This Scottsdale martini bar is a classic. Here’s what to order from AZ88
On a recent weekday evening, there was an hour wait for a table at AZ88. So, as we do, I parked at the sleek white bar and ordered a Martini from the pornstar.
Beams of light shone and sparkled on the giant collection of mirror balls hanging from the ceiling. The dramatic piece was part of the most recent in a rotating series of art exhibitions, which are either suspended from the ceiling or installed in the middle of the square dining room.
An argument could be made to keep the disco balls shiny all year round, but that has to make room for the next display, the highly anticipated Christmas tree, which usually goes up right after Thanksgiving. Trees of the past have been made from an array of different materials, from safety pins to broken glass and dollar bills. Last year’s tree was made of toilet paper. This year the bar revealed a bright, bright tree made entirely of martini glasses.
Art installations have been a tradition since 1988, when the bar was opened by Karl Kopp. The restaurateur and businessman is based in Milwaukee, where he is known for Kopp’s Frozen Custard, a dessert and burger restaurant., as well as a few bars, including AZ88’s sister restaurant, Elsa’s on the Park.
For those trying to guess the Christmas tree theme ahead of the big reveal every year, here’s a hint: If a tree is on display at Elsa’s a year, it could appear in Arizona a few seasons later, and vice versa. In downtown Phoenix, trees can also appear at sister bar Hanny’s.
Although the art changes throughout the year, a constant over the decades has been the martinis.
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People watching and privileged views
Every evening, the reservation-free bar and restaurant is packed with patrons enjoying a martini or full dinner. People watching at AZ88 is top notch as the bar draws longtime Scottsdale socialites, couples on first dates, Instagram influencers showing off their best new outfits, and casual patrons strolling past. a walk in the park.
Currently the park is under construction, restricting entry to AZ88, so guests must enter through the parking lot southwest of the First Street bar.
The construction doesn’t hamper the patio experience, however, which offers more seating and a view of Scottsdale’s Civic Center.
Inside the open and airy bar, a gallery-like setting allows art to take center stage with white floors, a white bar, and white walls with high ceilings and large windows.
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Beyond the aesthetics, part of the restaurant’s high-profile draw is the reasonably priced food, especially given its location in the heart of Scottsdale’s tourist district.
Some classics are reminiscent of the bar’s beginnings, like the shrimp cocktail and club sandwiches, which share the menu space with burgers, a selection of salads, sharing platters and desserts. But it’s the martini menu that the restaurant is really known for.
What’s on the martinis menu?
Since 1988, the Old Town Scottsdale Cocktail Bar has been known for its well-dressed bartenders who carefully rock a range of martinis for Scottsdale locals and tourists alike.
While different kinds of drinks, from palomas and brambles, to mojitos and Moscow mules, are available, it’s a martini bar through and through.
I started with a Pornstar Martini ($ 15), made with Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka, vanilla syrup, passion fruit, and lime juice. A luxardo cherry was added to the bottom of my glass before the bartender poured the bright orange drink with a flourish and offered him a shot of champagne on the side.
The blend of vanilla and passion fruit aromas combined to create a creamy, sweet and fruity drink. After a few sips, a taste of the dry Champagne helped reduce the richness. The alternation of sips between the tall, almost overflowing martini glass and the little shot of bubbles added to the fun.
A classic that is back in fashion is the espresso martini ($ 15). At AZ88, the drink is made with Smirnoff vodka, Kahlua, Irish cream, crème de cacao, and an espresso topped with three coffee beans. The thick, creamy drink doubles as a dessert and is perfect for lovers of anything sweet.
The Fleurtini ($ 14) offers a festive feel in a slightly less rich and creamy way. The red-hued drink is made with raspberry Smirnoff, raspberry liqueur, lime, cranberry and champagne. A spiral of lemon zest tops it off.
The subtle fruit flavors blend together to create a citrus drink that has just the right amount of tart. Champagne adds a bit of sparkle to the drink and when paired with cranberry, gives it a certain dryness. The overall effect is a drink that isn’t too potent, making it a good option to go with food.
Get glam at AZ88
Whether you sit at the bar and have a drink before dining elsewhere or settle in for a range of cocktails and dishes, AZ88 delivers a shot of 1980s glam in the heart of a golden city center. of the Wild West.
The bar’s sleek interior, well-dressed waiters, and famous selfie-worthy bathrooms encourage patrons to dress and dine in style. It’s the perfect place to wear that sparkly dress in the back of your closet, test your ankles with your favorite pair of stilettos, or sport your most stylish jacket.
The best part of the night is watching other people do the same. And it’s especially fun to do it with an overflowing martini in your hand.
Details: 7353 E. Scottsdale Shopping Center, Scottsdale. 480-994-5576, az88.com.
Hours: Open every day, from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Price range: Cocktails range from $ 10 to $ 16. Entrees range from $ 11 to $ 32.
Reservations: Reservations are not accepted. Customers are added to a waiting list and will receive an SMS when their table is ready. The bar offers open seating while you wait.
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