Art Burn: SanTan Brewery = a surreal experience

When it comes to restaurant decor, there's nothing worse than walls that never change. If you're only popping by once or twice for a meal, no big deal. But if you enjoy the grub enough to make repeated visits, it would be nice to see something new. 'Cause it sucks when, by your third visit, you've memorized the location of every potted plant and can spot a new water stain on the floral painting in the corner faster than you can say, "I'll have the usual."

Thankfully, the folks at SanTan Brewing Company in Historic Downtown Chandler have cooked up a scheme to keep their art selection fresh. Every Tuesday night, the pub hosts an "Art Slam" featuring local artists and hip-hop music. The result is like the art version of Rorschach's mask in Watchmen -- every time you blink, the selection of paintings and prints on the exposed brick walls seems to change. 

One of the current featured artists is Maynard Breese of Chandler, whose digitally-manipulated photo canvases lined the walls of SanTan's expansive warehouse-chic space on two recent visits -- albeit in different locations (there's that damned Rorschach effect in action!). His work is provocative, especially when Reese combines several filters and techniques to create a Dali-esque surrealism:

Breese's "Play Guitars" doesn't quite have the modern vibe of his other giclee canvas prints, but the vibrant colors and digital brush strokes give the piece a nice "rhythm" -- no pun intended. If a SanTan patron doesn't scap up the $100 print, Breese could always take it over to Carlos Santana's Maria, Maria restaurant at the Tempe Marketplace. 

Besides being a hip, urban hangout space, SanTan has some mighty fine pub grub. Appetizers like wings and soft pretzels offer large portions, which you'll want to soak up some of the signature Red Ale pints you'll likely be downing. There's also a nice selection of soups, salads and burgers, including the incredibly moist and flavorful Kasbah Burger, a ground lamb patty stuffed with dates, pistachios and gouda. Salivating yet??

This burger totally rocks the casbah

The good news is that between the scrumptious eats, trivia contests, live music and rotating art, you'll never get bored at SanTan. Despite the snoozeworthy location (no offense, Chandler, but you recently made Forbes'  Top 10 Most Boring Cities list), the brewery manages to attract young, up-and-coming photographers, taggers and graphic designers. 

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