"Everybody breaks up at Pomodoro's," uttered Jerry Seinfeld, referring to what in the show is one of New York City’s popular dumping stations, Pomodoro Rosso, in the Seinfeld episode “The Susie.”
If you have rehearsed your reasons and committed them to memory, all you really need is the place — a.k.a. a good spot in town to let someone down easy. If a home visit isn’t warranted, and you’re not the type of person to send a termination text, consider one of the many dark restaurants, patio eateries, or bars when you can make a clean break.
The formula is simple.
Dark, of course, and maybe even a bar you can escape to. Other great breakup factors include the possibility of being outside if outdoor voices are needed, zero possibility of there being loud live music, and maybe even the ability to pay at the counter. You want absolutely no valet (who wants to be left on the curb too long?).
So here you have it. Here are the best restaurants and bars in Phoenix for a breakup.
128 East Roosevelt Street
Roosevelt Row's favorite bar and bistro has certainly set the scene a first date or special occasion, but it can be so much more. It can certainly be your setting for a clean break. Carly's Bistro has a list of rotating draft and bottled craft beer, wine, and signature cocktails to lighten the mood, as well as a full menu of snacks and entrees if you’re trying to kill some time or at least pick up one last check. The exit dumps you right onto Roosevelt Street, usually bustling with other bars and people, in case you need to make a run for it. It’s also about 300 yards east of the nearest Valley Metro Rail station. With local artwork, performers, and views of Roosevelt Street, Carly’s creates a warm setting in case you suddenly find yourself single at the table.
Cornish Pasty Co.
Cornish Pasty Co., no matter the location, checks all the boxes. Dark, loud enough music where you can get a little riled up, but zero chance of a band. There’s booze and craft beer, and you can enjoy heavy foods like the rosemary steak pasty and garlic and herb roasted red potatoes without the chance of sex later. Plus, the Tempe location on University Drive has a second bar area called The Beast, where you can duck in after you settle the bill to have a few and breathe easy.
5819 West Glendale Avenue, Glendale
Old Towne Glendale is teeming with restaurants, yes, but an ideal spot for ending a relationship is Cuff. A modern little eatery across from Velma Teague Branch Library, Cuff offers intimate indoor seating, ideal for some personal conversation, and a charming patio in case things get heated. You’re also encouraged to pair your fried shrimp po’boy with signature cocktails like the Barrel Cuff Sour, Glendale Thistle, or the Cuff Bloody Mary as a treat to yourself during this difficult time. Plus, the surrounding historic district gives you a chance to walk it off after and maybe blow off some steam.
2611 North Central Avenue
Durant's might be Phoenix’s answer to Pomodoro Rosso. This historic Phoenix restaurant is practically pitch-black inside once you head in through the “famous” back/kitchen door. Just avoid the bustling bar area if you need to start or continue the serious conversation. Plus, if you’re feeling extra guilty, you can definitely treat your former squeeze to some top sirloin or chicken Marsala. What’s more, cellphones are only allowed in the lounge area, so you’ll definitely have someone’s full attention.
The Gladly2201 East Camelback Road
The Gladly restaurant and whiskey bar in the Biltmore neighborhood is known for a list of over 250 whiskeys, including domestic and worldwide brands, plus single malt scotch, a.k.a. breakup fuel. Once you spoil yourself with liquid courage, you’re free to unleash. Enjoy plates like brown butter tuna, crispy fish tacos, and parsley garlic chicken with zero worry over whether you have gum on you. And a pro tip, the seven-hour happy hour has $8 cocktails on draft in case you feel guilty enough to pay. The best part here is the expansive patio. Using an outdoor voice may settle the dispute more quickly.
40 North First Street
This downtown department store turned restaurant and bar is another good spot for the relationship to stop. Hanny's is usually busy enough and full of chatter that no one will overhear your issues of commitment, and if someone does decide to make a scene, most people probably wouldn’t notice that either. There’s an expansive menu of classic cocktails, as well as shareable plates, even if that does seem to be a little ironic here. There are also multiple exits, and the attentive wait staff is quick with the check because really, what could be more awkward? There are also public transit routes all around you, in case you need to hop on the bus, Gus.
5651 North Seventh Street
Another lateral to Pomodoro's, Mora Italian is a progressive Italian restaurant in central Phoenix’s Seventh Street dining corridor. (That means you can hook down to The Womack or Pomeroy’s for a relieving drink after the ordeal.) Overseen by TV chef Scott Conant, Mora can be a beautiful spot to break the news — especially if you’d like to stay friends. Start with wine or a craft cocktail, and go in for the pasta dishes like lobster gnudi, rigatoni verde, and signature al pomodoro. It's comfort food for before the blow, or after. The only regret you may have, aside from swiping right in the first place, is missing the budino. You may not want to stick around for dessert.
3243 North Third Street
Outdoor areas making use of native desert flora can create a soothing environment for a tough conversation – especially if there are like, couches. Midtown’s Ocotillo Restaurant has four outdoor spaces: the chef’s garden, the mesquite terrace, the beer garden, and Lucy’s lawn. Live music can ease, but not drown out, your list of cons and quibbles. Pair this heavy talk with a signature cocktail, a glass of wine, or a craft beer. If things are still friendly, try splitting an order of the mesquite grilled Ocotillo chicken.
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There’s enough activity at any one of the five locations of The Vig to distract from a somewhat intense conversation. Trust us, your breakup is not more important than a buzzed bocce tournament. The late-night menu starts at 10 p.m., in case you’ve been breaking up for seven hours and are just starving at this point. Think crispy calamari, hot wings, and grilled fish tacos over the “it’s not you, it’s me” routine. Plus, there’s wine, beer, and "Vignature" cocktails to keep the truth coming.
Yucca Tap Room
29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
On a slow night, the two-chambered Yucca Tap Room is an ideal spot to cut ties. It’s dark on both the stage side, and in the Whiskey Lounge. Go dutch on an order of fried chicken bao from Bao Chow and state your grievances. The best part? You can close out your tab, and just head to the neighboring door. A closed door normally divides the two sides completely. Also, there’s plenty of parking, and ride shares are pretty good at finding the place, so you can easily just bail. What’s more, there’re two bars across the street — Monkey Pants and Time Out Lounge — in case you really need to put in some distance.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2018. It was updated on August 10, 2019.