Best Place to Buy Tea 2022 | Cha Cha's Tea Lounge | Food & Drink | Phoenix
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Patricia Escarcega

There are a host of reasons to stop by Cha Cha's Tea Lounge on Grand Avenue. The long menu is packed with sweet and herbaceous teas served by the cup. It's the perfect place to get cozy with a book. And poetry and live music nights often pack the house. But a small shelf in the back of the cafe holds wonders. We love to sip on a cup of tea and get a nosh like a hummus plate or avocado toast, then go shopping. Little brown paper bags of loose-leaf teas range from $5 to $10 and allow customers to bring the tea shop experience home. Try some matcha, a smokey oolong, or a classic, bergamot-tinged Earl Grey.

Lauren Cusimano

Wren House Brewing Co. has somewhat of a cult following, and for good reason. This little brewery, located in a black-and-white bungalow on 24th Street, brews some of the best beer in town. In 2020, Wren House's Spellbinder IPA beat out 376 other hoppy brews from around the country to take home the gold at the Great American Beer Festival. Its popular Valley Beer is sold at grocery and liquor stores around Arizona. Recently, the brewers opened a new production facility in Prescott to keep up with demand. But lucky for Phoenix locals, the taproom continues to pour pints with a cozy, casual atmosphere you want from a friendly neighborhood brewery. The taproom offers merch and cans for sale, food trucks often park outside, and the friendly brewery cat, Gravy, usually says hello.

Located in the old Easley's Fun Shop building on McDowell Road, new brewery Roses by the Stairs had big shoes to fill. But the space has transformed from costume emporium into a beer-fueled neighborhood hangout. The large, airy space welcomes customers to grab a table or a spot on the scattered sofas and chairs, pick out a board game to play with friends, and sip on a flight of freshly brewed beers. The tap list is heavy on sours, fruit-filled ales, and IPAs as the business focuses on using local ingredients like prickly pears and Arizona-grown grains. In addition to serving great beer, Roses by the Stairs also donates a percentage of its revenue to environmental and local organizations.

Natasha Yee

Greenwood Brewing, located in the heart of downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row, has a pretty small indoor seating area. That's because almost all of the tables are outside. Two large patios flank the brewery, one offering the shade of a large tree and customers hanging out with their four-legged friends. The other has a more urban feel, complete with string lights, misters, loudspeakers, and a view into the behind-the-scenes action of the brewhouse. Indoors or on either patio, customers can sip Greenwood's selection of rotating seasonal brews including the summery Blueberry Wheat and a Grapefruit Kolsch as well as its flagship beers such as the Herstory Pale Ale, Sol Oatmeal Stout, and Essence Rosemary IPA. Whether you're sipping away the afternoon or grabbing a quick pint before a downtown show, Greenwood is the spot to hang out outside.

Lauren Cusimano

Nothing causes a frenzy in the Phoenix beer scene like a Las Frescas release. When Wren House Brewing Co. takes to social media to announce a new flavor of its coveted fruit brew series, fans immediately get excited. Online orders are placed, a line for pickups has been known to form around the small bungalow brewery, and the limited quantities sell out quick. Las Frescas started as thick, smoothie-like brews made with fresh fruit and lactose, giving them a milkshake-like flavor. During the pandemic, when customers switched to buying cans to go rather than pints on tap, the recipe was tweaked to make the beers more shelf-stable. Now, they resemble sours instead of milkshakes, but they remain equally in demand. Brightly colored labels hint at the flavors inside, ranging from guava strawberry to mango passionfruit and cherry apricot with vanilla. These brews are released mostly throughout the summer.

Coffee is often an ingredient found in dark beers such as stouts and porters. Cream ales bring light, vanilla aromas and soft flavors to the table. Walter Station Brewery's Coffee & Cream Ale provides the perfect balance of both. Imagine if a frothy iced latte was a beer. It's creamy, tinged with vanilla and notes of coffee, and malt brings a hint of caramel to the party. This ale is the exact opposite of a fizzy lager with lime. Find it in cans, or if you're especially lucky, occasionally on draft at the brewery in nitro form. The infusion of nitrogen creates tiny bubbles that make it hard to believe a bartender rather than a barista poured this drink.

Tom Reardon

Far Away Wine and Provisions is a true hidden gem. The tiny strip mall space is jammed in between a boba shop and an optician on Indian School Road. But the small size indicates nothing about the offerings. One wall, stretching from the front of the bar to the back, is lined with shelves overflowing with unique bottles of wine. The by-the-glass menu rotates and offers reds, whites, rosés, and orange wines. And the food menu packs a punch. Owners Chris French and Pat Jasmin run the joint, so ask anyone for a recommendation and you'll end up with a perfectly paired glass and snack. The decor is music-themed, so make sure to look around and enjoy a painting of Elvis on black velvet, vintage punk and New Wave band posters, and a selection of vinyl records.

If you're out for a bachelorette party in Old Town Scottsdale, Wine Girl is inevitably on the schedule of events. So if you show up at the new hotspot, be prepared to be surrounded by brides-to-be and their upbeat bridal parties at this girls-trip destination. There are Instagram-friendly backdrops, a rope swing, neon signs, cute merch, and of course, plenty of options to rosé the day away. Whether you live in Scottsdale or are just visiting, don your best pastel-colored brunch outfit and pretend to be a socialite for the day. Sip on a glass of prosecco with a frozen popsicle inside or pair a bottle of Kim Crawford with a hummus plate, charcuterie board, or pesto flatbread perfect for sharing with the girls — the wine girls, that is.

Patricia Escarcega

Escape the city with a glass of wine on the patio at Garage-East. Here, the hours slip away and conversation flows along with the wine. Co-owner Brian Ruffentine traded a high-intensity career of fighting fires to open the laid-back wine bar with his wife, Megan. The bar finds its home in the second building of Barnone, a collaborative space in Gilbert where many local small businesses sell their wares. Inside, the bar embodies the barn vibe, with plenty of wood paneling. Outside, the feel is more pastoral, with white picket fences, Adirondack chairs, and string lights. The wine list is long and ever-rotating. The Garage East Tempranillo is a favorite, along with the unique "cocktail wine" creations including the bright orange, herbal Sonoran Spritz and the fruit-infused Breakfast Wine. Brunch, sandwiches, and boards help keep the wine going down smoothly throughout the day.

Walking into the downtown Phoenix location of Hidden Track Bottle Shop is like entering an extremely modern cave. The square concrete space has no windows, a choice made to protect the precious bottles from the harmful sun. But once your eyes adjust, take in the view of rows and rows of bottles of wine. Whether you're looking for a crisp white to enjoy in the afternoon, or a deep red to pair with a hearty meal, Hidden Track is ready with a recommendation and a bottle. Head next door to the adjoining Hidden Track Cafe and pick up some imported European snacks and some funky cheese sure to wow any dinner party guest. An uptown location of the wine store celebrated its grand opening this fall.

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