Tucked into a corner space inside the city’s first-ever high-rise, the new Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (1 W. Jefferson St.) is set to help make downtown Phoenix once again the epicenter of the Valley’s dining and drinking scene when it opens on May 30. Housed in a soaring, window-lined space inside the historic Luhrs Building – an elegant 10-story brick and stone early 20th century engineering feat that was completed in 1924 – Bitter & Twisted combines a world-class cocktail lounge with a neighborhood bar’s sensibilities.

Lime and the Coconut, courtesy Bitter & Twisted
Lime and the Coconut, courtesy Bitter & Twisted

Led by the Scottish-born Principal Barmen & Proprietor, Ross Simon, Bitter & Twisted’s expert bar staff will be performing cocktail theatre nightly while whipping up a selection of globally inspired concoctions. As the past winner of the Finlandia Vodka Cup (USA) and Don Julio Tequila (AZ) cocktail contests and a co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week, Simon says Bitter & Twisted will be a “fantastically welcoming cocktail bar where you can leave your pretentions at the door. It will be a great start and end to any evening.” Here, guests can flip through a prolific Book o’ Cocktails featuring a globe-straddling collection of new and classic drinks, all expertly-crafted using many house made infused spirits, tonics, syrups and other ingredients. “We’ll still have a nice selection of craft beer and wines, but we want to inspire the uninspired into finding his or her new favorite tipple (drink of choice),” Simon explains. “We’re lucky enough to be living in a second golden age of the cocktail, and we want to bring a great sense of excitement and exploration in the form of a great night out any night of the week.”

While Bitter & Twisted will firmly plant itself in the lexicon of the modern cocktail establishment, the space itself carries a rich history in the city of Phoenix, serving as the former nerve center of Arizona’s prohibition headquarters back when the residents of this desert metropolis (all 30,000 of them) dressed in top hats and risqué ankle-baring dresses and commuted to downtown via electric streetcars and Ford Model Ts. In a natural, progressive nod to today, guests can sip and dine while savoring the sights and sounds of Phoenix’s downtown rebound, even arriving just outside the door on the Valley Metro Light Rail.

Step inside the stylishly redesigned space and guests can slip into a mix of cozy banquettes and high-top table seating overlooking the exhibition-style central bar, as well as nosh on a worldly collection of bar bites and other great tasting dishes led by executive chef Bob Tam, including a late-night menu served until 1:30 a.m. On the weekends, the good vibes will be turned up a notch with live DJs spinning the night into the perfect twist, bringing yet another late night layer to downtown Phoenix’s diverse entertainment offerings.

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and will be closed Sunday and Monday.