The Luhrs Tower, aka the majestic old geezer nestled behind CityScape, aka downtown Phoenix’s first high-rise, just got a double dose of dapperdom with the grand opening of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour on its ground floor. For those who enjoy a bit of trivia and irony, it’s said the Luhrs Tower was the nerve center of Arizona’s prohibition headquarters. Bitter & Twisted, indeed!
Phoenix has a lot of great mixologists. But Bitter & Twisted is perhaps the city’s first bar solely dedicated to craft cocktails. And rightly so — the brains behind the bar is Ross Simon, a co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week and former winner of the Finlandia Vodka Cup and Don Julio Tequila cocktail contest.
The parlor has a loft-bar feel with high ceilings, exposed ductwork, brick walls, a large mural of a martini-clutching ladyzilla crouched over Phoenix and large windows with a street view obscured by the high-back booths within.
Seating was incredibly limited on its media preview night and the pedestrian channel between the bar and parallel high-top seating had a lot of congestion issues. The seating issue is a problem for a first-timer because of there’s no logical space of repose in which to thumb through the extensive, impressive and exciting “Book o’ Cocktails.” This is not a drink menu — it’s a pamphlet you can buy for $5 of concoctions with chapters, an index and stories behind most drinks. It’s something you want to sit down with and thumb through, then pass to the next person in your group. Each drink has a detailed description and personality. It’s quite a remarkable menu, featuring every drink you never knew you wanted conceited with house made infused spirits, tonics, syrups and other ingredients. The bar is tapped with wine and bottle beer is also served.
Disregarding libations, Bitter & Twisted is situated in an enchanting space where even designated drivers will enjoy grabbing a light snack. It has a bit of an alternative personality without being uncool and cluttered about it.
Vibe: Alternative loft with craft cocktails
Dress code: You can probably get away with wearing what the patrons of the original Luhrs Tower would have worn.
Crowd: Hipsters, young professionals, people who work nearby
Price: The average drink will cost you more than $10