Want to go where the locals go? Read DPJ’s new E&D Beat and visit some favorite Eats & Drinks destinations.
Local Fave: Carly’s Bistro
District: Evans Churchill Neighborhood
Owners: Carla and John Wade
Arts Interplay: Carly’s is noticeable from a distance because of the large mural painted on the biggest outside wall, which gives a great first impression. Immediately after stepping inside, your eye is taken by the blood red walls hung with intriguing local artwork. Your ears are tickled with daily melodies chosen by the staff. From cool oldies to greats of blues and jazz, or a local band, Carly’s can go from a relaxing hang out to an exciting music venue. The bar surface itself is adorned with sketches and doodles from local artists who proudly donated them to Carly’s display. It’s a raw, interesting way to showcase the local talent.
Have a Seat: There are tufted black benches with small, square tables in seating areas. For the city view, sit street side along the large windows at the high, two tops. An even bigger group would still be as comfortable since all the tables are easily configured into larger ones. This is a true bistro experience, with swiveling, cushy bar stools encouraging social interaction in the busy bar.
The Eats: Try the salty Feta Rosa (roasted red pepper, garlic and feta with warm pita wedges) with a Westmalle Tripel and you’ve got yourself the perfect snack. Have a bigger appetite? Go for the Reuben, stacked with pastrami and sauerkraut on marble rye. Carly’s doesn’t shy away from culinary challenges either. One of their best items is a vegetarian sandwich called “Europa”. Marinated artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes and spinach with roasted red peppers and smoked mozzarella are piled high on toasted focaccia bread. Most everything is under $10, so you’re sure to find something good for you and your wallet.
The Drinks: On the beverage side of things, Carly’s offers everything from local brews to imported craft beers, a decent wine selection, and a Phoenix New Times “Best of Phoenix” Bloody Mary amongst other classic drinks.
What They Say: Resident bartender, Brian Cresson, serves beautifully crafted cocktails with a side of easy conversation. “What used to draw me in is the fact that I am comfortable here. You can stroll into a casual atmosphere at almost any time of day or night and find your buddies having a good beer and some great food,” explains Cresson.
The Report: Come here to find a comfortable atmosphere, an excellent beer selection, simple and delicious cocktails that are almost always on special, great food at affordable prices, and the most artful, comfortable bar experience on Roosevelt. This is a local hangout done right.
VegCo, a new plant-based supermarket, is expected to open in a to-be-determined Midtown location. By the end of this year, the local grocery store will make it easier for people in the central Phoenix area to knock out all of their meat-free grocery shopping in one place.
Heather Francois, the founder of VegCo, said the store will provide affordable, high-quality foods for the increasing number of people restricting their meat consumptions. Francois added that she wants to make grocery shopping more convenient for those with special diet needs.
“I wanted to tie all the factors together and serve those people who eat strictly organic, who are focused on local products and community, and who may have allergy concerns,” Francois said. “I also want to able to give (Phoenix locals) plenty of options.”
She added that Phoenix needs this supermarket because of the push for sustainable living and healthier diets.
“There’s a movement growing here and across the nation as people realize all the dangers of eating meat products,” Francois said. “People are becoming more educated on plant-based diets and how they are optimal for the human body.”
Want to skip the meat? Here are a few vegetarian dining options:
Other food experts in the area are also making changes to meet shifting demands as more people join in the plant-based food movement.
Ingrid Hirtz, a chef originally from Austria, said she began building a business around vegetarianism to show people that meals without meat can actually taste delicious. Along with cooking at Fair Trade Cafe, she recently started a vegetarian meal preparation service to serve the city economically and environmentally friendly cuisine.
Hirtz added that she hopes to make people realize the standard American diet is not the standard global diet.
“The United States focuses on meat,” Hirtz said. “If you go out to a restaurant, everything on the menu has a focus on the meat—such as a pork tenderloin or a steak. But in other countries, the traditional diet usually consists of some kind of legume or grain with vegetables—meat is more of a side dish.”
Whether it be her creamy vegetable korma curry or goat cheese quiche made with almond flour and sun-dried tomatoes, Hirtz said it just takes getting people to realize the food tastes good.
“Before, people thought of vegetarians as people who cut out meat and had to go to the salad bar or just eat side dishes.” Hirtz added. “Now, it’s a cuisine in itself. People don’t realize that it can be a very satisfying culinary experience.”
Now that Phoenix residents seem to accept and understand vegetarianism more than ever before, a local meat producer said she certainly noticed the shift in views.
Beth Wilson, owner of The Meat Shop, said when she first began giving out meat samples at The Phoenix Public Market, she worried that her products would not sell among this huge vegetarian population.
“I was thinking, ‘Wow, 75 percent of these people walking by won’t even look at or touch the samples,’” Wilson said. “I thought maybe that would impact my business in Phoenix.”
Luckily, Wilson said many people come from families who still eat meat, so they visit her shop for local products made from “happy pigs” and meats made without the use of preservatives or chemicals.
Even if people refuse her products because of vegetarian or vegan beliefs, Wilson said she understands and respects their goals.
She added, “It’s just a part of their search to live better, eat better, and be a better person.”
I have decided to devote myself to craft beer partially because I love what’s in this glass, but also because I really love the passion and the people that make this happen. I’ve never seen anything quite so beautiful. Writer, Lisa Morrison in The Love of Beer.
The byline of one of my favorite columnists, Andrew Sullivan, is “Biased and Balanced.” To be in love is to be biased, so let my Valentine to The Love of Beer movie and Film Bar count the ways. A disclaimer: I hold a board position with The Arizona Society of Homebrewers, the organization that helped bring this Arizona Beer Week movie premier to the Film Bar. In the end I will leave it to you to determine if I have met some measure of balance.
The Love of Beer is a documentary that follows the story of two women in the craft brewing industry–acclaimed Oregon brewer Tanya Cornett and Portland publican, Sarah Pederson. I was fortunate enough to be at the film’s debut last August at The McMenamins Baghdad Theater during the Portland Beer Bloggers Conference. Dozens of familiar faces appeared on the large screen, some that I’ve known for years, most others I had just shared pints with at the conference. I choked up knowing that some of my friends and colleagues were having their stories told in the iconic theater pub.
The movie allowed me to re-live a conference side trip to the Goschie Hop Farm at high harvest. Our visit is forever portrayed as a beautiful luscious and juicy green sequence interspersed with shots of matronly Hop Boss Gayle Goschie. My olfactory memory provided the aromatrack. I tell you this not as a boast, but to demonstrate where and how deep my bias lies. Can you imagine a conference of any kind concluding with a feature-length film? It was a literal, “Killing Me Softly” moment.
The principle characters of the film are women and, while I do not want to detract from their personal struggles or accomplishments, this not Norma Rae. Producer, Alison Grayson was not out to create a feminist film or craft beer call-to-arms. Instead, it is a celebration of women and their journey in the mostly embracing craft beer culture. Our Arizona beer culture is ripe for such an awakening. We have a downtown theater that features beer in an up-and-coming area and the Valley boasts a very active female craft beer group, the Arizona Girls Pint Out.
The Film Bar has fast become one of my favorite places downtown by offering a unique combination of film, art, music and a fine selection of beers and wines. The Evans Churchill neighborhood is gaining stature as a beer destination as there are now several establishments that offer a thoughtful beer selection fitting the personality of each business. Carly’s Bistro and The Roosevelt offer different takes on food and beer while The Lost Leaf is as known for its live music as its long specialty bottle list. The Film Bar has carefully crafted a mix of draft and bottled beers that pair with a quirky indy or classic euro film. The summer arrival of new craft beer bar Angels Trumpet is certain to shift the region’s East Valley centric beer axis a bit more toward Phoenix.
There are many reasons why you’re going to want to attend the Wednesday and Friday screenings at The Film Bar, especially the Arizona debut. At the opening Wednesday, there will be a meet and greet prior to the screening and a follow up panel with the filmmaker Grayson, Four Peaks Brewer Melissa Osborne, Arizona Girls Pint Out founder Maureen Basenberg and members of the Arizona Society of Homebrewers. Joe Arvallo of Film Bar has booked Andrew and his Fiesty Felines and Four Peaks will release a new Robust Porter at the event.
When beer intersects art, local business and community, I feel as Morrison does. I have never seen anything quite so beautiful.
If You Go
815 N. 2nd St.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003
The true mark of a vibrant urban core isn’t the popularity of special events like ball games, conventions or even First Fridays. Rather, it is the events that fill the gaps in between these. It is the creation of a 24/7 culture where things are going on every day (and night) of the week. While I wouldn’t say that we have quire arrived there, we are a lot closer that it may appear.
Here are 10 of the less heralded activities that are occurring in Downtown Phoenix on an almost daily basis.
1. Live music
2. Movie Monday at Revolver Records
No-admission movie screenings with special deals every Monday at 8 p.m.
The Torch Theatre is one of Phoenix’s best-kept secrets. Shows vary through the week, but make sure to check out the Saturday night Cage Matches!
4. Phoenix Public Market
Every Wednesday and Saturday, the lot at McKinley Street and Central Avenue becomes our local farmers market.
5. Over-the-Hump Day, open mic
Local wordsmiths and folk musicians perform every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Conspire at 5th and Garfield streets.
6. The Downtown Phoenix fitness walk/jog
Get some exercise by walking or jogging around Downtown Phoenix. Start and end points are the Phoenix Public Market every Saturday at 7 a.m.
7. Community Yoga Project
Bring your own yoga mat, towel or blanket every Saturday at 10 a.m. at Civic Space Park.
8. GROWHOUSE Garden Days
Volunteer in the garden at Garfield and 6th streets every Sunday from 8 to 10 a.m.
9. Fair Trade Café Sunday brunch
The Fair Trade menu features challah baked French toast with choice of yummy toppings, rosemary country potatoes, baked egg casserole with veggies or green chilies and biscuits and gravy. Every Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
10. Sunday Service
Every Sunday at SideBar, DJs spin until 2 a.m., accompanying Downtown’s best drink discounts.
We are certainly missing a lot of other events that occur on a weekly basis. If you would like to add anything to the list, please add a comment!
This post was inspirited by the Roosevelt Row newsletter. To be kept up to date on what is going on in and around Roosevelt Row, click here to sign up for their newsletter. For a whole smattering of Downtown Phoenix events, see DPJ’s calendar page.
For those individuals that are seeking the ultimate urban Phoenix living experience, I can think of no better place than the chunk of Downtown Phoenix that the U.S. Postal Service calls ZIP code 85004.
Virtually everything Downtown Phoenix has to offer can be reached on foot or by bicycle living in this ZIP code. The diversity of “things to do” and “places to go” is overwhelming. In terms of types of dwellings, everything can be found here, including apartments in “luxury high-rise” buildings; recently built loft-style condos and apartments; small, affordable live-work apartments; and even bungalows in historic neighborhoods.
The 85004 ZIP code is bounded by Thomas Road to the north, Buckeye Road to the south, Central Avenue to the west and 7th Street to the east. Within this part of Downtown lies many of our large cultural and sporting venues, such as the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, Burton Barr Central Library, the Herberger Theater, Phoenix Symphony Hall, US Airways Center and Chase Field. Wow!
Consider the Downtown arts scene, with an extensive assortment of locally owned art galleries, gift shops, wine bars and restaurants in and around Roosevelt Row. Here is a limited list off the top of my head: Eye Lounge, Made, the Lost Leaf, Conspire, Modified Arts, Nine|05, the Roosevelt Tavern, Moira Sushi, Carly’s Bistro, Revolver Records, Matt’s Big Breakfast, PastaBAR, The Turf, Sens and the Breadfruit.
What’s next? How about shopping at the Phoenix Public Market? Or here’s a good one. People often complain that they would move Downtown if there were a large grocery store nearby. These people must have never driven by the Safeway at 7th Street and McDowell.
Bored yet? Why not take in a movie at the Arizona Center, with its 24 screens, or eat at one of the many restaurants there. Have a friend coming in to town for a conference at the Phoenix Convention Center? He or she can stay at the new Sheraton Hotel, attend their conference and then come visit you, without even needing a rental car.
I almost forgot about our new Civic Space Park across from the Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix campus. If you attend ASU or the U of A/ASU Medical School, it might be convenient to live in 85004.
I haven’t even mentioned places like CityScape or all of the restaurants in the Downtown core between Van Buren and Jefferson streets. I also haven’t mentioned destinations in the Warehouse District, such as Alice Cooperstown, Coach & Willies, AmenZone Primal Fitness Training and the forthcoming Deuce in the Anchor Building.
Last but not least, in the still somewhat undiscovered Central Park neighborhood, just south of the Warehouse District, lies some varied and unusual housing options as well as eye-candy places like the Bentley Projects.
I will leave the summarization of living in 85004 up to you, the reader. Clearly, there is something here for everyone.
Lyle Plocher is a licensed Arizona real estate broker with the Urban Connection Realty Team at HomeSmart. You can reach him at email@example.com.