Scott Avenue has become Tucson's unofficial cocktail central.
Cocktail bar The Owls Club will open in a 2,500-square-foot space at the former Brings Funeral Home at 236 S. Scott Ave. on Friday, November 25.
"We wanted a place to get a night cap or something before the theater," said Patricia Schwabe, co-owner and partner of Owls Club. "My husband and I partnered on the property about a year ago. We decided we wanted to do something there after seeing how beautiful the space is."
Schwabe tapped into the bartending talent at her restaurant Penca to hire Bryan Eichhorst as the beverage director and menu developer for Owls Club.
"He is the visionary with the bar," Schwabe said. "He's done a fantastic job and we are happy to be supporting him."
However, don't expect the same types of drinks.
"It will be antithetical cocktail list to Penca, which is fresh, fruit-driven and colorful," Eichhorst said. "The other half of my brain wants dark, stirred, and unctuous."
Eichhorst found inspiration in the manifesto of the Beta Cocktails book, which suggest less focus on the farmers market and more on the dusty bottles in the backbar such as amari and vermouth. As a result, the cocktail list will be shorter.
"I wanted the cocktail list to be as concise as possible," Eichhorst said.
Upon opening, six-to-eight cocktails will be available, but additional will be available as new staff brings their ideas and tastes. Whiskey will be the star, however. The whiskey list is currently hovering around 100 choices, but is expected to double in size.
Tightly budgeted drinkers will have options via $2 shots of Benchmark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, $2 cans of Rolling Rock American Lager, and $3 Dixie Beer.
"The Dixie Brewery disappeared after Hurricane Katrina," Eichhorst said. However, the brand exists through other breweries to keep the New Orleans beer-drinking tradition alive.
For the flagship cocktail, order the Aspiration West featuring Irish whiskey, Amontillado sherry, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and absinthe.
"It's slow to drink and appreciate but complex with flavors," Eichhorst said.
For more information, visit owlsclubwest.com.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he...