Sazerac PHX is a really cool cocktail/cigar bar. Growing up as a Phoenix native, I always enjoy seeing owners come in and resurrect some of these old buildings. This one was designed with a 30’s speakeasy vibe to it with a cool dim-lighted interior and an outdoor patio area. Inside is a beautiful long red oak bar and an old school black piano for live music. Outside is spacious and has a vacancy sign that came from Sheriff Joe’s old tent city days. They serve craft cocktails and craft beer and have friendly helpful bartenders. My first visit here was a Mezcal tasting they were hosting after a showing of a Mezcal documentary over at FilmBar. Some popular drinks include Trade Secrets, Side Bar, Milli Vanilli and their house Sazerac. I ordered the Smokin’ Berries to keep with the Mezcal theme and enjoyed the smoky liquor with the blackberries. This is a great place if you really want a relaxing evening with a nice cocktail and some live music.
While attending a Pre Super Bowl party at Helio Basin, we were served up drinks from Pure Perú. Pure Perú is a family owned business that imports pisco (a Peruvian colored brandy) from Peru to the U.S. These drinks were amazing! I got to say that Pisco is really crisp and smooth. I tried their Peruvian Mule (recipe below) and loved it! I’m always about culture and it was great getting a little taste of Peruvian culture. I love that they are local and that you can buy their bottles at local liquid stores and places like Total Wine & More. I recommend you give them a try.
Helio Basin Brewing has become one of my favorite local breweries. Their slogan is Quality Crafted in Phx. They took residence in an old pool hall that I used to hang out at in Arcadia. Helio Basin is founded by Mike Conley and brewmaster Dustin Hazer. Chef Tamara Stanger creates the amazing food that is served here. It’s the perfect pairing of top quality brews with simple but innovating food. Many of the dishes here have some sort of representation of Arizona in it. For beers, their IPA and Blackberry Wheat are the big sellers. I think my favorite thing about this place is the sense of community they have created here. They have a few large tables for large parties and have the ability to open up the patio for outdoor events. From talking to many guests that I sit next to, Helio Basin had become a popular neighborhood favorite. I came here for their one year anniversary party with a buddy and my son. I ordered a beer flight got a nice variety of beers as my selection. The Robust Porter is one of my favorites. Chef Tamara put together some delicious roasted pig tacos with banana cornbread and Sonoran rice. We had a great time and enjoyed our beers and food. Hello Basin is a great addition to the Arcadia food scene and definitely check out their great happy hour and Taco Tuesdays!
I came here for a Local First AZ promoted dinner with the brew masters. I was surprised Helio Basin is taking residence in an old pool hall I used to hang and drink cheap bad beer at. It’s definitely great to see an upgrade in the beer being served at this location – lol. I had blast hearing the stories from the brew masters of how this place came about and how they make their beer. You can tell these guys know their stuff and are very passionate about serving a good beer. In fact their slogan is “Quality Crafted in Phx”. Not only do they serve good beer, but the food is phenomenon. Chef Tamara Stanger just recently won the Devoured Culinary Classic excellence award for her smoked bison taquito. About thirty of us were served a four course dinner with a beer paired with each dish. Their IPA and Blackberry Wheat are the big sellers. Both were very clean, crisp and delicious. But I think the Robust Porter was my favorite. It’s not too heavy and full of flavor (a nice blend of chocolate, caramel and coffee). My favorite courses were the Palo Verde Torte and the Blueberry Tamarind Pudding. Each dish was beautifully presented and had some sort of representation of Arizona in it. Hello Basin is a great addition to the Arcadia food scene and worth another stop. They have a great happy hour and I hear Taco Tuesdays is a must. Check them out!
For St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to run a Kilt Run. I have been on this kick to start running again and my Uncle Joel told me about this one. This event is part of the Kiss Me I’m Irish run events that go on all weekend to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. The Kilt Run supports the The American Cancer SocietyRelay for Life and the Kiss Me I’m Irish Run supports the Prostate On Site Project. This was the 1st annual Kilt Run for these guys. It’s a 1K family fun run and it took place on the plaza of Westgate Entertainment District. You get a kilt, a finisher’s medal and a beer at the nearby McFadden’s after you finish the run. I was excited to get my first ever medal in a run event. Before the run, I fueled up by making a Guinness Shepherd’s Pie at home earlier in the day. Afterwards, I met up with my uncle and his girlfriend at McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon for a beer. The place was crazy crowded but still fun to be around everyone having a good time. I had a good time for my first run of the year and hope to keep it going.
I grew up in Tempe and remember when Islands was at this location and then it sat empty for some time after it closed. But is looks like Tempe finally found a winner in Pedal Haus. It is a locally owned brewpub that features handcrafted European-style beers along with a Belgian-American gastropub menu. They opened in 2015 and just recently went through a renovation. They have some pretty creative dishes like brisket argue pasta, lobster mac & cheese, tempura-fried cheese curds and moules frites. You can’t miss this place because it is huge. They have three bar areas with an enormous patio (with cornhole) and beer garden. I was first introduced to Pedal Haus on a food tour of Tempe last year and happy to finally make a return visit.
I started my day off with the Bavarian pretzel which comes with sides of beer cheese, stone-ground mustard and a maple butter. The pretzels are shaped liked a baguette and come served warm and soft. The maple butter was a pleasant surprise. Then I got the Green Chili Bacon Burger which is a pretty good-sized burger loaded with all types of flavor. I’m an ale guy and enjoyed their amber ale for my beer choice. One fun fact that I found interesting is that they recycle heat in the brewing process. The steam (which is typically lost) is distributed to a hot water tank that warms up the next batch. They have a killer happy hour that offers reduced prices on their appetizers and beer. Like many of the new breweries opening up, they are pet friendly, so feel free to bring your dog.
Well … my rookie year of being a Yelp Elite is officially behind me. This event was a great way to kick off the new year for all of us Yelpers that got badges for 2017. This was also my first time checking out Bevvy and they did a great job of hosting us. I grew up in Scottsdale and can’t believe how much this area has changed over the years. Bevvy is in the heart of the downtown area. They are a neighborhood gastropub run by Evening Entertainment Group (RnR, HiFi Kitchen + Cocktails) and one of the only licensed off-track horse racing betting pubs in AZ. I really enjoyed their spacious patio area, leather booths, wood-paneled walls and the variety of TV screens and yard games throughout the bar. My only knock is that they are the headquarters for the New England Patriots during football season. I attended quite a few Yelp events last year and made a lot of new friends. So this event for me was about getting reacquainted with everyone and congratulating them on their 2017 badges. It was nice to see most of my Yelp family all under the same roof. They had Yelp backdrops for us to take photos in front of and Yelp Geofilters for us to post on Snapchat. Props to the photo booth guy for killin’ it as always, to Chandon for the champagne, to Bevvy for hosting and providing bacon popcorn and of course to our awesome Yelp staff for the fun evening out!
Scottsdale Beer Company uses a custom 10 bbl brewing system to brew their beer. They prioritize freshness and craftsmanship and are inspired by the work of beer masters from past generations. The head brewmaster is an Arizona native and has been making beer for over twenty years. I tried the East End Amber and found it very tasty and delicious. The Chicken Molé Tostadas were recommended by my server and I enjoyed every bite. The tostadas are made of beer brined chicken thighs braised in red molé sauce, served over refried beans and topped with cheese curds, jalapeño crema, cilantro, cabbage, radish, lime-pickled onions, and apples. I’m really enjoying all the craft breweries that are popping up everywhere in the Valley. This place was a pleasant surprise and added to my dinner and play evening out.
One of my favorite movies growing up was Tron. It came out in 1982 and starred Jeff Bridges. It has developed into a cult film over the past couple decades. When I was a kid we used to play Tron games by using frisbees as our identity discs. I loved the arcade game too with its cool light-up blue joystick. Back in the day, Disneyland had a ride called the Peoplemover that took you through the park and through the World of Tron. My favorite scenes in the movie were always the lightcycles ones. In 2010, Disney released a sequel to Tron called Tron: Legacy. This movie brought back all the fond memories I had as child. Below are the trailers to the movie.
Tron Legacy Trailer #1
Tron Legacy Trailer #2
Disneyland’s Peoplemover ride through the World of Tron
I wrote in an earlier post about Cobra Arcade Bar. I always thought it would be cool to own an arcade like Flynn did in the Tron movie. Cobra Arcade Bar has brought all that nostalgia back to me by bringing back these classic arcade games. Tonight Cobra partnered with FilmBar for a Tron theme night. They showed the original 1982 movie over at FilmBar and then had a themed party afterwards next door at Cobra. I was totally stoked about this night when I heard about it. They had exclusive drinks just for the night and the staff dressed in Tron gear. I ordered a blue drink called Quorra’s Revenge that was really good. A Daft Punk tribute band called One More Time were the DJs for the night. They even had the classic Tron arcade game on hand to play. I of course had to wear my Flynn Lives t-shirt to get into the spirit of things. I had a blast and hope they do more theme nights like this.
Classic Tron Game
Cobra Arcade Bar
Hanging with a Tron girl
One More Time
One More Time
Jeff Bridges in the original Tron movie
Shanghai Disney Resort recently opened a Tron ride. Bummer they don’t have it here at the U.S. resorts. But it looks fun!
I used to hang out at the old Video Round-Up arcade in Scottsdale back in the day. I even thought it would be cool to own an arcade like Flynn did in the classic Tron movie. Now Cobra Arcade Bar had brought my childhood back to me. This place is a lot of fun and has a cool vibe to it. I discovered while walking to the Super Bowl experience in downtown Phoenix. At first I was a little irked during their opening week when I brought my kid and they wouldn’t let him in (21 and older only). I just wanted him to see and capture the same joy I had as a youngster. But now I’m kinda happy they are keeping this to the older crowd who appreciates the old vintage arcade games. They have a great selection of old school games (about 40 of them) and a cool looking bar for drinks. Ariel Bracamonte and Genuine Concepts are the co-owners of this new rad place. Cobra usually rotates arcade games in and out throughout the week for variety. They even have a row of pinball machines. They have all the classics – Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Mortal Combat, Street Fighter, 1943, Punch Out and my personal favorite Galaga. The tubular ceiling lights are designed to resemble the iconic arcade game Super Mario Brothers. I love that the games are a quarter (or token) like the old days. I grew tired of the newer arcades that make you buy the dumb expensive game cards. Cobra opens pretty late (2am) and can get pretty crowded on some nights. Especially during theme nights or tournaments. But if you are up for a fun retro night out, come to Cobra Arcade Bar!