Let's Go Gastro-Pubbing

By local contributor
Scott McGinty

Why just settle for ho-hum sports bar food when you can whet you whistle at these top local gastro-pubs? Short for gastronomy and pubs, these classy taverns first started popping up several years back in the land o’ pubs, (aka Great Britain). And now the trend of serving up hearty, chef-crafted fare in a casual-yet-boozy environment has taken the Scottsdale by storm. So let’s take a tour of four of the city’s finest gastro-pubs.

Culinary Dropout

Tucked into the bottom floor of the Scottsdale Waterfront towers in downtown Scottsdale, this stylish neighborhood tavern features an expansive patio and even offers live music several nights a week. Meanwhile, the compact yet mouth-watering menu is jam-packed with comfort classics such as fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and a sugar-glazed, pull-apart dessert called Monkey Bread.

Citizen Public House

Located in downtown Scottsdale, renowned chef, Bernie Kantak, recently opened Citizen Public House inside a soaring space that used to be the Valley’s original Trader Vic’s. Coming from a long line of Eastern European butchers, Kantak’s meaty menu tempts with everything from beer-spiked cheese fondue with sausage, pear and toasted country bread, as well as the delicious death-by-pig that is the pork belly pastrami with rye spaetzle and Brussels sprouts sauerkraut.

AZ88

Its out-of-the-way location on Scottsdale Civic Center Park makes this downtown gem a little hard to find, but trust us – it’s worth it. Start with an order of Hell’s Fire Chips, house-made potato chips sprinkled with melted blue cheese and hot sauce. Keep things spicy with the Hot Pepper Chicken sandwich topped with grilled jalapeños and honey, or cool it down with The Bigger Mac, which boasts classic burger toppings on a fresh, toasted Italian roll. Add a specialty martini or classic cocktail and enjoy it all on AZ 88’s spacious patio.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

We’re going to the mall for our next stop. Yes, really – but stay with us. Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill at Scottsdale Fashion Square, the largest shopping destination in the Southwest, makes their upscale gastropub cuisine from scratch daily using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Specialties include the Brick-Oven Baked Soft Pretzel with amber ale fondue, and Spicy Mac & Cheese made with Italian sausage, four cheeses and chipotle cream.

Brittlebush Grill at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Reopening at the end of September following a wall-to-wall renovation, this handsome gastro-pub at the Kierland Golf Club features a refined European flair thanks to Scotland native and chef, Graeme Blair. Enjoy classic pub grub such as a Yorkshire ‘pop-over’ pastry stuffed with braised short ribs and Stilton cheese—all while listening to a bagpiper salute the sunset. Seriously!

Relish Burger Bistro at the Phoenician Resort

Overlooking the meticulously-manicured greens at The Phoenician’s 18-hole golf course, this upscale burger joint offers everything from chili-cheese tots and Southern-style fried pickles, to the Big Bertha, a full pound of decadent Kobe beef topped with American cheese and a chopped salad. Wash it all down with a spiked shake or an adult rootbeer float.