Unique Local Wine Bars
By Alison Bailin Batz
Not long ago, simply offering a few tasting flights along with some fancy cheeses could satisfy the Valley’s oenophile (aka wine lovers) population.
But those days are gone.
Today, innovative new bar owners are taking the “wine and dine” concept to another level, especially in the North Valley.
Here’s the 411 on three of our favorites.
15323 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste. 150
In 2014, Mark and Lauren Teahen were at a crossroads.
“Mark was just ending his Major League Baseball career after 12 years. We were considering pursuing baseball in Europe, where there are leagues in Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany,” says Lauren, noting Italy was the early front runner.
While exploring Italy––armed with nothing but their passports and smart phones to guide them––they stumbled upon Enoteca Falorni, a wine bar in Chianti that once housed the first major winery in the region. It was self-serve, what they like to call a wine buffet, where each bottle ‘on taste’ was attached to a tap that dispensed the wine, delivering the quality equivalent to a newly opened bottle for up to four weeks.
The wine buffet gave the Teahens a chance to taste around for hours––and by the end of the night, their European baseball dream gave way to a bigger one, a dream that would bring them back home to Scottsdale.
“We opened Sorso, which means sip in Italian, to give fellow wine lovers the experience we had at Enoteca Falorni,” says Lauren, whose bar boasts the same self-serve wine system, allowing them to offer 1.5, three, and 5-ounce pours of more than 30 types of wine at any given time in addition to a host of other full-size bottles and wine-inspired cocktails.
The bar, which has subtle homages to Mark’s baseball career throughout, also boasts an impressive menu of small bites, which the Teahens created themselves while on date nights.
4301 N. Civic Center Plaza
This two-story modern American wine bar in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale’s Entertainment District not only has a large, dog-friendly patio and impressive listing of 150-plus wines by the bottle, but an eye-popping 30 craft beers, and regionally inspired cocktails with a sense of humor.
And then there is the grilled cheese menu to pair with the wines.
“When I was in New York consulting on new bar and lounge concepts, my team and I got the wild idea one night to dream up a grilled cheese menu,” says owner Michael Stein, who is only 29 but has more than a decade of experience in the New York and Las Vegas hospitality industries. “To say it was successful was an understatement. I couldn’t wait to bring the concept to Scottsdale.”
Served with house-seasoned kettle chips or creamy tomato basil soup, highlights from Stein’s grilled cheese menu include:
- The Glazed & Confused: Sharp cheddar, honey glazed ham, grilled pineapple, and sweet teriyaki sauce
- The Millionaire: Gruyere, fontina, organic Portobello mushrooms, spinach, and truffle glaze
3730 E. Indian School
Today’s 30-somethings all have something in common––Nintendo.
They all had one.
They all played with one.
They all know how to beat the original Super Mario Brothers.
The Pig’s Meow, a tiny space with a giant wine and beer selection that changes constantly, offers happy hour from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. every weekday, making it almost impossible not to get a great deal.
They also offer something for the wine-loving “Nintendo Generation”––nostalgia.
Boasting vintage video games including Mortal Kombat, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Brothers, the Pig’s Meow is a perfect reminder to anyone born in the ‘70s or ‘80s to stop taking themselves so seriously and relax once in a while.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.