The thing about Rose Mofford, Arizona's first female governor who died last week at the age of 94, is that she wasn't just a beloved civil servant with ardent fans on both sides of the aisle.
She was also kind of cool, says Valley Bar owner Charlie Levy. It's why he named the bar of his underground music venue after the late governor.
"Rose Mofford had a style that was her style," Levy says. "I hope Valley Bar has its style."
The Rose Room, as it's officially called, is a dark room with high-top tables and booths filling out a room dominated by a semi-circular bar. The cocktail list honors Arizona politicians, featuring names like "The Janet Napolotini," "That's A Ducey" (after current governor Doug), and "The Stanton" (after Phoenix mayor Greg). Then of course, there's "'The Rose' Mofford," a vodka, violet liqueur, and citrus affair tempered by a splash of rose water. Levy says it's been the most popular drink since the bar opened.
The most striking visual aspect of the Rose Room is the shadow installation above the bar. Floating metal mobiles slowly twirl in front of light bulbs, casting shadows and silhouettes on the wall. Each mobile tells a story from Arizona history, and one of them focuses on Winnie Ruth Judd. One of the figures on the Judd mobile is a nurse, and Levy says that nurse is actually Mofford, who met Judd while working as a nurse at Arizona State Hospital.
Every year on Mofford's birthday, the bar puts the drink on special, spins some of her favorite country-western records, and toasts to her at 9 p.m.
"People called her 'Mother Mofford' because she was kind of the mother of Arizona," Levy says. "And since our whole goal was to make it an Arizona bar, who better to name it after?"
Levy says that Mofford was a natural choice to grace the name of the bar.
"No one exemplifies Arizona in a good way better than Rose Mofford," he says. "When you think Arizona, tough but with manners, honest, tells the truth, and beloved because you do all that — that's Rose Mofford. That's it."
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