by Dorian Boddie
The third and final stop on my Valley-wide tour de speakeasy (check out part I and II) led me to the basement of Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Hidden beneath this luxurious hotel lies a cozy hidden bar called Melinda’s Alley. To enter the cellar speakeasy, head down a narrow alleyway next to the hotel and look for a single red light affixed over a doorway cut into a mural covered wall.
After walking down a couple flights of cement stairs you enter a sub level corridor that has been converted in to a speakeasy. The space is long and narrow and engulfed in a dim red light. You will find two bar stations, vintage knickknacks and art deco furniture positioned in classic sitting room arrangements.
The drink menu consists of about a half dozen original artisan crafted cocktails scrawled on a gold-framed chalkboard. Cocktails start around $12 and the menu is completely recreated every Wednesday (so in all likelihood the drink I am describing here is no longer in existence). My bartenders current favorite, the New Carre’, containing bourbon, cognac, bitters and an apple cider shrub was my libation of choice.
Simply put, this concoction is a masterpiece. I found it had the perfect balance of sweet and tart with aromas of fresh sliced red delicious apples and honey sweet bourbon. I was instantaneously transported to my days of sampling fresh cider at the apple orchards near the New England home of my youth.
Melinda’s Alley is less of a place to get a drink and more of an experience. No expense was spared to transform the industrial hallway into an unforgettable speakeasy. The next time you find yourself looking for an adventure in addition to alcohol, do yourself a favor and visit a bar that’s intentionally trying to hide from you.
Follow Dorian’s Arizona adventures at azsurvivalguide.com.