When people ask where to go or what to do, I’m always doing a mental calculation on the beer situation. People kind of expect it now, but I assure you there is much more under consideration. The mathematical operation is the simple addition of “beer and ____”. If I go here I can get beer and there’s a great patio for people watching. If I go there I can get beer and an amazing fried bologna sandwich.
I became more aware of how this works with other people this week when sustainability advocate and architect, Taz Loomans, recommended Crescent Ballroom as a great place to eat. I realize that Crescent enlisted Chris Bianco and Doug Robson to create the menu, but I think most people think of Crescent Ballroom as premier music and event venue. Taz is not a drinker. She was calculating the Crescent using different math. I decided it might be time to add some more variables to my equation. I concluded there were Four Crescents.
You can catch up on the first Crescent, music, right here in DPJ. I can confirm that my Pastor Burrito was top notch–grilled crispy on four sides and just the right mix of spicy beans an pork. Taz and others offered glowing recommendations of the remaining menu items. Shout out to Courtney Nush who originally reviewed the Ballroom for DPJ, the kitchen indeed delivers (and it’s now open for weekday lunch). Great food is the second Crescent.
I’m going to focus on the beer and leave the cocktail and wine to the expertise of others when I discuss the Lounge as the third Crescent. It’s nice to see that this music venue relegated the Bud, Miller and Pabst to the can cooler leaving 3 of the 4 tap handles to Sierra Nevada Pale, Odell IPA and the local Kilt Lifter. There are cans and bottles of Hop Knot, Guinness, Anchor Porter and premium Mexican beers like Bohemia and Negra Modelo giving beer drinkers of all types to find their groove. I settled in on the Odell IPA on this particular afternoon. The beer’s clean malt, resin-y pine hops and bitterness to the finish amped the sweet heat of the citrus achiote pastor. On a warmer day, I may have chosen the malt rich Kilt Lifter or the more traditional Negra Modelo to balance the burrito spiciness.
While I was there, several at the bar latched onto the Michelada, a preparation of tomato juice, lime, spices, hot pepper and beer. It’s a fitting beer cocktail given the mostly burrito and all southwestern fare.
Knowing Taz is an architect, I’d have to think that the very building figures into her equation. The red brick Ballroom was formerly the F.L. Hart Garage built in 1917. The east facing patio provides plenty of shade and large garage doors create a desirable indoor/outdoor feel. The front lounge is an ideal space for Phoenix living and the re-use of a nearly 100 year old building happens so seldom in the Valley that it’s natural for a beer drinker to celebrate with a tip of the pint.
Cheers to the fourth Crescent!
308 North 2nd Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003