It wouldn’t be overstatement to say that 2020 drove us to drink. Off premise and online liquor sales boomed this past year as we stayed away from bars and restaurants — which have had a dismal year by contrast — and drowned our coronavirus sorrows in home-made cocktails. As the owner of perennially popular Park Plaza Liquors & Deli in Prescott, Trevor Phillips could see that opening a boutique liquor store in South Scottsdale might possibly be a damned good idea, even (if not especially) in the worst of times. In fact, he’d been considering just such a plan for years, and he wasn’t about to let a pandemic stop him.
He found a partner in restaurant industry veteran Jeff McDonald, and the two opened their 15,000-square-foot emporium, housed in a former motorsports store on McDowell Road just east of Scottsdale Road, in mid-December. It’s spacious, inviting and splendidly merchandised, the kind of place you could while away an hour looking at obscure labels and bottles or learning wine, beer and spirits lore from the staff, most notably wine director Kirsten Rogge (recently with Breakthrough Beverage) and spirits director John Christie, the Valley’s most famous whiskey aficionado known for his stints at Lobby Bar, Second Story and Grey Hen in Century Grand. Naturally, he has curated a terrific selection of bourbons and scotches and a formidable single barrel program to boot. Oh, but that’s not the end of it. You’ll also find spirt labels you’ve never heard of (the obscure stuff the big box stores won’t invest in) as well as local wines, pricey iconic wines, a walk-in beer cave, a spacious, glass-enclosed humidor and loads of geeky liqueurs for professional and aspiring mixologists. As Christie says about each bottle, “There are so many stories to be told. It’s is somebody’s passion.” Christie’s own passion is infectious. I could listen, taste and learn all day, and there’s a tasting bar near the center of the store in which to do that — more so in the months to come.
Although the store is primarily devoted to retail, it also boasts a wine and beer bar featuring 24 beers and eight wines on tap, plus an additional eight wines by the glass. Customers are also encouraged to grab what they want from the shelves and drink it on premises at retail prices. In the weeks to come, there will be a covered cigar patio out front, a covered beer garden, patio and game area out back and food trucks at night. That’s reason enough to open a little sumthin-sumthin and celebrate!
7340 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale