Julie Meeker loves math, science and beer. So, naturally, she’s opening a brewery.
“From the time I was legally allowed to drink, I’ve always been interested in local, craft beer. Which, back in the ’80s, there weren’t a lot of choices.”
In an effort to add a few more locally brewed choices to downtown Phoenix, Julie and her husband Jimmie McBride are in the process of creating Mother Bunch Brewing, a brew house and restaurant planned to inhabit the historic J.B. Bayless building on 7th Street and Garfield.
Julie hopes to feature not only her own original beers, but an array of locally made beer from around the state, in addition to wine and what she calls “interesting cocktails.”
“We’re going to have a total of 20 handles, with up to 8 Mother Bunch beers at any time,” she said.
While working toward a June opening, Julie is focusing on transforming a space originally intended for retail into a full-service restaurant and brewery while respecting the history and original exterior of the building.
The interior is designed with the bar and kitchen in the center, in a rustic—but not too-rustic—fashion. She is also hoping to incorporate an outdoor patio, but will wait a few months because the outdoor dining permit process is a little more involved.
Julie’s goal for the bar is “traditional items presented in a contemporary manner.” And in an effort to make business luncheons less painful, she is also installing a large meeting area to accommodate televised presentations, for groups who want to enjoy a drink while working.
Luckily, Julie is no stranger to the unique challenges of construction, after having spent the last 25 years in general contracting, and even working as one of the engineers on the Cardinals stadium.
This is her first small business venture though, and she hopes it will fill a need in the downtown area. As for the interesting name, she took a cue from the history of home brewing.
“Part of being a nerd is that you also like the history of stuff too. I was researching alewives—back in the 1500s and 1600s, women were actually the brewers. It was part of your household duties, like doing the laundry or baking bread,” she said, and the term ‘Mother Bunch’ came from a book on the practice.
As Julie describes, making beer has always been her hobby, and turning the thing you love into your moneymaker is the ultimate goal of every business owner.
“It’s everybody’s dream. Hopefully, it won’t turn into a nightmare!”
Julie’s liquor license is going before the Phoenix City Council on April 16 and, along with a few additional licenses, a positive vote should lead to a new brew house opening this summer in downtown Phoenix.
To find out the official launch date for this festive new brew house and additional updates on the space, check out Mother Bunch Brewing’s progress on their Facebook page!
Don’t miss the once-a-year opportunity to peer into the studios of working artists and wander through galleries during Artlink’s Art Detour 26 this weekend. Along with the top art venues of downtown Phoenix and countless pop-up exhibits, dozens of painters, sculptors, photographers, glassblowers, and other creative minds open the doors of their private space to curious visitors.
With the event map in hand, art lovers can explore more than 100 stops on a two-day self-guided tour, many within convenient walking distance of the free Art Detour shuttle route. Docents ride along on two London-style double-decker buses circulating continuously at 20-minute intervals between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, while four information hubs at Phoenix Art Museum, Oasis on Grand, CityScape, and the Arizona Center provide volunteers ready to answer questions.
The adventure begins this evening with a greater-than-usual array of First Friday opportunities, including an open rehearsal by the Phoenix Chorale at Trinity Cathedral. While you’re there, check out Olney Gallery’s Color Color Color! exhibition, featuring work by Kaori Takamura, Sarah Kriehn, and Christopher Jagmin.
Elsewhere, the weekend is filled with live music — along with a multitude of casual performances like Bones of Folk’s Danyul Kostin at Oasis on Grand and the Moonlight Howlers at The Lost Leaf, tonight’s ambitious Viva Phx festival brings 70 groups — including Sir Mix-A-Lot, The Neighbourhood, Black Carl, Tobie Milford, and Pinback — to 14 venues ranging from Crescent Ballroom to the Hotel San Carlos to the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center. The next day, Phoenix Blues Society’s Blues Blast ’14 fills Saturday with tunes from Hans Olson, Leon J’s JukeJoint, the Mike Eldred Trio, and other Rhythm Room stars at Margaret T. Hance Park — show an Art Detour map for a ticket discount.
Once your ears are satiated, fill your eyes with images from Artlink board member Hugo Medina, curator of the Phoenix Phabulous History Mural showing at Walter Studios. “I think it’s important that artists keep creating, pulling forward, which I try to do with my own work as well,” he says. “Phoenix is a phenomenal destination…. We’ve just got to start getting the collectors to start coming out, and that’s the challenge.”
For the month of March, R. Pela Contemporary Art will display Banned at the Herberger, including part of a controversial canceled show originally scheduled last fall at the Herberger Theater Center Art Gallery. The exhibit includes work by Mike Ford, Ronnie Ray Mendez, and Lisa Albinger. “Mike Ford’s photographs, about his relationship with his mother who has Alzheimer’s disease, have such depth,” says curator Robrt Pela. “There’s sadness, and camp, and real emotion. I had to share them.”
He continues, “I think that the art that I’m showing…I want there to be craftsmanship and beauty, but there has to be another element too…some commentary, some politics, some pain. It can’t just be something that’s lovely to look at because that isn’t quite enough.”
Other popular, highly-regarded mainstays anchoring First Friday and Art Detour include Practical Art and monOrchid. Great Arizona Puppet Theater offers edgy, quirky, adults-only Puppet Slams both Friday and Saturday nights.
All weekend, kids can find plenty of fun with finger-paint murals, demonstrations, workshops, and other family-friendly activities at Kids’ Detour, various galleries and studios, and the Blues Blast. Retailers and restaurateurs also add to the experience with extended weekend hours and specials.
If you go:
- Artlink First Friday on March 7
- Viva Phx music festival on March 7
- Phoenix Blues Society’s Blues Blast ’14 on March 8
- Artlink’s Art Detour 26 on March 8-9
DPJ’s Bike Chic series by Nathan Simpson. You may see him around town scouting locals who not only ride their bikes but look dapper doing it.
Name: Jet Dispo
Occupation: Server at Federal Pizza
His neighborhood: Coronado
Favorite thing about Downtown Phoenix: You don’t have the hustle and bustle of a big city or the weird, closed in vibe of a small town. It’s the best of both worlds.
Favorite places to hang out in Downtown: Windsor, Lost Leaf and Lux.
Favorite places to shop Downtown: Retro Ranch and Grow Op.
How do you get involved? I volunteer with Devour.
What’s your typical biking ensemble: I’m typically wearing my work clothes or what I’m going out in for the night. If I am going for a ride to ride then I’ll just wear shorts and a t-shirt.
Where do you get your style inspiration? I piece outfits together from things I find and get ideas from what I see people wearing.
- Tora Randonneurs tires
- Brooks Saddle
- A good lock
What he’s wearing:
- Shirt – Coto
- Hat – Brookstone
- Levi Khakis
- Shoes – Sperry high top siders
There is something special about a neighborhood that preserves its historic charm while enlivening it with great food.
Cooking Light recently announced to the nation what we downtowners already knew about the Coronado neighborhood: it’s where we can fill our bellies, drink ourselves content and have oh-so-decadent sweets to boot.
As Cooking Light put it, “Phoenix’s Historic Coronado Neighborhood’s preservation efforts have led to a culinary revival of sorts: the neighborhood’s meticulously restored homes now house some of the best eateries in the city, such as The Main Ingredient Ale House & Café, Rice Paper Eatery, Coronado Cafe, and 1950s union hall-turned-home-turned-restaurant Tuck Shop.”
We couldn’t agree more. The upcycled atmosphere behind each of the restored eateries instantly instills a warm, comforting feeling upon arrival. The bungalows are practically telling you to savor the buttery sweet America’s Corn from America’s Taco Shop, the caramelized fig pizza at Humble Pie and the hot fudge sundae at McAlpines Soda Fountain. After all that food, they’re pushing you to sip on the craft brews at Main Ingredient Ale House or the specialty cocktails at Rice Paper. If only walls could talk.
While Coronado’s food scene was our best-kept secret, we can now take comfort in knowing those restaurants and eateries have become national destination spots and are helping to revolutionize Phoenix’s food scene.
Photo credit: Justin Lee
Take a peek inside locals’ shopping bags and learn how they use health and beauty products in everyday life.
Occupation: Student at Phoenix College
Her Neighborhood: Coronado District
Where spotted: Bodega 420
What she purchased:
• Three apples
• One plum
• Bottled water
Why she chose these products: I’m picky because I’m pregnant, so I picked simple fruits that are easy to digest. Last week they had blackberries and raspberries, which would have been my first choice, but those sold out.
Her must-haves: Apples are one of my favorite fruits and I eat them the most often. They are my go-to fruit because they are easy to eat and convenient. With the plum, I was being adventurous.
How she benefits: These are going to help me eat healthier. I’m about four and a half months along, and my midwife said I need to change my diet because I used to eat a lot of junk. Now, it’s no junk food and lots of fruit, fruit, fruit. She also encourages vegetables and whole grains, but fruits are first on my list.
Why they fit her style: My purchases show that I’m changing my diet—or at least trying to change it—to eat healthy. The main reason I’m doing it is because of my pregnancy, but it’s good because I need to eat right anyway. I’m thinking I will stick to it afterwards. It also shows that I like shopping local and supporting businesses in my neighborhood. I really like how the bodega has reasonable prices and allows people to make suggestions for items they want to see more of by writing them on a chalkboard.