First Dish: UnderTow Pop-Up at Hotel Valley Ho

Zachary SpieckerJanuary 29, 2021
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UnderTow was one of Scottsdale’s premier bars before its closure in December due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, that didn’t mean its staff was done working. A new UnderTow pop-up recently opened at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. I took a visit to see how the Valley’s standout tiki bar has fared during the sea changes.

6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale

January 2021

The Scene:
This tropical oasis feels like you’re taking a trip to an island for a little while, and who couldn’t use that right now? The space, large enough to fit multiple socially distanced tables and a small counter for a more authentic bar experience, features lush greenery such as palm trees and other tropical staples. You’ll get a much safer and spaced out experience here than the original UnderTow. A tiki torch sits on every table, adding some fire to your stay. Tropical music plays loudly, but not so loud that you can’t have a nice conversation with the bartender or a date. Like you’re at a luau, smoke fills the room here and there. That is the bar’s literal smoke machine adding a bit of flair to the experience. The focus of the pop-up is tropical cocktails, but UnderTow intends to open a permanent location in March that will offer food. In the meantime, the hotel’s restaurant, ZuZu, offers a pu pu platter that you can order upon reservation if you’re feeling peckish. Reservations are required and can be made here.

The Highlights:
My fiancée and I were immediately enamored of a cocktail menu that had more options than we expected. I ended up with the Rum Barrel and she chose the Bow to the Bird, both of which were $16. Both drinks featured a mix of rum, honey and homemade tiki bitters, featuring a dangerously drinkable, sweet flavor. They were served in special Polynesian glasses, adding just another tropical feel to the place.

The pu pu platter ($35) featured ahi tuna lettuce wraps, veggie spring rolls, chicken wings in a teriyaki sauce, pork shank with a sweet sauce, a pickled salad and a couple of rolls. Whether you choose to simply take a local vacation with a cold drink or indulge in ZuZu’s delicious platter of appetizers, there are plenty of ways for anybody to have a good time at UnderTow’s new pop-up. The tropical experience awaits – but you only have until early March to experience it.

Thursday-Friday: 4 p.m.-midnight
Saturday-Sunday: 1 p.m.-midnight
Monday-Wednesday: Closed


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