Former Helton taproom in Phoenix to be replaced with The Starving Artist | Phoenix New Times


New neighborhood bar from O.H.S.O. to open in former Helton taproom

At The Starving Artist, expect an emphasis on cocktails and global cuisine.
The Starving Artist will replace the restaurant and taproom space that formerly housed Helton Brewing Co.
The Starving Artist will replace the restaurant and taproom space that formerly housed Helton Brewing Co. Chris Malloy
Share this:
Just a few months after Helton Brewing Co. was acquired by O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery, a new neighborhood bar and restaurant is moving in.

The Starving Artist – a tavern with an emphasis on cocktails and the distilling side of O.H.S.O. – will open on Feb. 7 according to an announcement on Instagram.

With O.H.S.O.’s flagship restaurant and brewery just a few miles down Indian School Road, it was important to owner Jon Lane to create a new experience.

“We thought it’d be very confusing for guests, so we wanted to create a neighborhood bar,” Lane explains about how The Starving Artist came to be. “We really have never focused on our spirits … we wanted to have a more focal point on the bar, meaning a cocktail bar.”

But, Lane says the aim is for The Starving Artist to be approachable, from the items served to their price point.

“I go to neighborhood bars because I can go in there with a $20 bill, have a drink, have a snack,” he says. “We want to make sure that’s attainable for our neighborhood, that they’re able to stop by whenever they want and it not be a burden on their wallet.”
O.H.S.O. Brewing patio.
O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery's owners plan to open a new concept, The Starving Artist, in the former taproom of Helton Brewing Co.
New Times Archives

What’s the vibe?

The previously spartan Helton taproom will be transformed with quirkily repurposed art (think thrifted pieces with updated, graffiti-like additions painted atop) created by Beth Jagielko, an artist who has previously painted murals at other O.H.S.O. locations.

“The art is going to be really cool and funky,” Lane says.

Customers can keep themselves entertained with darts, pool, video games and TVs to watch the game. There will also be a unique bartop with retro games like Wooly Willy embedded in it.

Lane hopes the spot can fill a variety of diners' needs, perfect for those grabbing slices with their kids or a night out with friends to share small plates and a bottle of wine or cocktails.

What’s on the menu?

Lane describes the menu as “a little eclectic, from all over,” with a mix of snacks, sandwiches, salads and pizzas. O.H.S.O. recently hired Bruce Briere, who formerly worked at restaurants like North Italia and The Windsor, as the company's culinary director, and he’s helming this menu.

The menu has now been posted online. Small plates include dolmas, garlic shrimp and bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Shareable items will include Korean barbecue braised beef nachos, loaded baked potato dip, pork bao and bratwurst sliders.

Available by the slice or a full pie, pizzas range from classics like cheese and pepperoni to one topped with spicy giardiniera and Italian sausage. The Starving Artist will also serve a pizza of the month, kicking off with a dill pickle pizza, according to its website, featuring a garlic white sauce, dill pickle chips, ricotta, buttermilk dressing and fresh dill.

Lane says the bar menu will include about 20 cocktails, along with roughly 20 beers on tap and a selection of wines. The mixed drinks will lean classic, but the team, led by bar manager Fiona Davison, will be able to put their own spin on things.

The menu posted online includes tipples such as a Maple Old Fashioned, Yuzu Sour and Angostura Vice. The old fashioned is made with butter-washed whiskey, salted maple syrup and bitters. The sour is made with yuzu sake, shochu, lemon and simple syrup. And, the twist on a Miami Vice is made with Angostura amaro, strawberry rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice and lime.

As part of the acquisition of Helton, O.H.S.O. took over the building, brewing equipment and recipes of the former brewery. The move positions O.H.S.O. to become one of the largest independent brewers in the state.

The brewhouse will continue to be used for producing O.H.S.O.'s craft beer. But, that's not the primary focus for the bar and restaurant that sits in front of the brewery. The Starving Artist will serve familiar drinks, such as Miller High Life and High Noon hard seltzers, in addition to tipples that the brewer and distiller makes.

While the O.H.S.O. team is at work putting together the final details and touches, Lane says he’s looking forward to debuting the new concept later this month.

“It’s a comfortable bar you can come in any day,” he says.

The Starving Artist

Opening Feb. 7
2144 E. Indian School Road

KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.