Behind The Bar: Tony Pharias of La Bocca

A Valley staple and local fave, La Bocca Urban Pizzeria + Wine Bar brings the best Mediterranean and Italian flavors together to create a mouthwatering menu of items like truffled mushroom pizza, smoked prosciutto Alfredo and charcuterie plates. And with such delicious eats, it’s no surprise that the bar is pouring up top notch drinks to wash it all down with. Not only does La Bocca have an extensive wine list, it also pours up house-made sangrias, house-made seasonal cellos and handcrafted cocktails that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. We had a chance to jump behind the bar at La Bocca North at High Street to meet the three seasoned bartenders/mixologists who are amping up the cocktail program in North Phoenix.

Keep reading to meet the first bartender, Tony Pharias, as he shares his top recommendation, his favorite drink and a tasty recipe for anyone who’s a fan of rum.

Name: Tony Pharias

Favorite drink to mix: A classic Mai Tai. I don’t even have a real reason, it’s just a great drink with a lot of depth.

I’d most like to mix a drink for… Jerry Thomas, the man considered the ‘father of cocktails.’ It would be interesting to see what he thinks of where the cocktail game has gone.

If I could have one superpower while working, it’d be… Go-go gadget arms. Being able to just reach out and grab a bottle from the top shelf behind you without moving, or grab a glass from the far end of the bar would save so much time and energy.

If I were a flavor, I’d be… Lemon. It’s a versatile flavor, it can be used with anything.

My top recommendation at La Bocca is… a spicy pepperoni pizza and the LB Old Fashioned.

When I’m not working, I enjoy sipping on… Just a nice whiskey, neat (currently E.H. Taylor Rye).

Rum Forrest Rum

  • 1 oz. Plantation overproof rum
  • .5 oz. Flor de cana white rum
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz. Strawberry brandy
  • .5 oz. Blackberry balsamic reduction
  • .75 oz. Simple syrup

Directions: Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into a double rocks glass and garnish with a mint sprig.

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Left to Right: TJ, Tony, Michael
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