Several times a week, local bands showcase their soaring melodies and heavy riffs at Tonic Tavern & Kitchen. Adorning the tavern's exposed brick interior, the collection of framed electric guitars and autographs reminds patrons of the now-famous bands who once rocked the bar.
A passion for music and its history isn't just apparent on Tonic's walls—it's all over the tavern's rock-themed menu. Here, grilled cheeses on parmesan-crusted challah bread are named after the famous CGBG rock club, while a pound-plus of wings is called a drum set in honor of the chicken that was the original drummer of the Beatles. The theme continues with a selection of handcrafted pizzas such as the Fleetwood Mac, a medley of ribeye steak, thousand island dressing, and dill pickles.
Besides the guitar wall-of-fame, feasts at Tonic unfold among pool tables and flat-screen TVs tuned to the latest sports. A secluded outdoor patio features misters and fans yo keep guests cool in the summer, while heaters thaw visitors during the winter. Along with concerts, Tonic hosts events ranging from team trivia nights to live comedy.
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.
With an ear pressed to the rim of a frothy glass of beer, one can almost hear a steady current of waves splashing against the walls of The Cove Grill’s bar and dining room. The oars, boat helms, and model sailboats that hang throughout the restaurant spur on this nautical fantasy and help to foster the casual beach vibe that greets guests at the door. Though entrees of crispy fish and chips similarly evoke the distant coastline, The Cove Grill is best known for its array of burgers, sandwiches, and appetizer plates—the last of which include beer-battered mushrooms and jumbo wings coated in teriyaki, honey-citrus, bourbon, buffalo, or barbecue sauces. Behind a glistening bar that the staff routinely polishes with surf wax, bartenders pour beach-theme libations from the drink list, such as a concoction of five rums and various juices mixed together and served in a sand pail. On the outdoor patio, guests lounge beneath misters or heaters that re-create the pleasant, mild temperatures of a coastal climate.
Winner of Phoenix New Times’ Best Beer Bar award in 2012, The Hungry Monk has 28 craft beers, a full menu of pub grub, and a neighborly atmosphere to thank for its success. The main draw may be the rotating selection of drafts, including blends made by The Hungry Monk’s own staff. And then, of course, there's the unique beer-based foods—think doughnuts paired with IPA, or whitefish hand-dipped in a house ale batter—that bring the food and brews together like the sight of a gingerbread man doing a keg stand. But it was the simpler dishes, such as a top-notch pub garden salad and the house-specialty street tacos that led Voice Places, to call The Hungry Monk, "our new place of worship."
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.