A hundred years ago, the United States was engaged in the 13-year experiment known as Prohibition. After alcohol was banned, illegal bars known as speakeasies proliferated as a way around restrictions. Although the 1933 repeal of Prohibition made underground bars unnecessary, it’s not uncommon a century later to have semi-hidden, although perfectly legal, bars that are colloquially described as speakeasies. Downtown Phoenix has several, and one known as Pigtails operates in obscurity despite being in the heart of the central business district.

Continue reading “Pigtails”

Barrel & Bushel

There comes a time in every hotel’s life when it’s time for renovations. In downtown Phoenix, the Hyatt Regency has been a mainstay of the city’s convention business since its opening in the 1970s. Its construction was part of a wave of urban renewal also responsible for Symphony Hall and the original convention center buildings. With the convention center much larger now and designs from over four decades ago looking dated, the Hyatt’s latest round of improvements are welcome, and the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant and bar has been one of the visible priorities. Continue reading “Barrel & Bushel”


For the past decade or so, the trend in Phoenix dining has been outdoor eating environments. Restaurants have invested in patios, sometimes larger than their indoor dining rooms, and many have built rolling garage-style doors that open the inside to the outside during mild weather. There is, however, one restaurant that has shunned the sun for over 65 years. Durant’s, the classic steak and seafood restaurant on Central Avenue halfway between the Encanto / Central and Thomas / Central light rail stations in Phoenix’s Midtown district, is deliberately dark and likely to stay that way. Continue reading “Durant’s”

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