as 80 Prescott businesses host musical groups on the night of the event.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.