Coming to Phoenix and need to know a fun, good place to eat alone at a bar!
LOVE SW food and fusion, really good "local fare" and will be staying at The Clarendon Hotel downtown Phoenix. WIll be eating alone most nights and like to sit at a bar when I do that - any recommendations? Really don't care too much about price, but do NOT want "pissy/uptight" place and would prefer a good place to people watch, gay patrons, etc.
Since you mentioned it, I'll give you the two favorite places of my favorite gay friend.
1. My Florist Cafe. I thought the food was pretty good, but apparently the highlight at night is the piano player. I wish I had more details for you, but this is the place that sprang to mind because it has entertainment that would make being alone more fun.
2. Fez. I've never been here, but he goes weekly for margaritas with his friends and just adores the place.
My Florist Cafe
534 W McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85003
3815 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012
At least one meal should be consumed at the Clarendon's on-site restaurant, Gallo Blanco, which features Interior Mexican food. There's a small counter where you can sit and watch what's going on in the kitchen.
If your visit includes a Thursday night, you might want to go to Noca, sit at the small bar, and enjoy the special bar bites menu sometimes offered on Thursdays.
Cheuvront is a good wine bar and restaurant with nice counter seating. It's about two miles south of the Clarendon.
Tarbell's has been a reliable player in the Phoenix dining scene for the past 15 years and has a very nice bar where the full menu is served.
Over in Scottsdale, the suburb immediately east of Phoenix, Digestif is set up with a counter wrapped around the kitchen. It's a good place to watch the market-to-table food being prepared. Of all the restaurants listed in my reply, it's the one farthest from your hotel, but might be worth a trip.
If you like sushi, both Hana and Moira are within a few miles of your hotel. Both are enjoyable places to sit at the counter, watch the kitchen talent, and enjoy a mix of traditional Japanese and more fusion-oriented dishes.
Hana Japanese Eatery
5524 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013
3213 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018
Cheuvront Wine & Cheese Bar
1326 N. Central, Phoenix, AZ 85004
7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85351
3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016
215 E McKinley St #102, Phoenix, AZ
Gallo Blanco Cafe
401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
For me, it depends. Hana is closer to home, unpretentious, and better for a family dinner with the kid. Moira is good when my wife and I have a date night and want to combine sushi with a Downtown event. I need to try Yasu, but your recent report has convinced me that's definitely not a place to take a child.
The walk from the Clarendon to the light rail is not too bad so that opens up all kinds of possibilities. Firstt on my list would be Kincaid's which is near the U.S. Airways Center and is probably about a 10 minute ride. Nearby are many other possibilities including Marjerle's and, if the Diamondbacks are at home, TGIFriday's. Friday's is open every day but sitting there watching a ball game live is pretty cool. It's located in left field. The trip to Tempe by light rail is probably close to 25-30 minutes but there are all kinds of places there.
It's not a bar but more of a lounge but the rooftop pool at the Clarendon is kind of neat. Nice views in the evening.
For Southwestern/non-Sonoran Mexican food: I know Barrio Cafe and Los Sombreros both have bars, does anyone know if they're good bars to eat at, or are they more for drinks? The food at both places is great, and they're nice without being fussy.
PF Chang's is a national chain. A lot of people like it, but it's not a place for local flavor.
2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina
2534 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257
I would say you can eat comfortably at the bar at Los Sombreros, and the bartender is friendly. But, it's a very small bar, and the people watching aspect is not really there. I haven't really checked out the bar at Barrio, but, it might be a little better - perhaps a more diverse crowd.
The bar at Barrio is downright claustrophobic--very short bar (maybe 5 seats) in a space that doubles as the restaurant's waiting area. At the height of dinner service, that space has all the ambience of a rush hour subway car. Despite the nose-to-armpit crush, people watching opportunities are pretty limited because the cow pen is behind you as you face the bar.