Day Drinker: Wood, Lavender, and Sunshine at The Coach House

Who says you have to wait until the sun goes down to have a good time?

Today, my day drinking gal pal Tana I are off to explore a lead from one of our day drinking cyber-chums, Ginger Spice: The Coach House. Thanks, Ginger!

First, I should confess I have a love/hate relationship with Scottsdale. For every awe-inspiring visit to SMoCA, there's been a time when I've been dragged to Axis/Radius, Gluteus/Maxiumus, or some other crap-ass club where Ed Hardy and Juicy C. are making out by the ho-pole, stopping only to ask me if I have any snort. For every smiling patron enjoying a leisurely lunch at Cafe Monarch, there's a $2,000 pure-bred pooch wearing a Burberry sweater and gulping down a $5 cupcake outside of Sprinkles. You get the idea.

Then we pulled up to the Coach House.

"Oooh, I love this place!" Tana exclaims as we pull into its dirt parking lot. I had to agree.

Old school cool, the tiny, wooden structure looked like a time-traveling tornado had plopped it down in the land of ScOz from the wild, wild west. We explore the outdoor pub porch, then duck inside to grab our first cold ones of the morning.

Inside, it's all T.D.C. (tiny, dark and cozy), save for the light of the Simpson's pinball machine, a couple of TVs, and what appears to be a Coach House T-shirt wall display case. Tana and I share grins and belly up to the wood, thirsty for Buds.

"This place get pretty busy at night?" I ask our blue-shirted bartender, Marty.

"Busiest place in Scottsdale."

Marty tells us he's the rookie barkeep at The Coach House. Shy and soft-spoken, he's six months new, a hire after a fire.

"A couple women have been working here for 25 years," he says shaking his head, "and the place has been around since 1959."

Talk about enjoying your work.

With the day just starting and the sun up to greet us, we make our way outside to the drinking porch to enjoy our brews and watch the working suckers drive up and down Indian School Road. There's a few grizzled regulars there to meet us with friendly smiles and respectful head-nods. One dons a Coach House ball cap, the other a T-shirt that reads, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happy Hour." Nice.

The group of us watch a blaring ambulance and fire truck stopped at the intersection to allow a completely-unaware SUV driver to blow by. The old-schooler's grunt disapprovingly. Tana and I do the same, less grunting, more tsk-tsk's.

Time for another round and a bathroom break, not necessarily in that order. I re-enter the historic hidey-hole, make my way through small, darkened hallway and open the door to the restroom.

Sweet lavender Jesus.

You'd think I'd just come from the poppy fields of ScOz and entered some upside down world of public-restroom-meets-grandma's-bedspread. Lavender walls, lavender doors, lavender tiles -- the color hit me so hard when I walked in, I swear I could smell lavender. I'm not sure what a lavender bathroom was doing in Scottsdale's oldest tavern, but the décor change was enough to wake up this lazy cowgirl.

Back out on the porch, Tana and I are enjoying the weather, the regulars, and a couple more cold ones. Yep, looks like I'm on the lovin' side of Scottsdale today.

Whoops, spoke too soon.

Fighting back the reaction to either laugh or launch our breakfasts, Tana and I watch two rich dudes playing let's-find-our-oldest-pair-of-$300-jeans-and-pretend-we're-scumbags jump out of a white Mercedes convertible and strut up to the porch. One guy looks like D&G's version of a strip club owner, the other was sporting (seriously) a red bandana, tight blue jeans, and a denim shirt with the sleeves cut off, which he might have gotten away with had they not screamed, "brand new!" and "dry-cleaned!"

"Hey," Mr. D&G strip club owner says to us as he walks by wearing his $500 sunglasses, taking a seat close enough to us poor folk so he can hear when the uprising will start, but far enough away so that our ordinary-ness won't infect him.

Tana looks at me and we both do an eye-roll. Time to leave the "hate-it" part of Scottsdale so the "love-it" part, it's Coach House, stays in-tact.

The Coach House
7011 East Indian School Road, Scottsdale

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