Wine connoisseurs and their beer buddies have several places to enjoy a cool beverage without having to go to multiple bars in the North Central area. These places cater to all palates and offer unique perks including a fun throwback to your childhood with games like Connect Four and the ever-fun Rock “em Sock “em Robots.
What you won’t find, however, is an expansive food menu. Bar bites, though tasty, are about the most you can expect as these businesses are all about the libations.
Central Wine, 4236 N. Central, Suite 101, is tucked near the corner of Indian School Road and Central. It’s across the breezeway from the Clever Koi restaurant and quite often you’ll find patrons enjoying a glass of wine while they wait for a table. The petite bar features a number of wines as well as some Arizona brews. You can order a flight of three wines or beers to try labels that are new to you.
Jenna Rousseau is the owner and she’s created a menu to compliment the beverages. You can get a small nosh plate for $3, a veggie board or burrata for $9, or even gluten-free crackers upon request.
If you’re enjoying a sweeter wine there’s a dessert menu to compliment your drink. Central Wine also serves non-alcoholic drinks such as espresso and lattes. For a refreshing change try the Dry Cucumber Soda or Hubert’s Lemonade.
Wine tastings take place every Thursday from 6-9 p.m. for $15. On April 27, wine cocktails will be featured just in time as the summer temps start to soar. And if you happen to need a hair color, you can make your appointment at the adjoining hair salon and enjoy a glass of wine or beer while your color sets. That means you can go strawberry blonde and have a Strawberry Blonde beer from Pine, Ariz. too. Central Wine has a list of beers and wine as well as events all listed on its website and Facebook page. Call 602-812-7343 or visit www.centralwinephx.com.
Just north on Central Avenue is Rott n’ Grapes, 4750 N. Central Ave, where all things Rottweiler and grapes are celebrated by the wife-and-husband team of Patty Gii and Keith Shanks. The name pays tribute to their Rottweiler dogs and, of course, their love of wine. Rott n’ Grapes is located at the base of Landmark Towers and Elevation on Central, two luxury apartment complexes.
“Patty and I are both wine people,” says Shanks, “but I drink a lot of beer,” he chuckles. For their fellow wine lovers, they offer 80 wines by the glass. The beer imbibers can select from 75 beers in draft, cans or bottles.
You can find a special just about every night. On Monday nights they hold a Connect Four tournament. Tuesdays and Thursdays they feature live music and on Saturday they celebrate Ladies’ Night with a nice discount for the women. They also have wine tastings each month at no charge as well as beer tastings, also at no charge.
To accompany your wine or beer you can enjoy a charcuterie board, spinach-hummus dip, meatballs or an Italian flat pizza. Also available is a kale-quinoa pattycake.
Small groups can reserve space to hold meet-up gatherings or birthday celebrations. “If it makes sense, we try to accommodate people,” says Shanks. They have also expanded to add a lounge area directly across the breezeway. It adds 265 square feet to their space and will allow for more group gatherings. “You can belly up to the bar, enjoy the patio or head to the lounge,” says Shanks.
Rott n’ Grapes opens at 3 p.m. daily with Happy Hour lasting until 8 p.m., with $3 beers and $5 wines. You don’t have to leave Fido home either. Since the owners are such big dog fans they have a dog-friendly patio complete with water dishes so both you and your dog can enjoy a nice drink.
Check out more events listed at http://rottngrapes.com or call 602-888-1667.
Finally, you can pick from two locations for The Whining Pig: 1612 E. Bethany Home Road (602-633-2134), or 3730 E. Indian School Road (602-795-9910). The Bethany Home location is intimate and patrons often end up sitting on boxes of bottled beer near the front window. It’s a cozy neighborhood joint with plenty of beer and wine choices as well as a few items to nosh on while you’re enjoying your friends and challenging them to a game of Trivial Pursuit.
The location on east Indian School Road has more legroom and chalkboard that takes up one entire wall that’s filled with lists of wine and beer. The owners, Matt and Katy Fulton, Steve Coburn and Daniel Caprario, are making sure there’s something for everyone on the menu.
You can pick from a list of 50 wines and at least 100 beers. They open daily at 3 p.m. and Happy Hour lasts until 8 p.m. Katie Culver is both bartender and opponent. “I get to play the customers,” she laughs. Throwback games include Go Fish, Yahtzee and Simon Says. People can be seen playing any of the games and if they need another player, Culver can handle that duty as well. “I hear (from customers), ‘It’s laid back and the music is low key’.” She says people like the vibe where they can unwind after work and visit or play a game.
Everyone from millenials to senior citizens can be found enjoying a favorite drink. Like the other places, the food menu is minimal. The Indian School location offers six types of paninis ($6 each) as well as a meat and cheese board for $13. However, there are three restaurants located in the same shopping plaza and patrons are welcome to bring their own food into the bar. You have your pick of pizza, Chinese or Thai food.