Things are warming up around Chase Field in preparation for the 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 14.
The downtown Phoenix ballpark will host a face-off between fan-picked players from the National and American leagues, who are bound to knock a few out of the park (and maybe into the stadium's pool).
For hardcore and fair-weather fans alike, the game (and the weekend) is a great excuse to check out a few hotspots downtown. Need a snack, a cold one, or a few things to do before the summer classic kicks off?
We have you covered (no mitt required).
Food & Drink:
The Brits might hose a game of baseball, but they do know a thing or two about the brews that'll get you through the Home Run Derby. This hip downtown pub is stocked with enough brews and booze to keep any baseball fan happy. Imperial pints of Smithwick's, Newcastle, Tetley's, and Guinness and 10 other import and domestic beers are available, as are a dozens of microbrews and other alcoholic delights. And the food's decent enough for any Brit, or baseball fiend, with classic fish and chips, bangers and mash, hefty sandwiches, and beer-friendly appetizers. Come for a bite, and stay for another pint. Rose and Crown is at 628 E. Adams St., call (602) 256-0223
For a more local flavor, check out Vitamin T, where a sampling of tacos, tamales, and tortas will hit the spot left by ballpark popcorn. The CityScape spot's Chef Aaron May serves up a local favorite, the Milanesa torta with crispy chicken in a folded sandwich that's loaded with tasty sauce. If you're avoiding the bird, try the meatless torta with mushrooms and Swiss chard. Both (and everything else on the menu) goes down well with T's assortment of hand-mixed margaritas. Vitamin T at 1 E. Washington St. Ste. 175, call (602) 688-8168.
Discover old Phoenix history in the house Jack Durant built, where class is served alongside classic dishes, including sautéed chicken livers, oysters Rockefeller, lamb chops with mint jelly, and Delmonico steaks. Serious eaters can stuff their way onto a plaque on the wall by polishing off Durant's 48-ounce porterhouse, all while sitting in one of the restaurant's signature leather booths graced by Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and Robert Mitchum. And if you're truly in for the experience, take a walk through the kitchen. Trust us.
Durant's is at 2611 N. Central Ave.. Call 602-264-5967.
This upscale alley hit Downtown's CityScape with a refreshing twist on old-school bowling. The lanes are far from full of church groups and old people smoking cigarettes in a dingy lounge. Rather, two full bars, three pool tables, free Wi-Fi (and a ton of up-scale bar food) serve whoever's knocking pins down at the end of the lane. If you have to wait to play, Live DJs, flat-screen TVs, and exceptional service should make the time fly.
Lucky Strike is at 50 W. Jefferson St.. Call (602) 732-5490
2. Bar Smith
Creativity's out the park at this two-story bar/nighclub. Bottle-tossing mixologists including Chase Crain show off their furious flairtending skills and whip up handcrafted artisan cocktails at the downstairs bar, while DJs spin beats on the rooftop lounge. Be sure to check out the rooftop's large-scale chalkboard where local street artists like Lalo Cota are known to create one-of-a-kind (and very temporary). Be sure to grab a picture of their efforts before last call, as its proprietors tend to erase the creation at the end of the night. Bar Smith is at 130 E. Washington St.. Call (602) 229-1265
(Note: Stay tuned for tomorrow's All-Star Game party rundown.)
Stuff to do:
1. MLB All-Star Game & Weekend @ Chase Field
In case you can't wait for the game to get started, the MLB is hosting a ton of activities and events inside the stadium including an All-Star Legends and Celebrity softball game on Sunday, a work out day on Monday, and a week-long red carpet show.
2. Current Exhibitions @ Local Galleries
If you're ditching a baseball nut at the park all weekend and need a dose of local and international artwork, check out current exhibitions by Mexican Artists Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, and José Clemente Orozco in Modern Mexican Painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection at Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N. Central Avenue), or contemporary Native American artwork by local artists including G. Peter Jemison and Rick Bartow in Extraordinary Animals Revisited at the Heard Museum's Berlin Gallery (2301 North Central Avenue). Or take a drive to Scottsdale to see contemporary site-specific installation work by Lead Pencil Studio's Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (7374 East 2nd Street) and the galleries along Marshall Way.
Downtown's Filmbar serves up a combination of indie films and local brews in equal measure. On tap for Saturday and Sunday: twisted animations from Spike and Mike and Benjamin Heisenberg's marathon thriller The Robber. FilmBar's relaxed atmosphere, great popcorn, and assortment of drinks make it an easy (and airconditioned) escape from the field. FilmBar is at 815 N. 2nd St. Call (602) 595-9187.
Take the opportunity to cool down on Sunday at Cannonball, a weekly pool party hosted by local DJ William Reed at Downtown's Lexington Hotel. The 21-and-over event costs $5, and features a full bar and menu, along with a variety of artwork on display by hotel resident artists Kyle Jordre and Jenny Ignaszewski.The Lexington is at 1100 North Central Ave. Call (602) 252-2100.