25 November, 2020, 03:28

Ditch the Jack & Coke. Try a craft cocktail at these 20 Tucson bars & restaurants

Jägerbombs might be appropriate for wild nights, but drinkers who drink for the flavor will take a different route.

While bars with liquor offer cocktails, it takes an extra level of knowledge, quality ingredients, and even special ice to create something considered a craft cocktail.

Here’s our list of outstanding drinking establishments with bartenders that won’t stare at you blankly if you ask for a negroni.

47 Scott / Scott & Co.

47 N. Scott Ave.
(Photo Credit: 47 Scott/Facebook)

(Photo Credit: 47 Scott/Facebook)

47 Scott and next-door neighbor/sister establishment Scott & Co. has served as breeding grounds for some of Tucson’s best bartending talent.

The original trio of bartenders Ciaran Wiese, Connor Mansager, and Karl Goranowski helped Tucson’s craft cocktail scene explode into something beautiful. Wiese even helped the bar draw national attention from the New York Times in 2011.

While many of 47 Scott’s bartenders have become some of Tucson’s most influential bartenders at other bars, some of which are listed below in this article, 47 Scott still has top talent nowadays. With 47 cocktails on their menu and a team that can easily improvise beyond the menu, 47 Scott is a drinker’s paradise.

For more information, visit 47scott.com.

R Bar

350 E. Congress St., #110
R Bar (Credit: Louisa Moratti)

R Bar (Credit: Louisa Moratti)

Also hidden just off of Congress, R Bar is a favorite drinking spot among bartenders. Even though the sensual scarlet interior makes it look more like a dance club, the carefully-crafted cocktails are worth lounging around with to sip slowly.

For more information, visit rbartucson.com.

Welcome Diner

902 E. Broadway Blvd.
Fall 2017 cocktails at Welcome Diner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Fall 2017 cocktails at Welcome Diner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Who would have expected a place known for its biscuits would serve some of Tucson’s best craft cocktail menus? The Googie diner transforms into an intimate space at night perfect for drinking.

For more information, visit welcomediner.net.

Hotel Congress

311 E. Congress St.

While weekend nights at Congress are packed, try visiting earlier when it’s calmer and order one of their classics. If you’re used to the club environment there, you’ll appreciate the calm vibes even more.

For more information, visit hotelcongress.com.

El Crisol at Exo Roast Co.

403 N. Sixth Ave.
Cocktail at El Crisol (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cocktail at El Crisol (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mezcal enthusiasts will fall in love with El Crisol’s massive selection of mezcales, possibly one of the largest in the nation. The candle-lit bar also features a seasonally changing craft cocktail menu and some light bites. Lastly, the bar regularly hosts jazzy and Latin American musicians.

Keep up with El Crisol on Instagram.

Agustin Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento #150
Oysters at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Oysters at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

AK’s bright cocktails pair marvelously with their wide selection of fresh oysters. The patio in the Mercado San Agustin is a beautiful setting for day and evening drinking.

For more information, visit agustinkitchen.com.

La Cocina / Dusty Monk Pub

201 N. Court Ave.

La Cocina and sister bar Dusty Monk Pub feature a laid-back vibe in one of Tucson’s best patios, along with live music multiple nights a week. Say hi to the turtles in the turtle pond.

For more information, visit lacocinatucson.com.

Elvira’s

256 E. Congress St.
TUC cocktail at Elvira's

TUC cocktail at Elvira’s (Credit: Jackie Tran)

While the sleek lanterns and interior are what catch the eyes from pedestrians walking by, come in and grab a seat at the bar for a creative cocktail. Beverage manager Eric Harding showcases the wide agave selection in creative margaritas and other interpretations of classics.

Keep up with Elvira’s Tucson on Facebook.

Good Oak Bar

316 E. Congress St.

Good Oak Bar focuses on local and regional whiskeys and agave spirits. The vibe is intimate and relaxed, even though it’s smack dab at the entrance of downtown. Their spicy fried pickles are worth their own article.

For more information, visit goodoakbar.com.

OBON Sushi Bar Ramen

350 E. Congress St.

OBON craft cocktail program captures a level of detail and elegance in garnishes distinct with Japanese craft cocktail culture. However, they also don’t take themselves too seriously, keeping their signature fun spirit as well. Their adventurous attitude with Asian condiments can sometimes add a savory profile distinct from typical cocktails.

For more information, visit fukushuconcepts.com.

Owls Club

236 S. Scott Ave.
Owls Club (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Owls Club (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Candle light, chandeliers, and a baby grand piano creates quite the moody drinking ambiance. Although the cocktail menu itself is small, beverage manager Bryan Eichhorst and the team can be trusted to whip up whatever classic you’d like. The massive whiskey list is also worth perusing.

For more information, visit owlsclubwest.com.

Sidecar

139 S. Eastbourne Ave.
(Credit: Sidecar)

(Credit: Sidecar)

Located near the geographic center of Tucson just doors away from sister restaurant Falora, Sidecar has the hip, modern vibe of a downtown bar without actually being downtown. The cocktail menu features original creations that show respect for the formulas of classic cocktails.

For more information, visit barsidecar.com.

The Still

Secret Address
Interior at The Still (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Interior at The Still (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Send a text message to (520) 909-6299 to make a reservation at this hidden speakeasy. Once you make it past the secret entrance, enjoy the cozy seating inside or cuddle up by a fire pit on the secluded patio. Operating hours are from 7 p.m. to close on Friday and Saturday.

For more information, visit thestilltucson.com.

The Coronet

198 W. Cushing St.
Hey Laaady! cocktail at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cocktail at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Coronet’s courtyard patio and live jazz music create a lovely setting for early evening lounging. The former Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant space also features additional seating for a lovely relaxed environment.

For more information, visit coronettucson.com.

Penca

50 E. Broadway Blvd.
Mezcal flight at Penca (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mezcal flight at Penca (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cousin restaurant to Owls Club, Penca’s cocktail program is also managed by Bryan Eichhorst. However, these cocktails are primarily agave spirit-focused and more fruit-forward and refreshing. House-made pineapple tepache is a plus.

For more information, visit pencarestaurante.com.

Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink / Tough Luck Club

101 E. Pennington St.

While Reilly has classy Italian cocktails, the Tough Luck Club downstairs is focused on cocktails with fun, even snarky names. If you’re feeling bold, roll the dice for one of six random libations.

For more information, call (520) 882-5550 or visit reillypizza.com.

Feast

3719 E. Speedway Blvd.

While Feast is known for wine, they also have an impressive bar with cocktails you won’t find anywhere else.

For more information, visit eatatfeast.com.

The Parish

6453 N. Oracle Rd.

The Parish channels their fun spirit and southern hospitality into their seasonally changing cocktail menu. Their Sazerac is also a local classic.

For more information, visit theparishtucson.com.

The Royal Room

450 N. Sixth Ave.
Mi Rey, Royale, Coup D'Etat, and Noble Intentions cocktails at the Royal Room (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mi Rey, Royale, Coup D’Etat, and Noble Intentions cocktails at the Royal Room (Credit: Jackie Tran)

One of Tucson’s most Instagram-able locations thanks to its colorful windows and mid-century modern aesthetic, The Royal Room also features an impressive cocktail program.

Keep up with The Royal Room on Instagram.

HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

266 E. Congress St.
Cocktails at HUB Eatery & Ice Creamery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cocktails at HUB Eatery & Ice Creamery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

HUB renovated their cocktail program to please both snobs and casual drinkers. The downtown hot spot also features their own house-made salted caramel ice cream with local whiskey in the Santa Cruz Float.

For more information, visit hubdowntown.com.

The Red Light Lounge at The Downtown Clifton

485 S. Stone Ave.
Cocktails at The Red Light Lounge at The Downtown Clifton Hotel

Cocktails at The Red Light Lounge at The Downtown Clifton Hotel (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Red Light Lounge offers a sexy, intimate vibe with one of the more affordable craft cocktail menus in town. They also offer seven different types of spirit flights, one of which being a mini-gin-and-tonic flight.

For more information, visit downtowntucsonhotel.com.

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano

2890 E. Skyline Dr.
Negroni cocktails at Tavolino (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Negroni cocktails at Tavolino (Credit: Jackie Tran)

In addition to the seasonal Italian cocktails, Tavolino also features several riffs on the classic negroni cocktail. Enjoy them on their classy bar or cozy patio.

For more information, visit tavolinoristorante.com.

Have a craft cocktail fave we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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