25 spots to eat and drink in downtown Phoenix | Phoenix New Times

Dining Guide: 25 spots to eat and drink in downtown Phoenix

A thorough rundown of dining and drinking options in downtown Phoenix, from morning brew to breakfast, lunch, afternoon pick-me-ups and late-night snacks.
Your guide to downtown dining and drinking.
Your guide to downtown dining and drinking. Lauren Cusimano
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Welcome to Dining Guides, an intermittent series on the many dining hubs around the greater Phoenix area and what they have to offer. From breakfast to happy hour, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today, we zero in on downtown Phoenix.

Downtown Phoenix is a far cry from the strictly-business district of previous years. The Valley’s central downtown area is now busy with restaurants, coffee shops, bars and cafes with more moving in all the time. Many eateries are concentrated along Roosevelt Row, so much so that it deserves its own Dining Guide.

But if you want to venture elsewhere around the downtown area, here are 25 excellent options for everything from coffee to cocktails perfect for any time of day.

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Cartel has a simple yet modern location in downtown Phoenix.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Cartel Coffee Lab

1 N. First St.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., the downtown location of Cartel Coffee Lab is almost always shaded by the surrounding multistory buildings — which makes it feel like a comforting and tucked-away spot for you to refuel. This spot offers espresso, filter drip, and other coffee creations, plus tea, pastries and plenty of outlets.

Serafina Coffee Roasters

45 W. Jefferson St.
Tucked into the historic Luhrs Tower building on Jefferson Street, Serafina Coffee Roasters is a gem for both its coffee options and its quirky, welcoming atmosphere. Step inside and order a latte made with locally roasted organic Arabica beans and settle in at a table underneath dangling plants in this sunlight-filled space.

Songbird Coffee & Tea House

812 N. Third St.
Step inside a historic house constructed in 1904 to grab your coffee. Songbird's quaint and comfy setting lends a homey vibe to a community-focused coffeehouse. Order a cold brew infused with honey or cocoa, or choose from one of their 25-plus loose-leaf teas to pair with a house-made pastry or breakfast sandwich. A friendly and familiar barista is likely to greet you. Songbird regularly hosts Valley poets, musicians, artists, and writers to boot.

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If the French toast special is available at Matt's Big Breakfast, order it.
Tirion Boan

El Norteño

1002 N. Seventh Ave.
So much grease slides off the flautas here that you could probably start a fire with it if you were so inclined. Is that a bad thing? Hell, no. Particularly when it comes to Mexican fast food. El Norteño might not look like much from the outside, but it delivers on solid machaca, chorizo, Sonoran enchiladas and one of the best breakfast burritos in the entire city. You can't beat the homestyle daily specials, like breakfasts, which include huevos rancheros, plus inexpensive lunch plates and dinners. The joint is takeout only unless you want to eat al fresco on the little weathered patio.

Matt's Big Breakfast

825 N. First St.
Matt's is a renowned downtown breakfast joint open since 2004. Half a block north of its original location, the newer spot offers more seating for the folks lined up out the door. A down-home breakfast is what you'll get here, with classics and contemporaries like the massive breakfast burrito, griddle cakes with sweet cream butter and real maple syrup and the Chop & Chick — a skillet-seared pork rib chop served with two eggs, toast and potatoes.

Stoop Kid

901 N. First St.
The Churchill, downtown Phoenix’s collection of shipping containers, is often more of an evening destination complete with its multiple bars. But Stoop Kid makes a very convincing argument that it’s also the perfect place for breakfast. Stop in at the small business for a bagel sandwich to start your day right. Bagels are provided by Bagelfeld’s — a spot recently named home of some of the best bagels in the country by Bon Appetit. The masterminds at Stoop Kid turn them into craveable sandwiches filled with artisan cheeses and gooey eggs.

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Monroe's Hot Chicken is a must-stop for lunch.
Chris Malloy

Ingo’s Tasty Food

101 E. Washington St. Suite A
The downtown location of Arcadia staple Ingo’s Tasty Food embodies the perfect business lunch. Order at the counter downstairs and find a seat around the bar, on the lower level or up a flight of stairs on the modern mezzanine. Grab an order of homemade potato chips to nibble on while you wait for a fresh salad, sandwich or burger. Coffee is served all day and happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. if your business lunch runs into the afternoon.

Monroe's Hot Chicken

45 W. Jefferson St.
Pickles. Chicken. Heat. That's what's for lunch at Monroe's, founded by Larry White, the man behind Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles. Modeled after the Nashville-style hot chicken meals that have become a trend from coast to coast, this chicken packs the kind of intensity you want when skipping the bagged lunch al desko. The chicken gets a heavy breading. You could probably design maps of each piece's varied landscapes. All that furrowed, contorted, brown-fried casing doesn't have the shatter you would expect — but there, rising hard and fast, comes the heat. The secret is to dig in before the pepper sauce that makes the chicken molten sogs the exterior. If you get a chicken sandwich, the slaw will control the fire and lend a nice snap. However you do Monroe's, you're in for a downtown lunch with the personality to make your day better.

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Coastal Mediterranean plates and playful cocktails are on the menu at Eden, Kimpton Hotel Palomar's refreshed rooftop.
Afternoon Snack

Cornish Pasty

7 W. Monroe St.
It's hard to visit a Cornish Pasty location without ordering and devouring a whole pasty or a big salad, but the unique appetizers section of the menu is ideal for a quick bite before a performance, game, concert or whatever's on the docket. There's the Spanakopita Cocktail Pasties — two mini spinach and feta spanakopita pasties with a side of tzatziki sauce — or the Scotch egg, Cornish meatballs, or wings (we recommend the tandoori). The Ploughman’s Plate is also perfect to split among a small group. Plus, there's beer and booze if you're trying to pregame.

Eden Rooftop Bar

2 E. Jefferson St.
When the weather is nice, there’s no better place to take in the downtown atmosphere than from a rooftop bar. Before dinner, head to Eden for a snack and a sip. The breezy, beachy bar opens daily at 11 a.m. and serves craft cocktails and a food menu inspired by the Mediterranean. Order a hummus plate or some lamb meatballs to share and sit at the central bar or grab a table along the tree-lined ledge to sneak a peek of the downtown views.

Via Della Slice Shop

222 N. Fifth Ave.
If you’re downtown for a show or a game, stop into Villa Della Slice Shop for a snack ahead of time. The brick-walled pizzeria opens at noon Thursdays through Sundays and sells pizza by the slice, perfect for satisfying all hunger levels. Try the Vodka pizza which trades traditional tomato sauce for a creamy, rich alternative spiked with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Another favorite is the Phoenix, topped with spicy soppressata and hot honey. Wings, salads, calzones and sandwiches are available as well as bottled beer, wine, cider and soda.

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Sink into the Old West vibes during happy hour at Dust Cutter.
Dust Cutter
Happy Hour

Dust Cutter

100 N. First St.
Housed inside the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, Dust Cutter offers a contemporary take on quintessential Southwest cowboy culture. With herringbone-patterned hardwood floors, lots of leather, buffalo chaps, and even a "modern campfire," consider happy hour an adventure into the Old West. Do-si-do in from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays, and make yourself comfy with half-off appetizers including hummus, a tomato and herb flatbread, nachos and Jalapeno Haboob Fries. Select beers and wines are $6.

The Arrogant Butcher

2 E. Jefferson St., #150
Part of the Fox Restaurant Concepts family, The Arrogant Butcher is perfect for a pop-in during happy hour. There are your classic soft pretzels and nachos, or customers can elevate their happy hour with shrimp cocktails, salmon rillettes, seabass ceviche and oysters. The food options are perfect for pairing with craft brews ($5) well drinks and wine specials ($6) and cocktails like a mule, a marg or an old fashioned ($7).

The Vig

606 N. Fourth Ave.
The Vig is a well-known neighborhood hangout, and its Fillmore location is right in the heart of the city. Its happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and offers food, wine, and "Vignature" cocktail specials. Choose between pork or chicken tacos, nachos or a pub pretzel and grab an accompanying glass of red or white. Many of the aforementioned cocktails are $10. Try the Vig Manhattan made with Four Roses bourbon, sweet vermouth, black walnut bitters and a homemade stout reduction. The Vig Fillmore has a spacious patio with lots of room for dining, sipping, socializing and generally enjoying the Phoenix weather.

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Grab a pie at The Desmond, downtown's pub and pizzeria.
Tirion Boan


603 N. Fifth Ave.
The restored 1913 bungalow that houses this Italian joint, complete with hardwood floors, exposed brick and a fireplace, sets the mood for a rustic dining experience. Hang inside or watch the animated city zoom past on the beautiful patio. The menu is perfect for sharing at Cibo and we recommend starting with a fresh salad packed with pears and honey or crispy parsnips and chickpea dressing. For a warmer way to start, pick the Arancini, a hearty appetizer of golden brown balls of rice sitting atop a bright tomato sauce. A few pastas are available at dinner, but the star here is the pizza with around 25 different pies to pick from.

The Desmond

1 N. First St. #103
Can’t decide if you want to go to a British pub or a pizzeria? The Desmond has got you covered. Slide up to the bar in this funky downtown spot and order a Guinness while you peruse the menu. Pick a pie pilled high with prosciutto and burrata, a cheesy panini or a fresh salad loaded with seasonal veggies. Bumping music keeps the party going at this pizza and pints destination.

Moira Sushi Bar & Kitchen

215 E. McKinley St., #102
Moira is open until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, which is still late by Phoenix standards. The weekends are when you can dine late into the night, with sashimi, gyoza, and udon noodle soup served until the wee hour of 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Moira draws on Japanese influences and global inspirations for a vast selection of sushi, makimono (picture a sushi roll laid out piece by piece, horizontally), and hot kitchen items like golden curry and shiritaki (angel hair tofu noodles with veggies in a sweet citrus sauce). Grab some sake or wine to accompany your Japanese fare, and say sayonara to any notion of getting home near bedtime.

Sin Muerte

817 N. First St.
For a vegetarian meal where meat lovers won’t miss a thing, head to Sin Muerte. The historic building is dark and moody, delivering a sharp contrast to its bright and fresh food. Everything at Sin Muerte is vegetarian and many dishes can be made vegan upon request. Start with a warm plate of stewed Moroccan chickpeas before sharing Enoki mushroom calamari or a hearty plate of fries loaded with jackfruit and all the fixings. Cocktails, unique wines and classic beers are also available along with an outstanding homemade lemonade.

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At The Rose Garden, each cocktail comes photo-ready.
Nikki Charnstrom

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

1 W. Jefferson St.
Ask any cocktail lover about downtown Phoenix drinking destinations and they'll likely point you toward Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour. Each year, a new menu drops with countless options ranging from classic to beyond creative all mixed and stirred with top-quality ingredients. If it's your first visit, pick a winner from the Bitter Hall of Fame such as the Mr. Hendricks, a refreshing sip with gin, cucumber and lime or the frosty Coupette Colada blended with house-churned coconut sorbet. Pro tip: Shorten your wait for a seat by joining the waitlist online.

Garden bar

822 N. Sixth Ave.
If you want to sip cocktails made with care in an inviting, homey atmosphere, there’s no better spot in downtown Phoenix than Garden Bar. The historic bungalow invites guests to gather on the front porch, find a cozy nook in the living room or sip away the evening on the back patio. The cocktail menu rotates with the seasons but recent favorites include the bright-green Pistachio Daiqiri and the tequila-based Cuppa Cold Coffee.


40 N. First St.
This department store turned restaurant and bar is a classic drinking and dining spot in downtown Phoenix. Hanny's is usually bustling, with a crowd ranging from couples on date night to corporate groups grabbing a drink. Martinis are a mainstay here and they join a menu of classic cocktails perfect for pairing with a pizza, shrimp cocktail or steak sandwich. If you're looking to elevate your evening, Hanny's wide selection of Scotch has got you covered. Pro tip: Don't forget to go downstairs to see the dolls.

Liar’s Club

922 N. Sixth St.
If you’re hungry for a late-night snack, Liar’s Club serves trays filled with square slabs of deep-dish pizza. But the cocktails are a level above. These craft creations sport names like Blowing Smoke, No Legged Dog and Pants On Fire. The signature cocktail, called the In Cahoots, is made with rum, sherry, cream and pineapple among a host of other mix-ins. This indulgent tipple is reminiscent of eggnog, available year-round.

The Rose Garden

101 N. First Ave.
Deep blue and emerald-toned fabrics, floral wallpaper and golden picture frames create an elegantly vintage feel at this downtown Phoenix cocktail bar. At the center of the room, a large peacock rests on a golden perch surrounded by a circle of pendant lights. Craft cocktails each include a laundry list of ingredients and come with a photo-ready finish at The Rose Garden.

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Gracie's Tax Bar is an essential downtown dive.
New Times Archive

Gracie's Tax Bar

711 N. Seventh Ave.
Leave it to metal singer and longtime restaurant industry pro Grace Perry to give us the pitch-perfect downtown dive. Gracie's Tax Bar, right on the edge of downtown, comes complete with cozy booths, a stuffed javelina, cheap beer, mixed drinks and a now-famous patio.

Seamus McCaffrey's Irish Pub and Restaurant

18 W. Monroe St.
Seamus McCaffrey's is dark and divey, and the food is better than you'd think. The fish and chips are good roughly 85% of the time, but if you're looking for total consistency, the chicken pot pie is a safe bet. The bartenders are friendly and will never let you sit with an empty beer for long, and we've never seen a bad Guinness pour. Look around and take in the place's Irish bric-a-brac, which includes old healthy Guinness campaign signs and a map of Ireland broken out by county.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on March 19, 2019. It was updated on July 17, 2023.
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