Accessible from only an outside staircase next to a smelly garbage dump behind the restaurant, would-be guests must call the number at the bottom of a lengthy set of rules (men can not approach women, only women can approach men; no flash photography; inside voices only) listed on the wall to gain entrance to the crafty cocktail adventure that awaits.
Only 30 people are allowed access through the metal gate and inside the doors to the little loft at one time.
And trust us -- once you're inside, it's sorta hard to leave.
Gin made with 100 proof Absolut vodka double boiled with elderberries and lemon zest right at your table; plush seating; dim lights; and a super friendly staff make staying for "just one more" a hard offer to refuse.
We paid a visit to R + D this past weekend at a media event designed to offer a taste of mixologist Richie Moe's tableside G & T, Citizen's version of an Old Fashioned, and bartender Kris Korf's show stopping Black Blazer: a boozy concoction of Jameson whiskey, black strap molasses rum, and maple syrup that is set on fire and mixed from shaker to shaker as his trusty doorman stands by to make sure he doesn't catch fire. (He informed us that it has only happened once.)
Once the vibrant blue flames gives way to a bright yellow-orange, the drink is poured into a rocks glass and topped off with a float of fresh whipped cream and a little orange zest. The outcome is spectacular and the show is worth the $17 price tag.
R + D, which stands for research and development, will have an ever-changing menu and will not accept reservations -- but don't let the rules, the wait, or the chance of being rejected by the massive door guy stop you from paying a visit to this unique watering hole. It's one experience that should be on everyone's Phoenix bucket list.