A sign — more like a plaque — greets you outside the new Porters Western Saloon. Though dated (in more ways than one), it reads, “Built in 1929 as Scottsdale’s first full time post office, this structure served as a gathering place for local townsfolk …”
Scottsdale native Grey Halpin is making sure that gathering place part stays true. He and his family own The Blue Moose Bar & Grill and the Old Town Gypsy boutique, but they’d been looking for a place to open a bar in the area for about three years.
When the Porters building, which had mostly recently been Porters Western Wear, became available, they went for it.
“We liked the building and the historic nature,” Halpin says. “We really wanted to make it nice, but keep the charm,” referring to assuring the 90-year-old structure was safe and modern, but still fitting for Old Town.
Porters opened on Friday, June 14. Yes, this is the Porters building with the horse on the balcony. And yes, the horse is still there. “We cleaned her up and put her back up there,” Halpin says.
Walking in, there’s a weird sensation: The smell of fresh paint lingers in one of the oldest buildings in what’s dubbed “The West's Most Western Town.”
The best part about Porters is how straightforward it is. Walk in and you get the immediate layout of the narrow, 40-seat establishment. Lengthy bar to the right, high tops to the left, and restrooms in the back. All you need. The only somewhat hidden feature is the internet jukebox tucked away by the men’s room.
Halpin says he’s going for cozy, homey, upscale but not intimidating. Drinks and music, but maybe a game on the two flatscreens.
“It is such a touristy location, but I really want the locals to embrace it,” he says.
The second best part is that cocktail menu. Halpin says he wanted to feature specialty cocktails, something that goes beyond the two-part mixed drink.
Cocktails are named the Sonoran Sunset, the Postmaster, and the Blacksmith (a nod to the still-operating Cavalliere Blacksmith Shop down the street). El Diablo tops the drink menu, promising Arcadia jalapeño vodka, Barrow’s intense ginger liqueur, mango re’al, lime juice, and cilantro. It’s a beautiful shade of yellow and tasty, even if it does go down a little fast. The specialty cocktails are $12.
There’s also happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $5 wells, $5 house wine, and $3 domestic beer.
Despite the fresh paint and clean chalkboard in the back, you can picture the Scottsdale bar gaining some character in the months to come.
Though in full swing like so many saloon doors, Porters is already planning a phase two. New windows and front door are on the way, and it does plan to serve local snacks at some point, like gourmet beef jerky.
The upstairs area, which once housed offices and an apartment (picture the in-wall ironing board), will be modified to serve as a balcony. The 20-seat, second story hangout won’t have a bar, but will have a view of Brown Avenue.
Porters Western Saloon.
3944 North Brown Avenue, Scottsdale; 480-946-0354
11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday