From the outside, Cornish Pasty Co.'s soon-to-open downtown Phoenix location might not look like much. As you stand on Monroe Street just west of Central Avenue facing south, there'd be no way to know that this isn't just the fourth Valley Cornish Pasty Co. restaurant — but rather an eatery, pub, and lounge rolled into one with the capability to accommodate about 100 guests on three floors of dining and drinking space.
We took a tour of the restaurant earlier this month and despite the unfinished floors, half-finished bars, and mostly empty kitchens, it's clear Cornish Pasty downtown partners Jimmy Downey, Dean Thomas, and Aaron Davies have pretty much thought of it all.
"I'm slightly biased, but I really think it's something special," Downey says.
On the restaurant's main floor, you'll find a small seating area, the restaurant's open kitchen, a patio (with views of Monroe Street and well-loved Irish pub Seamus McCaffrey's), plus the smallest of Cornish Pasty Co.'s three bars. Behind the bar customers will be able to watch chefs prepare the restaurant's signature pasties — those are the Cornish hand pies that can be filled with either savory or sweet ingredients — and watch the action at the to-go window off Monroe.
Soaring ceilings and large front window give this front room plenty of light, and an eclectic mix of vintage light fixtures dangle from the exposed wooden beams.
Up a flight of stairs you'll find the second bar: a hand-carved wooden beauty with 30 seats and 24 taps that serves as the centerpiece for the main dining room. Downey says he hopes the upstairs will have a pub-like feel, with seating around the bar for diners, as well as community-style dining and perhaps, pool tables. The upper floor also stretches east to Central Avenue, so the owners hope to install windows that will look out on the street and the Hilton Garden Inn.
Finally, head downstairs and you'll come to the Cornish Pasty Co.'s lounge, which takes over the space once occupied by Monroe's Food & Fine Spirits. Until the mid-2000s, the basement bar served as a tucked-away watering hole for downtown Phoenicians, and now the Cornish Pasty Co. owners hope to give it new life. The original copper-topped bar is still in place and — with a little sprucing up — it will serve as the centerpiece for the lower level. Red casino carpet, tufted booths, and a stained glass window salvaged from the former tenant will round out the space with historical touches.
And because it's a basement bar, there will be a "speakeasy entrance" accessible from a side alley.
As for the menu, fans can expect the same lineup of pasties, soups, sides, and salads found at the restaurants in Tempe, Gilbert, and Mesa. The owners plan to serve food late — until at least 1 a.m. And Downey, who brings experience from Tempe's Casey Moore's to the project, plans to introduce an elevated cocktail menu at the downtown restaurant.
Cornish Pasty Co. downtown is expected to open sometime next month, though Downey says he's not sure of a specific timeline yet. For updates, check the Cornish Pasty Co. Facebook, and for more information, check the Cornish Pasty Co. website.
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