Bitter & Twisted
Downtown’s most lauded cocktail bar, Bitter & Twisted, which happens to be one of the best damn cocktail bars in Phoenix, doesn’t just offer a shortlist of libations, they offer an entire book. In fact, their drink menu is appropriately called the Book o’ Cocktails. With more than 60 handcrafted cocktails made with local, fresh and unique ingredients (edible flowers, anyone?) there are more than enough to choose from. Consult the book’s list of Top 10 drinks or just go ahead and order the Duck Punch. Ironically this space, the Luhrs Building, was once home to Arizona’s prohibition headquarters. Thankfully we live in a time where good cocktails are plentiful.
The intimate venue regularly hosts comedy shows, spoken word acts, film showings and live music. The cocktail lounge is named after Arizona’s first lady governor, Rose Mofford (who sadly passed away this year). Before tending to business at the capital, Mofford was an All-American softball player who had to turn down a professional basketball offer from, coincidentally, The All-American Red Heads. There are over half a dozen beers on tap, a wine list featuring 50 choices, and cocktails named after some of Arizona’s most dubious, famous and beloved politicians, including one for Gov. Mofford.
Cobra Arcade Bar
If you grew up on Nintendo (which, come on, who didn’t?) this place is the stuff of dreams. ‘80s and ’90s kids, rejoice! There are more than two dozen games like Street Fighter, Frogger, Donkey Kong--even pinball! Owner Ariel Bracamonte has spent a good part of the last decade collecting all of these machines, so get your tokens out.
There’s one big factor that sets this arcade bar apart from the ones you frequented as an awkward preteen: there’s booze, and lots of it. A wide-selection of craft beer on tap and cocktails with names like “Princess Peach” and “Death Star” round out the drink menu here. Gamers can even go down in arcade history if they achieve the highest score: champions’ names go up on that scoreboard near the bar.
And hey, is that Angel’s Trumpet across the street? Congratulations, you’ve come full circle.