Already locally renowned for their high-quality spirits, Arizona Distilling Co. in Tempe moved in on the craft cocktail scene last May. Now they've entered the food world.
Old Walrus — the name of the cocktail lounge inside Arizona Distilling Co. — is the type of neighborhood bar people find out about through word of mouth. The brick storefront is plain, with large mirrored windows obscuring a dimly lit interior. A small sign above the door bears the Arizona Distilling Co. logo with little else to denote the contents of the building. Upon entry, patrons are greeted by a large, airy room with ample seating and a long natural wood bar.
Upon opening in 2018, the bar was lined with stools and little else. Now the room is filled with furniture, a patio hugs the front of the building, there's a daily happy hour, and as of January, patrons can order food on-site.
The focus of Old Walrus's menu is on locally sourced food of excellent quality. Bartender Micah Olson says the menu will stay simple so Old Walrus can continue concentrating on craft cocktails (forgive the alliteration) and highlight their spirits. The food options include foie gras, olives, Noble bread, cheeses, and just about anything you could want on a charcuterie board. Old Walrus sticks to social foods that patrons can share over conversation.
The foie gras is savory with a buttery texture that melts in your mouth. It comes plated with strawberry rhubarb and quince jams, grapes, and Noble bread. The bread is perfectly toasted and salted and it's almost impossible to choose a favorite between the two jams. Everything tastes fresh and rich — sweet and savory balancing wonderfully.
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The plates are definitely geared more toward snacking than a full meal. So if you're looking for something to keep your head level while you knock back a few drinks, they're perfect. And according the their menu, weekly ramen nights are also currently in the works.
Something to look forward to.
To learn more about Old Walrus and Arizona Distilling Co., check out the bar's Facebook page.
Arizona Distilling Co. and the Old Walrus Lounge. 601 West University Drive, Tempe; 602-391-3889.
Wednesday and Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 4 p.m. to midnight; Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.