A Modern Day ‘Cheers’
By: Laura Stoddard
Do you sometimes wish there was a place where everybody knew your name? And they were always glad you came? And what if that glorious, welcoming place were right here in downtown Phoenix? Thanks to the creative crew at Genuine Concepts (masterminds behind The Little Woody, Ladera, The Womack and myriad other popular valley venues), such a place now exists.
Welcome to Deli Tavern, right in the heart of Phoenix’s lively bar district, at the corner of Central and Monroe. Downtown now has so many cool, trendy bars and places ‘to be seen’, but at Deli Tavern, you don’t go to be seen, you go to kick back—to order a cold beer, maybe catch a game, and enjoy hearty American comfort food in a relaxed, quirky space. The food is delicious–you can’t go wrong with grilled cheese, burgers and meatloaf, but owner Tucker Woodbury wants to emphasize that this new kid on the block is more bar than restaurant.
“We want people to recognize it as a tavern,” he says. “And when I say tavern, it’s equal parts food and beverage—adult beverages. This is that little bar that the city deserves to have. We crank up the classic rock, and it’s very approachable. There’s nothing intimidating about it.”
Deli Tavern has a cozy patio out front, literally steps away from the Light Rail (great for people watching), preceding vintage accordion doors that open upon the interior space, which is packed with character. Some walls are scaled by aged, exposed brick; others covered in quirky, mid-century modern flamingo wallpaper. The walls of the back half of the bar are covered in framed caricatures of notable Phoenix locals and celebrities, and Woodbury says he expects to see many more portraits added in the future.
The fun, checkered floor leads to an eclectic mixture of high tops, booths, and of course bar stools that all provide clear viewing of a half dozen TVs that share the wall with a massive back bar. Service is friendly and quick, you just feel comfortable there. If you’re not in the mood for alcohol (yet), try a cup of their famous, 50 cent coffee and one of four breakfast items served all day.
During our first trip to Deli Tavern we tried the Deli Burger, which was everything a good burger should be—big, juicy and flavorful ($12); warm, buttery Pretzel Bites ($7); and the Omelet and Hash—a massive creation packed with bacon, onion, peppers, cheese and jalapenos ($10). During Happy Hour, which is Monday through Saturday, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., you can choose between seven appetizers and snacks for $7 each, and select beverages ranging in price from $3 to $7.
So the next time you’re downtown Phoenix, check out Deli Tavern. Stay for a while. Become a regular!
“Who knows,” says Woodbury, “you may end up on our wall.”
eat | drink | share | cheers