Servers and patrons alike crunch across scattered peanut shells on the way to their tables at Teakwoods, a boisterous neighborhood watering hole crowned Best Sports Bar in 2009 by Phoenix New Times. A team of chefs cooks up classic American eats, including half-pound burgers, meaty sandwiches, and their award-winning wings, which can heat up gastro-chambers and cargo-pants pockets with flavors such as medium, hot, and honey-barbecue hot. As bartenders pour draft beers and concoct tasty libations, guests can catch their favorite sporting events on one of many high-definition TVs that broadcast events from the MLB, NFL, and UFC. When guests can't make it to the restaurant, Teakwoods' chefs cater fare to events, gatherings, and parties.
Mad Chef Gastropub's culinary innovators seize inspiration from European public house kitchens, folding the flavors of American comfort fare into a menu of fresh, house-made fare. Lauded as “addictive” in Phoenix magazine, poutine kicks off dinners or appetizer-fueled food fights with a sizzling mound of steak fries drowned in a slow-cooked house gravy and three-cheese sauce, then dusted with cheese curds ($5). Slabs of bacon steep in Jim Beam whiskey before chefs drape them across the MC's burger's half-pound of Angus beef, melted gruyère, and caramelized onions secured inside a brioche bun ($11). Diners can order the fish 'n' chips entree to crunch down on beer-battered cod or thwart the escape attempts of restive companions by slicking down floors with homemade tartar and slaw ($10).
The cucina at Va Bene pampers palates with the authenticity and fresh flavors of classic Italian cuisine. Starters set tongues wagging with the pan-seared sea morsels served with pesto sauce and crostini in the scallops Va Bene ($12.95 dinner). The melanzane ripieni wets whistles for melodic grazies with baked eggplant dressed in mushrooms, squash, mozzarella, and homemade marinara ($6.50 lunch, $7.95 dinner). Dressed in herb-crust armor, the new york steak ($28.95 dinner) carries roasted potatoes and french beans at the ready to trounce hunger with a porcini-sauce body slam, and pollo alla pizzaiola douses chicken breast with fresh tomato, capers, and olives ($8.95 lunch, $15.95 dinner). Desserts ($6) incite sweet dreams and meaningful fork-collisions with tiramisu, New York–style cheesecake, and chocolate-espresso crème brûlée.
Though it may have "saloon" in its name, this Western-themed eatery is appropriate for all ages. The restaurant area is often filled with families dining on burgers, half-pound BLTs, and fresh smoked brisket, while a separate bar area is set aside for more adult pastimes, such as sipping beers and cocktails, listening to local bands, or jumbling up Scrabble tiles to invent new words. Chefs grill up 8 oz. filet steaks topped with garlic butter or Blue Moon-battered cod filets for diners, who cheer on the sports teams playing on the TVs scattered throughout the restaurant. They also serve up a wide range of appetizers, such as sweet corn fritters, beer battered onion rings, and Southern-style chili potato skins.
Up a staircase illuminated by an overhead chandelier waits an arrangement of small tables. They're holding down one of the dining areas at SpeakEasy Saloon and Grill, a steak house that's part speakeasy, part saloon. On the main level there's a stage for live country music, a bar for drinking, and more tables for enjoying house specialties such as bone-in rib eye, cowboy spaghetti, and grilled fresh Atlantic salmon. When guests finish eating, they can get busy grooving on the dance floor and nervously anticipating their date’s line-dance moves. A private room upstairs also hosts private parties and events, rounding out the possibilities.
Bowls of pho and plates of burgers fuel guests for friendly competition at Sage Bar, where American and Vietnamese cuisine are served side-by-side in a sports bar atmosphere. The aroma of pho, a traditional rice noodle soup, excites taste buds as it’s carried to tables still steaming, containing a choice of several meats, including steak, meatballs, or chicken. Angus burgers and spicy chicken sandwiches, meanwhile, are grilled to bring out their juicy potential, then topped with cheese, lettuce, onion, and tomato. An assortment of beers, wine, and spirits pair with meals and inspire improvised fight songs during games of pool, corn hole, Jenga, and darts.