A beloved Austin-based coffee shop known for its easygoing vibe and espresso drinks kicked up with additions like grapefruit simple syrup has opened its first out-of-state location in downtown Phoenix.
Fleet Coffee & Cocktails quietly started serving coffee beverages and sandwiches in late September, setting up shop on the ground floor of Moontower Phoenix, a new 24-story upscale apartment complex near Roosevelt Row.
The Phoenix location is Fleet Coffee's third and offers the same popular coffees, teas and beverages that made the coffee house famous, like The Ritual, Fleet’s version of a Cortado made with milk infused with Fruity Pebbles.
However, it differs in many ways from its Austin sister shops, according to Fleet Coffee founder Patrick Pierce.
The Phoenix establishment is the only location to offer a beer, wine and cocktails. Its location in a high-rise residential property gives it a different feel and natural customer base that the other standalones don’t have, Pierce says.
There’s a small kitchen onsite which allows Fleet to churn out a succinct food menu of crowd pleasers including a yogurt granola bowl, avocado toast and a turkey, salami and avocado sandwich. Look for the selection to expand over the next few months with an afternoon lineup that features a charcuterie board and pretzels with side accouterments, Pierce says.
Bread comes from Nice Buns Bakery and the milk is from Danzeisen Dairy. Pierce is in the process of partnering with a Valley-based butcher for Fleet’s meat and working on bringing in coffee from local roasters.
“My approach is sourcing the best, high-quality ingredients locally as much as possible,” Pierce says.
The cocktail menu currently features two signature creations but will soon expand to seven. Current offerings include The Ritual Martini, a take on the signature cortado with espresso, Fruity Pebbles milk, Amaro Nonino, cereal-washed vodka and a dusting of crushed Fruity Pebbles. There’s also The Socialite, an ode to the boulevardier that brings together strawberry brine, tawny port, Strega herbal liqueur and coconut milk-washed whiskey. For those craving something old school, classic cocktails are also an option.
Fleet is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and closing time is pushed to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. But Pierce doesn't plan to go any later.
“We’re trying not to become too much of a bar, bar,” Pierce says of the new cafe's evening persona. “The goal is to be a place to have a nightcap or nice glass of wine.”
“When people come in here they say it feels like a really nice hotel,” Pierce says.
Pierce opened his first Fleet in 2016 and opened his second this summer. The soft opening of his Phoenix location will culminate with a grand opening slated for the end of this month.
Pierce’s wife has family in Phoenix and in the numerous visits over the years, he fell in love with the city. In addition to helming Fleet, Pierce is the hospitality director for Austin-based housing developer LV Collective, which is also the developer of Moontower Phoenix.
When the opportunity arose, Pierce felt the time was right to expand his boundaries west to a neighborhood that shared similar artists-forward characteristics as those of his Austin shops.
Having a built-in customer base and location with a lot of foot traffic gives this Fleet location the opportunity to develop relationships with regulars, which Pierce says he looks forward to.
“Coffee is one of those things that people consume every day and it’s great to get to know them every single day,” Pierce says. “It’s honestly been a lot of fun opening in Phoenix.”