Fancy frozen treats called Diamond Bars are about to invade your Instagram feed (if they haven’t already). It’s the signature dish of the newly opened Pop ‘N Tea Bar, a glossy dessert shop on McDowell Road in Phoenix that also serves slushies, smoothies, and teas.
With their unique molded shape and colorful combinations of toppings, Diamond Bars beg to be photographed. Think of them as the blinged-out SoCal cousins of the standard pops and paletas found throughout the Valley. They’re more posh in appearance — and in flavor.
Plain Diamond Bars ($4.95) come in 13 flavors of gelato or sorbet. There’s a range of choices from classics like mint chocolate chip to swankier options like sea salt caramel. The staff says matcha and New York strawberry cheesecake are the most popular flavors.
The Deluxe version costs an extra dollar and is fully customizable. Choose between a half or whole dip of milk, dark, or white chocolate, and then dress it up with two toppings. Go for a pairing like shredded coconut and roasted pistachios, or perhaps Captain Crunch bits and rainbow sprinkles. Finish it with a drizzle of chocolate if desired. The possibilities feel endless, and so far we haven’t found a bad mix.
The whole store looks like a photo backdrop. There’s a bushy green wall with the red neon sign quoting Ice Cube (we see what they did there). Across is a pair of Midcentury Modern sofas and shelves displaying design magazines. And further back is the Pop 'N Tea logo painted on black wood panels, and another mural that proclaims, “You are somebody to me.”
Pop 'N Tea seats about 25 people, with plenty of space to pose for the camera. Expect to see a hip, well-dressed crowd vogueing for friends with iPhones before taking a bite of their treats. Getting a souvenir is obligatory. A note for those with limited data plans: As of our last visit, Pop 'N Tea was still working on getting WiFi and plans to offer it soon.
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If you prefer dessert in a cup, the shop also has nine smoothies and eight slushies to choose from. Try avocados blended with sweetened condensed milk, or lychee crushed ice. There are also six classic milk teas and five sweet teas on tap, with add-ons including honey green boba pearls and fruit bits.
As the company’s website states, “Food is viewed as art in many ways,” and this concept takes the idea to a new level. Pop 'N Tea is a feast for the taste buds and the eyes, and we think you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the days to come.
Pop 'N Tea Bar. 550 West McDowell Road; 602-253-6310.
Daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.