Less than a week after Evening Entertainment Group announced its plans to open a new restaurant concept inside one half of the former home of Axis-Radius, Bottled Blonde Pizzeria and Beer Garden opened its doors for a grand opening event.
During the first half of the evening, VIP guests were invited to try a limited menu of pizzas and salads, as well as sample the restaurant's cocktail and beer offerings. We were there to check out Scottsdale's newest dining and drinking spot.
The restaurant's design doesn't quite capture the "East Coast brewery" vibe, but it does achieve a stylish, industrial-chic feel through elements such as a poured concrete bar and touches of corrugated metal.
The front portion of Bottled Blonde features an open-air but partially covered bar with plenty of flat-screen televisions and heaters. Seating options range from booths to barstools and on one side, a pair of seating arrangements decked out with Astroturf for flooring, and "vine covered" walls. On the opposite side of the bar, you'll find a long fireplace and additional tables.
Inside, a bar runs along the back side of the restaurant, along with more tables and booths. Here's where you'll find a handful of games including a beer pong arcade game, skee ball, and darts.
Both bars have a respectable selection of beers on tap, broken down into the following three categories: local, domestic, and import. Local brews include Four Peaks Hot Knot, Kilt Lifter, and Peach Ale; SanTan Devil's Ale and Hefewisen; and Papago Orange Blossom. Other available beers include Lagunitas IPA, Magic Hat #9, Peroni, Stiegl Radler Grapefruit, and Pabst Blue Ribbon, if you're into that. There's also a namesake "Bottled Blonde" beer available (ironically) on tap, brewed up for the restaurant by Chandler's SanTan Brewery.
As far as cocktails go, Bottled Blonde sticks to trendy concoctions -- the small menu features three different takes on a Moscow Mule, a Manhattan, and, interestingly enough, homemade lemoncello. We tried the intriguing "Jameson Breakfast Cocktail" made with the Irish whiskey, lemon juice, maple syrup, and ground cinnamon (the listed "cinnamon stick" was AWOL). Both it and the "Cilantro Mule" ended up being less flavorful than they sounded, but with a slammed bar and presumably new staff, we're willing to let it slide for now.
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The food offerings on opening night were limited to a selection of three salads and seven pizzas. There were classics like "The Pep" with pepperoni, red sauce, and ricotta or "The Margherita" with tomato, burratta, and basil. We went for "The Patata," a promising pizza with olive oil smashed potato, speck, kale, eggs, and chives. The "Swiss Chard Caesar" salad fared better than the pizza, offering fresh greens and a tasty Parmigiano vinaigrette.
For the party-goers out there it's important to note that Bottled Blonde doesn't feature a dance floor, but does have a DJ booth. Once Livewire, the neighboring small concert venue that will take over the rest of Axis-Radius' former space, opens it seems this will be a likable and convenient place to grab a bite and a drink before you head inside.