What would you like first: the good news or the good news? Downtown Phoenix is full of new bars and restaurants, and they’re good. Like, really good. From buzzing bars and inventive cocktails to flavors of Thailand and France, these newly opened spots prove that not even a pandemic can freeze Phoenix’s food scene. Time to sample!
Palma, Châm Pang and Ghost Burro streets
903 North Second Street
At Second Street and Garfield, you’ll find Palma, Châm Pang Lanes and Ghost Donkey, a trio of concepts that gives you three ways to play. Palma and all its pink and palm oasis energy is the perfect place for happy hour. Order a chicken with prosecco and popcorn or a tangerine sangria and marinated peanuts and pretend you’re on vacation. Châm Pang Lanes is a bougie bowling alley where bowling in heels and a miniskirt is never out of place. Everything is sparkly, from the disco decor and sparkly bowling balls to sparkly signature drinks. End the night at Ghost Donkey, a wacky mezcal and tequila bar bathed in twinkling pink lights.
Lom Wong |
218 East Portland Street
Owners Alex and Yotaka “Sunny” Martin, who met in Thailand, honed family recipes and traditional ways of cooking regional Thai dishes to open Lom Wong, a temporary venue converted from a brick-and-mortar building located just west of the Hotel Cambria. The journey begins with your waiter waxing poetic about the menu and its origins. The khun yaa cocktail, a sotol, Campari, a sweet vermouth version of a Negroni, is a raucous, bitter sip nicknamed “The Doris” after Alex’s grandmother. Thunder’s piña colada raises the roof on rum by adding coconut cream, fish sauce and house khrueng tom yum syrup for a refreshing spree. The kaeng phet charinda combines hand-pounded red curry paste, coconut milk, Thai eggplant, Thai basil, and beef for a steaming bowl of aromatic comfort. Yam mamuang boran, a green mango salad with hand torn shrimp and coconut cream with roasted coconut and peanuts, comes from northern Thailand through Yotaka’s grandmother. The captivating descriptions are as tasty as the food.
218 East Portland Street
The alley entrance of Khla (behind Lom Wong) is your first clue that you’re stepping into the cool of a hipster bar; the black light sign with the tiger is the second. The Asian-inspired cocktail bar opens up to a narrow indoor-outdoor area with black walls, hand-painted white-line murals, intimate seating, and rows of dangling lanterns that dance overhead, creating a transportation space that feels like Bangkok. The sips are just as enticing, with ingredients guided by Asia: Philippine rum, Japanese gin and Thai chili-infused mezcal, plus flirty flavors like peach bitters, pandan cream and peanut oil, a nod to the bartender background of the co-owner Tyka Chheng. and Cambodian roots. Take a sip of the wild side as you drink in the seductive atmosphere. Insider Tip: Order drinkable snacks from Lom Wong’s, like deep-fried pork belly and a mystery bite titled “I’m drunk and I’ll eat anything (seriously).”
wren and wolf
2 North Central Avenue, Suite 101
Wren & Wolf is far from underrated. Located on the ground floor of Renaissance Square, it’s the perfect spot before you hang around. Surrounded by real stuffed animals, larger-than-life wolf murals, and dim lighting, if the setting doesn’t catch you on the hunt, the meat-minded menu of charred bone marrow, duck confit poutine, wild boar ragu, and ribeye will be . Plus, there are the shaken and stirred cocktails with names like “Money on my mind” and “I love you, but I love myself more” that go with the well-dressed crowd. Grab a Punch Drunk Love, a sip of gin with grapefruit, pink peppercorns and pineapple, and get ready to rumba.
1025 North Second Street
Tap into your inner Parisian at Sottise, a chic and cozy French-inspired wine bar on Second Street just north of Roosevelt, opened by TJ Culp and Esther Noh of Restaurant Progress. Housed in a converted 1909 bungalow, the setting melds history — including an Old World wine list and vintage sound system — with an easy, cheery Provençal vibe. Sit at a high, cozy table for two, or on the porch as you sip deliciously refreshing cocktails like Sommer, an uplifting mix of white tequila, rosemary, peach vinegar, turmeric and soda that tastes like a tall glass of summer. and a snack of hot Camembert, beef tartare and escargot de Bourgogne. per extra oh la laorder the seafood, a tiered triumph showcasing freshly peeled uni, giant tiger prawns, and mini tuna carpaccio, among other seafood delights.