Maple House, a cafe and bar focused on mocktails, opens in Chandler | Phoenix New Times

New Chandler cafe and bar serves coffee, low-ABV cocktails and mocktails

From the team behind Elliott's Steakhouse and The Brickyard, Maple House is now open in Chandler. Here's what to expect.
Michael Regan makes a NOjito, a mocktail version of a mojito, at Maple House. The cafe's operations director says he wanted to focus on mocktails and low-alcohol cocktails that offer "that bar experience without everything that comes with it."
Michael Regan makes a NOjito, a mocktail version of a mojito, at Maple House. The cafe's operations director says he wanted to focus on mocktails and low-alcohol cocktails that offer "that bar experience without everything that comes with it." Sara Crocker
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Michael Regan took inspiration from European cafes where you can get comfortable and linger over a cortado or a cocktail for Chandler’s new coffee shop and bar, Maple House.

“We wanted to mix the bar world and the coffee shop world,” says Regan, the operations director for Maple House and its Chandler siblings.

Maple House opened in mid-December and is the fourth concept from Chandler restaurateurs Gavin Jacobs and Jackie Hall, who also own the craft cocktail bar The Brickyard Downtown, the elegant American eatery The Hidden House and Elliott’s Steakhouse, which pays homage to Jackie’s late husband and gave new life to a former movie theater.

What’s most interesting during this time of “dry,” “damp” or, dare we say “moist” January is that Maple House’s cocktail menu consists exclusively of low-alcohol cocktails and mocktails. It was an intentional choice, Regan says – less-intoxicating or alcohol-free sips better suit the lower-key atmosphere.

“It’s a good style if somebody is looking to have a little bit more longevity out of their night — you don’t want to get too crazy with some really long drinks, which is what we usually make,” Regan says.
click to enlarge Two Maple House drinks on a patio table.
Maple House is a spot where people participating in dry or damp January aren't left out thanks to mocktails like the NOjito and low-alcohol sips like the vermouth-based Before You Go-Go.
Sara Crocker

Cocktails and mocktails for ‘more longevity’

Maple House’s cocktail menu includes seven low-strength cocktails that make use of ingredients such as sherry and vermouth. These options range from familiar – like a low-ABV negroni or a spritz that replaces traditional Aperol with the more herbal, bitter orange-flavored Cappelletti – to more out-of-the-box takes.

“I thought this was a fun opportunity to create a (cocktail) list based around aperitif, digestif-style drinks,” Regan says. “We decided to have a selection of alcohol-free cocktails as well for dry January or for people who want to have that bar experience without everything that comes with it.”

In the low-ABV drink Before You Go-Go, Regan riffs on a spicy margarita, replacing the tequila with vermouth. He starts by infusing Comoz Blanc – a semi-sweet vermouth – with chiles. He then adds agave and lime to a shaker. The mix is strained into a Tajin-rimmed stemmed glass, which Regan finishes with a red wine float and a lime wedge.

Designing cocktails with lower-alcohol spirits “gets a little tricky,” Regan says.

“It’s all about achieving the balance of the drink,” he adds, noting that tipples like vermouth can have more acid than stronger spirits, so ensuring balance without going overboard on sugar and citrus is key.

Maple House also serves three mocktails based on popular classics. The NOjito uses the herbaceous Seedlip Garden 108, along with cucumber, lime, mint and soda for a refreshing, crushable sipper. The Hack uses Seedlip Grove, agave and lime to make a mock margarita. The EspressNO Martini combines espresso, cinnamon, vanilla and cream with Seedlip Spice. Seedlip is a non-alcoholic spirit that is made by distilling herbs and botanicals. 

“You’re not actually getting any alcohol but you’re still getting some of that flavor profile, so that’s a nice alternative,” he says of spiritless spirits.

In addition to its cocktail list, Maple House has a large selection of wines and beers – which are available in 10- and 16-ounce pours. The cafe offers espresso drinks all day as well as nitro cold brew and iced tea. A small selection of snacks includes assorted bakes from Chaconne Patisserie, sandwiches, olives and a cheese board.
click to enlarge Maple House interior.
Maple House offers indoor and outdoor space that invites guests to linger.
Sara Crocker

What’s the vibe?

The cafe is a modern farmhouse, with white board and batten and sleek black trim, windows and doors. It's tucked a few blocks off of Arizona Avenue, the main drag through Chandler’s downtown.

Where Maple House’s siblings can be boozier and occasional, there’s an everyday sensibility to the cafe. Just a few weeks after opening, the house and yard were abuzz, with guests opening laptops on tables inside, bellying up to the expansive bar for a pint and settling into a plaid, cushy stool or cozying up in an Adirondack chair next to one of the fires burning in the front or back yards.

“Maple House is where connections begin,” owner Jacobs said in a press release announcing Maple House’s opening, “whether it's a friendly hangout, first date or where you write the next great novel.”

Regan echoed that sentiment, describing Maple House as “somewhere you can come in, get some work done, hang out for a while and have that same no-pressure atmosphere that you would have in a coffee shop, and still be able to experience beer, wine, cocktails, and still be able to drive home afterwards.”

The cafe will host food trucks in its backyard and live music in the future, too, Regan says.

“(We’re) excited to bring that kind of atmosphere into this community,” he says.

Maple House

198 W. Boston St., Chandler
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