Old Town Scottsdale is a special place where, within just a few square miles, you can find some of the Valley's few-remaining fine dining restaurants and some of metro Phoenix's most popular spots for over-priced well drinks served with a generous side of loud music. This dichotomy makes the area a popular destination for visitors and party-goers, if somewhat of a pain for those who prefer a quiet but cool place to linger over a good glass of wine.
Which is why it's so refreshing to have found Scapegoat Beer & Wine nearly hidden in a skinny storefront off Fifth Avenue. The tiny bar is about two months old and offers the perfect antidote to Old Town's higher-energy and higher-priced options.
As indicated by the name, Scapegoat serves just beer and wine, though the lists of each should be enough to satisfy most drinkers. Oenophiles can select from about 15 reds, whites, sparkling wines, and rosés, which range in price from $7 for a glass of Oregon pinot noir to $13 for a glass of California-made zinfandel. Anything by the glass can also be had by the bottle, and with the cheapest bottle coming in under $30, it's tempting to go all in on any visit.
Beer options run the gamut from local standards such as Huss Brewing's Magic in The Ivy and Papago Orange Blossom to less ubiquitous pours from breweries including Duvel, Lagunitas, Oskar Blues, and Bell's.
Best of all is Scapegoat's concise food menu. Written by Crudo and Okra chef Cullen Campbell, the wine bar's menu includes elevated but still unpretentious options like marinated olives, "nuts and such," a meat and cheese board, and a croque monsieur.
The lemony house marinated olives ($3) offered just the right touch of rosemary, but couldn't help but be outshined by an order of gougère ($7). These puffy French pastries take choux dough (as in, the same stuff used to make éclairs) and combines it with cheese. The result is something similar to those incredibly addicting cheese biscuits from Red Lobster — except lighter, more airy, and with the perfect balance of cheese to sea salt. The order comes with a side of red pepper dipping sauce that you'll want to spread on each bite for an added kick.
The G.O.A.T. ($11) is advertised on the menu as being the "best croque monsieur in the state," and while we can't attest to that fact, we can say we were more than satisfied with this sandwich. Covered in a layer of crisp, melted cheese, the hot ham and cheese made a perfect pairing for a glass of acidic white wine.
With its intimate atmosphere and approachable selection of food and drink, Scapegoat takes after neighborhood bars like the Whining Pig. At these watering holes, you can count on friendly service and the perfect environment for gathering friends for a leisurely drink — provided, that is, you can nab a seat.
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Scapegoat, located at 7150 East Fifth Avenue, offers happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., during which time you can snag $3 off glasses of wine and $2 off beers. The bar is open Wednesday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight and from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.