Despite a recent emphasis on armchair-destined, Mad Men-era drinks, cocktail bars aiming for casually modern and sleek atmospheres have largely ditched any form of comfort that resembles a cushioned seat. Fortunately, that isn't the case at Honor Amongst Thieves, the Valley's newest cocktail destination located at uptown Phoenix's The Colony.
Here, low-light, high-proof cocktails and 80 cushy seats create an experience that simply didn’t exist before in this neighborhood. Adding to the allure, you arrive at the bar, which will be open every night from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m., via a set of stairs around the back of Stock & Stable.
“Think '50s- and '60s-era smoking lounge, an Athletic Club your dad might’ve gone to,” mixologist Stephanie Teslar told us at a preview event for the bar. “We’re going to have classic cocktail influence … and we’ll do spins on martinis, but it’s going to be a little more unique than the apple martini — accentuating the vermouths and things like that.”
True to her word, the menu at Honor Amongst Thieves is less sweet and more bitter and boozy than the fruity and citrus-forward drinks downstairs at Stock & Stable. It’s sure to please both cocktail purists and classicists, in addition to those looking for creativity from new bar programs.
Upon arrival, each guest is awarded with a complimentary pour of amaro, a gift just for choosing to sink into one of the bar's irresistible seats. From there, you’ll be drawn into a menu that begins with a page dedicated to martini variations. There are safe bets such as the 51/50 (Oola-aged gin made from organic Washington winter wheat, Maurin dry vermouth, and house-made orange bitters), which offers greater depth than you’re used to getting from your martini, and the Dillinger (Ford’s gin, Maurin blanc vermouth, house-seasoned onions, and dill bitters), which lies somewhere in between a Gibson and the pickled, slightly green flavors of a dirty martini.
Some options are less approachable. For dirty martini lovers, there's the Pitch and Roll, made with piny and herbaceous St. George Terroir Gin, Carpano Blanco Vermouth, luqcues olives, and a little salt water. It's an attempt to throw out the generic olives and imitate the flavors of the classic cocktail with expertly infused gin, better olives, and just the right amount of salt. One martini, the Kaffir And Loathing (Aylesbury Duck vodka, Dolin Blanc vermouth, kaffir lime, and rose essence) will remind you that vodka can interesting and that vodka drinks can even be elegant again.
Of course, not everyone wants to order something stirred and boozy first thing, especially after an introductory amaro. Thieves accommodates with some lighter offerings such as The Long Hall, made with Kikori whiskey, rooibos tea, lemon, blood orange cardamom shrub, and hops. The acidity from the shrub buzzes across your tongue, but the sweetness of the rooibos and from the Japanese whiskey keep things level. The unexpected use of hops, in the form of a hops essence, adds depth.
The creamy and pink-hued Misery Loves Company (Asbach brandy, almond-flavored Crème de Noyaux, Leopold’s Aperitivo, cinnamon crème, and Peychaud’s bitters) seems silly at first glance, but it isn’t. It's equal parts boozy, spiced, and fun. The Remington (shortbread scotch, amaro del capo, chamomile cordial, and white chocolate) tastes better than a cocktail with white chocolate should. It’s a complex, brown, stirred dessert drink meant for those who cringe at the thought of sickeningly sweet after-dinner treats.
At 11 p.m., Social Hour begins. This means American comfort foods including a Philly grilled cheese served on Noble bread, a Chicago dog, deviled egg dip, or a grilled cheeseburger with Welsh cheddar, pickles, and “Stock & Stable Sauce.”
These upscale versions of cheese-oozing classics can serve as fuel for another round or the final nail in the coffin. If you discover the latter to be true, you may wish, for the first time all evening, that your seat weren’t so comfortable after all.
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