Downtown Phoenix is growing at an incredible pace, transitioning from a business hub filled with suit-clad workers to an urban destination for all day activities.
During the first year of the pandemic, many downtown Phoenix restaurants closed, but their spaces didn't sit empty for long. New concepts and restaurateurs with fresh ideas continued to move in.
The popular Roosevelt Row arts and entertainment district is brimming with new restaurants and bars as the area continues to expand to the north. Throughout the surrounding blocks, areas including CityScape and the western residential side of Roosevelt are welcoming new dining and drinking destinations as well.
Here's what you need to know about the nine most exciting restaurants and bars that are now open in downtown Phoenix.
Festival producer David Tyda and Provecho Mexican restaurant owner Ryan Oberholtzer have created something stationary, but still celebratory, with their new concept Barcoa. The space features a colorful patio and a festive cantina where taco trucks can pull right up to the bar. Down a sturdy flight of metal stairs, the bright mood turns darker as customers enter the larger, underground bar area where the focus is on everything agave, from tastings to educating customers about the different regions of production. Keep an eye out for design touches Tyda brought from Mexico, such as a set of ornately painted doors, murals and local art.
Details: BARCOA Agaveria, 829 N. First Ave., Phoenix. barcoaphx.com.
El Zaguan Bistro
Jesus Rodriguez started his taco business as a food truck that popped up around the Valley. Now, he has a brick and mortar location in downtown Phoenix. El Zaguan Bistro is currently open for breakfast and lunch and serves chilaquiles, burritos and quesadillas along with tacos a la carte and by combo plate. The restaurant is located on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Adams Street.
Details: 16 W. Adams St., Phoenix. 602-332-6388, directoriodigital.online/elzaguanbistro.
After an extended remodel, a downtown Phoenix bungalow is now home to one of the best new bars in the Valley. Garden Bar, led by cocktail expert Kim Haasarud, offers a menu of drinks featuring local ingredients such as honey, fruit and syrups. Inside, customers can pick a room to sit in, as each corner of the little house is different. Pick a seat by the bar or cozy up on a sofa in what feels like your own private living room. Garden Bar's menu rotates with the seasons, so stop in to try something new.
Details: 822 N. Sixth Ave., Phoenix. 602-824-2385, gardenbarphx.com.
Jacy and Dakota's
At this swanky new hotel bar and restaurant in downtown Phoenix, two large saguaros are the center of attention. Named Jacy and Dakota, they are the focal point of the outdoor patio space. The restaurant, located in The Westin Phoenix Downtown serves a selection of tasting boards ranging from classic charcuterie to pretzels and smoked salmon. Burgers and larger entrees are also available along with craft cocktails and desserts. The menu is filled with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.
Details: 333 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-429-3600, jacyanddakotas.com.
Pedal Haus Brewery
Fans of Pedal Haus Brewery no longer have to drive to Tempe or Chandler to get a pint of the award winning Biere Blanche. Pedal Haus has opened a location on Roosevelt Row. Located at the back of the iconic Monorchid building, it is a modern, industrial space where guests can enjoy a selection of burgers and pub fare along with a rotating selection of beers brought in fresh from the Tempe brew house. It's a welcome addition to any downtown beer crawl.
Details: 214 E. Roosevelt Street, Phoenix. 623-213-8229, pedalhausbrewery.com.
As the Roosevelt Row district expands to the north, Sottise is helping with the movement. This new French bistro has opened in the historic Knipe House, an architectural piece of history built in 1909. The new restaurant was dreamed up by the team behind Restaurant Progress and The Montecito Bottle Shop, both located in the Melrose District a few miles north of downtown. Chef TJ Culp leads the kitchen, with a menu of beef tartare, mussels, croque monsieur and escargot. The drinks menu includes a few creative cocktails and aperitifs, but focuses mostly on old world wine. Stop by for a glass and a snack set to music and merriment, but don't take it too seriously, after all 'Sottise' means foolishness in French.
'It's just food that I want to eat': A new restaurant built on chef's passions
Details: 1025 N. Second St., Phoenix. 602-254-6378, sottisephx.com.
Toduken, a Filipino-inspired barbecue joint that got its start at farmer's markets now has a permanent home in downtown Phoenix. Toduken is located inside The Pemberton, a sprawling outdoor food garden on Second Street that's home to a collection of local businesses, bars and restaurants. Customers will find owner and chef John Cornelio slinging his crowd-pleasing grilled skewers and other specials including tomato garlic shrimp and teriyaki salmon from the new space.
'It's authentic to me': How chefs are redefining what Filipino food means
Details: Toduken at the Pemberton, 1121 N. Second St., Phoenix. instagram.com/toduken_bbq.
Trapper's Sushi, a restaurant chain from Washington state has now expanded its Arizona footprint with a West Valley location in Avondale and a new location in downtown Phoenix. Taking over the old Squid Ink Sushi location in CityScape, Trapper's offers sushi rolls, teriyaki and tempura dishes.
Details: 2 E. Jefferson St., Suite 108, Phoenix. 602-281-6341, trapperssushi.com.
Wren & Wolf
At Wren & Wolf, you might eat your dinner with a taxidermy animal looking over your shoulder. The new restaurant and bar in downtown Phoenix on the corner of Central Avenue and Washington Street was brought to life by the team behind fellow downtown Phoenix restaurant Chico Malo, with cocktails from Libby Lingua and Mitch Lyons, the mixology masterminds behind Highball cocktail bar. The restaurant is open from morning to night, evolving from a coffee shop to a light lunch restaurant to a date night destination when the sun goes down.
Taxidermy and top-notch cocktails: Chico Malo owners open Wren & Wolf downtown
Details: 2 N. Central Ave., Suite 101, Phoenix. 602-562-3510, wrenandwolf.com.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Downtown Phoenix bars and restaurants: Buzziest new spots to try now