Restaurant: The Wayward Taphouse
Location: 1028 Grand Avenue
Eats/drinks: Beer and wine
Open: About two months
Hours: 1 p.m. to midnight Tuesday to Thursday, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
Wayward Taphouse arrived at a time when we were in great need of patios. The beer joint and bottle shop opened this fall in the Grand Avenue Arts District, in the old Paisley Violin storefront — i.e., the nearly 100-year-old building formerly occupied by ThirdSpace, a beloved café and restaurant in operation between 2014 and 2019.
The outdoor seating here is just plain nice: sunny on one side, shaded on another, with abundant and well-spaced metal tables and chairs. It’s also outside food- and dog-friendly. Friendly neighborhood cats wander in and out. The Wayward anchors a small cluster of historic structures at Grand and 11th avenues. The tiny casitas out back, which frame the patio, are former prisoner-of-war houses. A handful of small businesses — Novel Ice Cream, Electrik Needle Tattoo, etc. — are part of the patio view, as well as a Trump-themed billboard. You know, the one where he’s wearing an orange jumpsuit, standing behind prison bars, and flanked by dollar signs resembling swastikas and nuclear mushroom clouds? (Thanks, Karen Fiorito).
The Wayward Taphouse was opened by Tyler Goolie and Hilda Cardenas, who both spent about five years at the also beloved Wren House Brewing Co. They know their stuff and have had their eye on the area. “A couple of years ago we decided we wanted to do our own thing,” Goolie told New Times in September. “We actually looked at some other Grand Avenue spaces about a year before ThirdSpace closed.”
The menu here offers mostly Arizona beer and wine — and the good stuff, too. There's F.Y.I.T.M. IPA from The Shop Beer Co. in Tempe, Caduceus Cellars’ Queen B Bianca from Willcox, and Terp That Cider from Cider Corps in Mesa.
Be advised, friends. If the craft stuff is too heavy for an after-work drink — happy hour is 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, FYI — or if you’re winding down the evening with a final round on Grand Avenue, an additional beer fridge exists under the window, out of sight if you're outside. It’s from there we were later able to score a $4 Modelo.
Yet another fridge exists for to-go orders; it contains cold cans and bottles of more local brews, as well as the imported and domestic stuff: Four Peaks Peach Ale, Mother Road Tower Station, Arizona Wilderness Biere De Wassai, Wren House’s Monte Vista, and Koffee Kolsch from Huss Brewing Co. There’s even Bad Booch sangria, Coors Banquet, White Claw, and Coca Cola.
In other words, this isn't a place just for beer perverts, it's a wholly accessible taproom.
During our visit, the vibe was daytime calm and welcoming. A playlist was going with soft-volume nu metal and pop-punk, which was fun. The bartender was extremely chill. The place was dim, lit only by the little sunlight coming through the ordering window. Two friends were perched at the bar. Everyone else was outside.
And the best part about The Wayward Taphouse? Goolie and Cardenas signed a five-year lease. But let's hope we're still meeting on the patio well after that.