Although tumbleweeds don't breeze down its street and there's no hitching post on which to secure your horse, Brix Wine Spot swaps the valley for the Old West while helping visitors earn their sommelier spurs. A 20-foot copper bar corrals patrons as they stampede through the door, surrounding them with country tunes and over 500 of the bar's vintages.
Weekly tastings introduce palates to new bouquets, and every day a minimum of 18 wines are available by the glass, each served at an optimal temperature and right after naptime to ensure cooperation. When stomachs begin to rumble, guests can snack on artisan cheeses, salami platters, and handcrafted cheesecakes, or even bring in their own food—a practice Brix encourages as long as a glass of one of their wines is incorporated.
Cellar 13's owner, Mike Hightower, is no triskaidekaphobian. That is, he's not afraid of the number 13. Rather, he embraces it. He even themed his whole business around the superstitious number: it's no coincidence that Cellar 13 offers 13 red wines, 13 white wines, and 13 menu items. Guests can choose to explore either of the two outdoor patios, dine along the wine bar, or descend—yes, 13 steps—down to the cellar, where a cozy lounge with leather armchairs and dark wood tables welcomes guests and anything served in a bottle or stemmed glassware. No matter where you sit, you will encounter a variety of fine wines, gourmet sandwiches, and a friendly staff.
When Ray Klemp founded AZ Wine Company in 1993, he wanted to create an independent wine shop. Specifically, he hoped to open one that emphasized local varietals over major labels. Though the focus here is on wines from all over the world, there's still room for a satisfying collection of craft beers. Today the team has curated a selection of hundreds of different brews to complement their vast inventory, becoming a go-to for special bottles, unique varietals, and independent breweries.
As its name would suggest, Carefree is a laid-back town, with a sense of humor to boot. Look out for quirky street signs (Ho Hum Road and Nonchalant Avenue) and keep in mind the town’s motto (“home of the cowboys and caviar”). Phoenix lies about 30 miles to the south, and the Continental Mountains rise just to the north and create a nice backdrop opposite the Black Mountain range. There are a handful of hiking trails in the area, but for those who prefer the comforts of saddle, you can rent a bike from the hotel or sign up of for a guided horseback ride through the desert. Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
From the 24 taps?many of which contain limited-offer or hard-to-find beers?Kegs, Corks & Forks' bartenders pull foamy pours of IPAs, lagers, and American ales. After choosing a beer or wine to sip on, patrons are free to move on to their next round of options from the dinner menu. The chefs prepare a full menu of cuisine, including giant sandwiches and burgers, pasta with shrimp and scallops, and fresh-cut onion rings dunked in a housemade batter and fried to a golden-brown, edible halo.
Johnny of Johnny Fox's Public House sought to re-create the comforting pub ambiance he experienced during his time in Ireland with his father. He has accomplished this by building an old-world cottage exterior and large water wheel and filling his pub's interior with Gaelic "craig agus ceol." Following the tradition of Irish pubs, he divided the rooms into quaint sections. Low wood tables and stools sit near a brick fireplace, while one ornate booth stands semienclosed near the back. An old pipe organ sits next to a long table occupied by wayward lawn gnomes, and plenty of natural light floods in from all directions. Bartenders fill pints with Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick's at a bar inscribed with Gaelic sayings. In the kitchen, chefs labor over classic dishes such as shepherd's pie prepared with fresh ground lamb and beef, Guinness-braised short ribs, and pan-seared sea bass. Brunch buffets are available on Sundays, and a good whiskey is easy to find at Johnny Fox's, including an 18-year Jameson, while a carefully selected list of white and red wines can be paired to match all dishes on the menu. The restaurant's 15,000 square foot space is also available for meetings, weddings, or meetings held during weddings.