AKA “Downtown Rebound”
BIRTH & DEATH OF INDUSTRY: The Warehouse District wasn’t really founded but evolved over time, says Dan Klocke, vice president of economic development in Downtown Phoenix. The district was integral to the Valley’s retail culture, with warehouses storing produce coming off freight trains that ran through Phoenix. The district began to lose steam as Phoenix expanded outward, but Klocke says it is evolving in a “grassroots sort of way” today, with adaptive reuse of historical buildings. LEVINE SCENE: Developer Michael Levine, owner of Levine Machine, has made adaptive reuse projects out of many warehouses in the district. THEN & NOW: The Phoenix Cotton Oil Company building, constructed in 1895, is now the site of the ASU Step Gallery. The Phoenix Merchandise Mart, constructed in 1946, is currently a Downtown Mini-Storage building. In 1918, the building at 215 E. Grant St. was home to Bell Laundry; it now houses the Bentley Gallery. IN THE ‘HOOD: Modern attractions in the District include Chase Field, US Airways Center and Alice Cooper’stown restaurant.
1 - Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Bitter & Twisted proprietor Ross Simon wanted to create his own London-style drinkery in the U.S. But he didn’t want to be a small fish in the big ponds of San Francisco or New York. So the Scotland-born barman came to Phoenix to create Bitter & Twisted, which recreates the feel of the pubs he frequented in Blighty, but with a twist on the drink menu. “Most people start with the big design,” Simon says. “I designed the bar itself first.” His drink recommendations: the Corpse Reviver No. Blue, with equal parts gin, Senior Curaçao Blue, Lillet blanc, fresh lemon juice and just a touch of absinthe, and the Solero – 42 Below passion fruit vodka, fresh passion fruit and half and half. 1 W. Jefferson St., 602-340-1924, bitterandtwistedaz.com
2 - The Duce
Exercise, eating and shopping collide at this one-of-a-kind urban playspace. The Duce is a renovated warehouse where patrons can grab a bite and a drink while enjoying fun forms of retro recreation such as ping-pong, “duce bag” (corn hole), shuffleboard and foosball. Wanna break a sweat? Hit the boxing ring. Then peruse the R&R surplus workout clothing line created by owners Steve and Andi Rosenstein, and finish your multi-sensory adventure with a basket of Duce mac and cheese muffins featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. 525 S. Central Ave., 602-866-3823, theducephx.com
3 - ASU Step Gallery
A revamped warehouse makes a great venue for displaying creativity. That idea sparked the move of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts’ Step Gallery from Tempe to Phoenix in January 2014. The gallery is located in Grant Street Studios, and showcases graduate students’ talents in painting, drawing, sculpture, fibers and intermedia, all programs that have been relocated to Phoenix from Tempe. Student work is produced, vetted, critiqued and displayed all in the same facility. 605 E. Grant St., 480-965-7044, art.asu.edu/gallery/step/
4 - Last Exit Live
There are seemingly concert venues on every corner in Downtown Phoenix, but there is something unique about an intimate venue located in a refurbished Last Exit Live Seemingly every street corner in Downtown Phoenix has its own live music venue, but there’s something about an old warehouse that feels particularly well-suited to the task. Owner Brannon Kleinlein previously was the proprietor of Last Exit Bar & Grill in Tempe, a restaurant and indie music hotspot that hosted the likes of the Zac Brown Band and the Gin Blossoms. After that location was shuttered, Kleinlein revived the name Last Exit Live in the form of a management company, and then as a resurrected venue in 2013. October shows include singer/songwriter Justin Currie, indie rockers Cymbals Eat Guitars and Glenn Tilbrook of British band Squeeze. 717 S. Central Ave., 602-271-7000, lastexitlive.com
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