If readers are familiar with the “Cocktail Corner” articles in AZ Wine Lifestyle, they’ll note that, invariably, the bartenders interviewed will list Bar Crudo as a favorite cocktail haunt. It’s easy to see why. Here, owner Micah Olson (also a certified wine sommelier) crafts outstanding beverages served in his collection of vintage glassware, and stocks his bar with small-batch spirits and personal favorites. Recent renovations have added more seating and cozy nooks to sit back and relax. With co-owner Chef Cullen Campbell of adjoining Crudo in charge of the food, this is a partnership made in happy hour heaven.
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, Bar Crudo offers $3 Four Peaks beer (Sunbru and Hop Knot) and $5 wine, cocktails and small bites. Start with perfect bar snacks, such as meaty Sicilian Castelvetrano olives smoked in-house, savory truffled bacon popcorn or, my favorite, crispy pig ears. I’m not the only who orders this plate of crunchy-chewy strips of porky goodness, topped with Fresno chile vinaigrette; it recently won Best Appetizer in Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley.”
It’s hard to choose out of three “mozza” options rounding out the specials and, at $5, you can order the trio. All fresh cheeses are accompanied by thick slices of rustic grilled bread—silky burrata embellished with peppery arugula and a salty, tangy pancetta vinaigrette; creamy mozzarella paired with fresh basil, caramelized onions and balsamic bacon relish; and milky ricotta draped with figs and honey.
To accompany such high-quality bar fare, sip on a classic Old-Fashioned, expertly made Margarita or a Dark & Stormy—the unofficial national drink of Bermuda made with rum and ginger beer. You can also order a Kittyhawk, a variation of the Aviation (vodka instead of gin) with lemon, Maraschino and violet liqueurs; or the Bee’s Knees, a Roaring 20s-era cocktail with gin, lemon and honey.
In addition to happy hour, later in the night “Micah’s Menu” (8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday) is another bargain worth mentioning. A brilliant idea implemented this past September, Micah and Chef Campbell have teamed up to offer a three-course, cocktail-paired menu for only $35 per person. Changing daily, it’s an affordable way to explore this talented duo’s imaginative creations. A recent menu had a friend raving about the main course of Pasta e Fagioli with pork belly and kale pesto, paired with a unique cocktail of Terroir Gin, Hophead Vodka, Cocchi Americano, Luxardo and bitters.
If you are a lover of delicious, inventive food and just as enthusiastic about cocktails, head to Bar Crudo.
Bar Crudo Hours
Tues – Sat: 5pm – 12am Sun Brunch: 10am – 2pm Sun Dinner: 5pm – 9pm
Happy Hour Tues – Sat: 5pm – 7pm
Micah’s Menu Tues – Sat: 8pm – 10pm
3603 E Indian School Road Phoenix, AZ 85018
Article by Christina Barrueta
Photos by Devine Images
Originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of AZ Wine Lifestyle.