As of early July, Brandon Casey has vacated his position as Citizen Public House beverage director in order to take on a new project that brings him and his creative cocktails to the East Valley. He's taken a job as beverage director for Scottsdale-based Crust restaurants — and, in partnership with the Italian restaurant company, will be opening a craft cocktail bar in downtown Chandler.
"The East Valley is going where the rest of the nation is going — craft," Casey says.
This will be the first time in the building's long history that the basement's been used for anything commercial. In fact, the floors were nothing but dirt until about six weeks ago. The San Marcos resort dates back to the early 20th century, but the basement has never been used for anything besides storage — including storage for a collection of ostrich feathers, a fact that partially inspired the bar's name. The name also references Chandler's annual ostrich festival and the area's early history of ostrich farming.
And there's history in more than just the name. The owners purchased red leather booths you might recognize from their many days at Monti's restaurant in Tempe. They also salvaged the north bar from the now-closed Tempe steakhouse and have installed it inside the Chandler bar.
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As far as the menu, Casey promises it will please both cocktail enthusiasts and those who don't know an Old Fashioned from a Manhattan. Expect super-simple classic cocktails but also exciting offerings such as a tableside Old Fashioned program that will let drinkers pick a spirit (from options including whiskey and bourbon, naturally, but also mezcal, scotch, and more) and watch as their drinks get made right before their eyes. He'll be cutting cubes of ice from giant, crystal clear blocks once a week, and down the line he hopes to feature punch bowls and a customize-your-own Collins program.
Food options will be limited to lounge food such as sharable charcuterie boards.
Casey has also redone the drink menus for all the Crust restaurants, which are located in Scottsdale and North Phoenix. Look forward to a new happy hour that includes $6 classic cocktails and $5 pizzas. A new Chandler location of the mini-chain of restaurants will be opening above The Ostrich later this month.
Casey says The Ostrich will be open on October 1. For updates, keep an eye on The Ostrich Facebook page.