Amidst bustling construction workers, scorching concrete, and well-dressed professionals waiting for the light rail is an enchanted oasis tucked away from the chaos of downtown Phoenix.
Downtown’s new fairy tale-like craft cocktail bar, The Rose Garden opened this summer inside the U.S. Bank building. The new concept comes from the owners of two popular Valley businesses, Sip Coffee & Beer and 36 Below.
We went one peaceful Tuesday evening to test The Rose Garden mantra, “Every drink is a feast for the eyes and a treat for the lips.”
Round tables are surrounded by cloud-like velvet chairs. The Rose Garden’s colorful mascot, an ornate peacock named Penrose, perches above. The sound of delicate piano music spills out into the room, transporting customers to a simpler time.
Our first sips are of the fragrant and equally pretty Fleur de Paradis and the delightfully refreshing and velvety smooth Voodoo Lily. The Fleur de Paradis is a vibrant pink sparkling drink served in a wine glass speckled with a rainbow of dried flower petals. Fruity aromas invite you to sip on the blend of bubbles, hibiscus, tamarind, passionfruit, and citrus. An ideal cocktail for day drinking, this drink is undeniably refreshing.
Pro tip: Be careful to not touch the work of art on the outside of the glass or you may end up with sticky fingers. Honey adheres the dried florals to the glass.
The Voodoo Lily is a cucumber flavored drink with a pale melon tint and thin cucumber slices lining the inside of the glass. A waft of mint leaves readies your palate for the floral fusion of cucumber and mint-infused vodka, lychee, coconut water, lemon, and agave. It’s a bittersweet combination with a smooth, coconutty finish.
The Roses Thorn is a green tea cocktail that feels like it ought to be enjoyed during tea time on a Sunday afternoon. It’s made with green tea shochu, yuzu, guava, rose, lemon, and shiso bitters. You can order it as a single drink or a punch bowl to split between friends. A single serving arrives in a glass teacup and is garnished with flower petals.
Before ordering a bite to eat, we take advantage of the photo-worthy drinks and Instagrammable atmosphere. It's impossible to resist snapping a photo, cocktail in hand, beneath the vines drooping from the ceiling to the left of the bar.
The Little Gem Caesar Salad is served on a peacock plate with a tower of lettuce, aged Manchego cheese, dried tomatoes, and toasted bread crumbs. Not overly drenched in dressing, the salad lacks flavor and it’s safe to say we could do without the hard dehydrated tomatoes. We picked those off, and decided to head elsewhere for dinner.
This new cocktail bar is a sophisticated, mellow spot to grab a drink or two with your best gal pals or coworkers after a long day. The intimate, tranquil ambiance is a nice change of pace compared to the rowdier bars downtown. The cocktails are the real showstoppers, each beautifully crafted and thoughtfully poured into unique glassware garnished with fruit, flowers, or leaves.
This “secret garden” of sorts is a welcome addition to the Phoenix bar scene, bringing a little magic to downtown.
The Rose Garden
101 North First Avenue
Hours: Daily 3 p.m. to midnight.