Space Case: Century Grand

Nikki BuchananJanuary 23, 2020
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Photo by Rob Ballard
Photo by Rob Ballard

Jason Asher and Rich Furnari have won major plaudits for their innovative cocktail concepts at Counterintuitive (now closed) in Old Town and immersive, tiki-themed UnderTow (still crazy popular) in pseudo-Arcadia. But their latest venture, a Disney-esque thrill ride that houses three concepts under one roof, indisputably proves how cutting-edge this duo can be. Designed to look like a Prohibition-era train station, the Art Deco environs include Century Grand, a sleek cocktail bar offering a forward-thinking wine program and ’20s-inspired food; Platform 18, a cocktail bar that replicates a Pullman train coach; and Grey Hen saloon, a cozy spirits shop and tasting room. We asked the owners about their inspiration for this tippling triptych.

1 All aboard

Asher and Furnari hired architect Wesley James (of Line Lab) to convert the former Gino’s East pizza pub into their locomotive vision. He also procured all the vintage pieces lying about — luggage, beautiful old bottles and the wooden phone booth in the corner of the platform, which sports a vintage rotary phone.

2 Whiskey room

Grey Hen, commanded by whiskey guru John Christie, looks like an old apothecary shop, where prescriptions for spirits were dispensed during Prohibition. Home to the largest selection of single-barrel spirits in the country, as well as premium Japanese and Irish whiskies (500 expressions in all), it’s a great place to loiter and sip.

3 toot-toot

Platform 18 is a replica of the Ferdinand Magellan, a luxury coach used by U.S presidents. Once aboard, passengers/customers get the full sensory package, including “window” views of a snowy landscape. (Actually hi-def TV screens, fed with footage from the Durango & Silverton Railway in Colorado. “We filmed 10 hours worth,” Asher says.)

4 bar reading

Packed with “worldly” flavors and ingredients ($17-$22), the cocktail menu is tucked inside an embossed, leather-bound book interspersed with snippets of a narrative — “The Man Behind the Curtain” — about Hollis Cottley Pennington, a fictional character who owns an estate and his own private railroad line in Colorado.

5 Train story

The train facade, designed and built by Valley industrial artist Dan Duey, has no hydraulics or tracks, but it blows out smoke and whistles every 90 minutes (signaling a seating change). Pennington was inspired by George Remus, a wealthy lawyer and pharmacist known as the “King of Bootleggers.”

3626 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix


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