Now Open

Now Open: A First Look at Tempe's Fate Brewing Co.

The High Gravity Room on Fate's second floor.
The High Gravity Room on Fate's second floor. Lauren Cusimano
The third Valley location of Fate Brewing Co. — very recently known as McFate Brewing — opened May 15 at 201 East Southern Avenue in Tempe. The new brewery took over a midcentury, two-story, 6,000-square-foot office complex at Southern Avenue and College Road and turned it into a really cool spot.

The first thing new customers will notice are the many windows surrounding the bar, dining area, and upstairs loft, or High Gravity Room. Natural light is unavoidable in the best way possible.

click to enlarge The 2,500 square-foot, dog- and kid-friendly beer garden. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The 2,500 square-foot, dog- and kid-friendly beer garden.
Lauren Cusimano
Next, they may notice the tidy patio section — part of which is a 2,500-square-foot, dog- and kid-friendly beer garden covered with artificial turf and community picnic tables. The other part is all tables and chairs, TVs, fans, and a fireplace.

Again, a cool spot.

You may be wondering, as we were, why the Fate team decided to open its third location in Tempe, as opposed to staying in Scottsdale or migrating to another part of town.

Managing partner Steve Ellefson, accompanied by general manager PJ Austin, breaks it down for us:

“Gilbert is getting a lot of attention, and Phoenix is getting a lot of attention. I just think there’s more people [in Tempe] that can be fed by the current situation.”

He says he has determined this by the amount of people he and his staff see traveling down Southern Avenue alone — which he easily can spot through all the big windows.

Those people on Southern Avenue are welcome to hook in. Ellefson says he’s hoping Fate Tempe has a variety of patrons — Arizona State University students, professionals, and people from the neighborhood.

click to enlarge The view from the end of the bar. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The view from the end of the bar.
Lauren Cusimano
“People need a place for a first date or to take the kids,” he says. “We’re a family restaurant.”

Neighboring establishments include 2 a.m. spots like Yucca Tap Room, Monkey Pants, and Time Out Lounge. Fate plans to be open till 10 p.m. most nights and midnight on the weekends. And while restaurants nearby include the famed Casa Reynoso and Quartiere in the old Riazzi’s spot, Fate will offer a more versatile American menu.

Ellefson refers to Fate’s food as approachable, without even thinking about it. “You know what you’re getting when you read our menu,” he says.

The menu includes smashed burgers, crispy pizzas, the Twist of Fate Pretzel, French dips, street tacos, drunken chicken, and a spinach and artichoke dip that Ellefson considers the best in town — not that he’s biased.

click to enlarge The first thing you'll notice are the many windows surrounding the bar. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The first thing you'll notice are the many windows surrounding the bar.
Lauren Cusimano
There will also be dessert options like scratch-made key lime pie, and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with breakfast bowls, chilaquiles, the French Revolution French Toast, and the Wake + Bake Pizza.

“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” Ellefson says. “We’re not here to serve crappy bar food.”

In addition to the food, Fate’s head brewer, Adam Schmeichel, is still the main brewer, and “has been since day one,” says Ellefson. Schmeichel will be rereleasing the follower favorite, Fate American Pale Ale, which will be on tap at this new location. Additional Fate beers found here include Shot in the Arm, other Fate stalwarts, and a full bar — meaning wine and cocktails.

There’s more.

click to enlarge Leading to the loft, or High Gravity Room. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Leading to the loft, or High Gravity Room.
Lauren Cusimano
The High Gravity Room is available to rent for private parties of up to 50 people, many of whom may scoot up to the designated balcony bar. There will also be a grand opening party on Wednesday, May 29, live music, food, and obviously beer, plus an appearance from the Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell and raffle prizes to benefit the Tempe Community Action Agency.

So with all this, it doesn’t seem the Fate crew is slowing down, even with founder Steve McFate recently moving on to other ventures. “I’m excited to see where our future goes, and where his future goes,” Ellefson says of the recent change.

And no, a fourth location is not in the works. Not today, anyway.

“But if there’s an area that needs a brewery, and we’re available,” Ellefson starts. “Never say never.”

For more information, visit the Fate Brewing Co. website.
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Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano