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THE SCENE When I walk into The Bar’s Gilbert location for a media happy hour, I’m struck by how chill it is. Yes, it’s a bar – The Bar, as its no-frills name downplays – but it’s not rowdy. It’s not kitschy or themed or projecting the forced party atmosphere of a bar where grown-ups try to act like college kids. It’s not a quiet, demure little watering hole, either. It occupies a sweet spot...

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THE SCENE When I interviewed chef Jeremy Pacheco about his home fridge for our July/August issue, he perked up when we discussed his new restaurant, The Genuine. He enthused about the wood-fired oven, the locally sourced meat, the pasta and the veggies. “There will be something for everyone,” he said as we chatted across his kitchen counter. “A nice neighborhood hangout.”   So, when I got an invitation to come in for a media happy hour...

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THE SCENE Bars and restaurants are playing it fast and loose with the word “experience” these days. Calling a dimly lit bar a speakeasy and charging $20 for a cocktail does not an experience make. But over at the Century Grand compound on Indian School and 36th Street – the playground of cocktail innovators Jason Asher, Rich Furnari, Jeff Holland, Mat Snapp, Kailee Asher and Jax Donahue – true experiences abound. At each of Barter...

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Salmon Carpaccio from Zinqué | Photo courtesy The Knight Agency  Father’s Day is fast approaching! Sunday, June 19 is a day dedicated to dear old Dad. No plans? We found a few spots around the Valley offering special deals, including discounts, drinks and all different kinds of cuisine. Dapper & Stout This casual coffeehouse is celebrating Father’s Day across the Valley with a buy one, get one free special. Order a coffee, and Dad gets...

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Pretzel with mustard and beer cheese | Photo by Leah LeMoine   THE SCENE There’s a palpable “neighborhood hangout” vibe at Huss Brewing Co.’s Uptown Taproom + Kitchen. It’s not just the picnic tables on the patio packed with friends catching up after work, or the couples stealing away for early date nights at the low-top tables inside. There are kids squirming in their seats and running back and forth to the adjacent lawn, frolicking...

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THE SCENE “Hidden gem” is one of the most cliché phrases in a food writer’s tattered toolkit, but in S. Maranto’s case, it is literally true. The bright little bistro, a modern spin on a classic Italian American joint, is downright difficult to find in the sprawling Scottsdale 101 shopping plaza at Mayo Boulevard and the 101 – technically in Phoenix, though it’s literal steps from Scottsdale city limits. It’s smack-dab in a sea of...

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THE SCENE When one of your work perks is trying new restaurants and menus, you quickly become the go-to gal for friends’ dining inquiries. Not a week passes that I don’t get a few imploring Facebook messages or frantic texts asking for food recommendations. “I’m in Tempe for an appointment. What’s the best place for a quick lunch?” “In-laws visiting this weekend and they hate fish and spicy food. Any recs in the North Scottsdale...

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THE SCENE In life, we often write off whole categories of experiences when they don’t jibe with our personalities. Afraid of heights? You’re probably passing on roller-coasters at every theme park you visit. Nut allergy? No pecan pie, trail mix or turtle candies for you. Hate exercising in front of strangers? Gyms aren’t your jam, and likely never will be. There’s something refreshing and clarifying about knowing yourself well enough to know what suits you...

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THE SCENE Is there a more played-out cocktail-bar trope than the “speakeasy”? I use quotation marks because so few of these purported speakeasies possess any of the qualities of their historical namesake. Even pre-COVID claustrophobia, the whole cramped, underground bar scene wasn’t my vibe. Give me an open-air space with a fresh breeze and elbow room any day – or night. Finally, a trend seems to be aligning with my selectively social soul: Rooftop bars...

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Photo by Leah LeMoine   THE SCENE While our highs are still depressingly in the 80s – so disheartening for this part of November, no? – the evenings have been getting a little cooler lately. The other night was chilly, dare I say. What better place to while away a few crisp afternoon and evening hours at a media happy hour than the famously pretty patio of Chelsea’s Kitchen? The Arcadia classic is just as charming as ever. Shade trees provide a verdant...

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Photo by Leah LeMoine   THE SCENE The “all-day café” trend that has gripped both coasts has reached Phoenix, and it’s no surprise a California transplant has led the charge. Headquartered in Venice, Zinqué (pronounced zin-kay) is a Golden State-inflected French concept where you can get coffee and pastries in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner and drinks in the evening. In the first two-thirds of the day, it offers counter service. At cocktail hour, it switches to table service, which it also offers during weekend brunch.  ...