Downtown Phoenix cocktail spot Garden Bar is for sale | Phoenix New Times

A top Phoenix cocktail bar is for sale. Here's what to know

The bar will remain open for the next six to eight weeks.
Garden Bar's menu rotates with the seasons, including these spring tipples.
Garden Bar's menu rotates with the seasons, including these spring tipples. Tirion Boan
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Garden Bar, the downtown Phoenix cocktail bar located in a home filled with history, opened in December 2021. Now, around two and a half years later, the bar and business are up for sale.

Cocktail expert Kim Haasarud and her family spent years renovating the 1914-era California Bungalow. It was a slow and difficult process, but the end result produced a light, airy bar surrounded by cozy seating areas both inside and out perfect for sipping one of the evolving menu's creative cocktails.

Haasarud incorporated personality from the Kilroys, a family who lived in the house from the 1940s to the '70s. And while some elements, such as wider doorways and new floor, were needed, the construction team was able to preserve original aspects of the house including the window frames and beveled glass. Among those historic walls was a state-of-the-art bar. But now, the home is looking for its next inhabitants.

"It sounds really sad, but we kind of created this amazing albatross of our own making," Haasarud says, noting that she's been mulling the "sad" and "bittersweet" decision to sell for the last five months.

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Garden Bar is located in a historic home built in 1914.
Garden Bar PHX

Why is Garden Bar up for sale?

The decision to sell came down to a few key elements, Haasarud says. One was the need to spend more time with her family, including caring for her teenage children and parents.

"It is like having a baby," she says of owning and running a bar and the amount of time and attention the business requires. "That comes at a pretty big cost."

The second part came down to finances. Both the economic and hospitality climates are changing, Haasarud says, making it increasingly hard for small businesses without deep pockets and investment groups behind them. Building and opening the bar alongside the pandemic didn't make things any easier.

"When you're not meeting the kind of financial goals you want to, you start having to make some really, really hard decisions," she says. "I think we're probably going to see quite a few bars and restaurants go through the same sort of painful experience."

Since the bar was put on the market, Haasarud says they've experienced an outpouring of support from neighbors, friends, industry folks and customers. They've also seen "strong interest" from potential buyers. But finding the right buyer is key, Haasarud says.

"Obviously, it took a lot of time and effort and hard work to get it up and running," she says. "I think that's why it's just as important that we try to find the right kind of buyer, that is really going to be a great fit for the neighborhood."

What's next?

Following a career in bartending, consulting and cocktail development, Haasarud turned to Garden Bar as a passion project. She hoped it would lead her into retirement. But now, she foresees diving back into cocktail consulting.

"I don't see me leaving the beverage world," she says. "I'm excited, definitely, to keep that creativity going."

As she looks forward, she also is hopeful about Garden Bar's potential future. With its large airy space, plus the patio and gardens, it would make a great beer garden or coffee shop — something that's open throughout the day, she says. But Haasarud does have some specific hopes for the historic building.

"When we built the space, we really tried to hold on to as much of the integrity as possible," she says. "So I think my one big wish is that they don't really do a whole lot to the house."

Haasarud is seeking to sell the property or the whole business, complete with all of its fixtures, fittings and furniture. Garden Bar is listed online for $1.5 million.

Currently, it remains open and will continue serving cocktails for the next six to eight weeks. Haasarud encourages customers to visit their favorite bartenders to share a last drink at Garden Bar.

Garden Bar

822 N. Sixth Ave.
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