Welcome to UnderTow. A 500-square foot space down a flight of stairs in the center of Sip Coffee & Beer Garage located in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix is where you will find a tiki-inspired cocktail bar, landing you smack dab in a19th-centuryy clipper ship. Sounds a little offbeat, right? That is until you hear that the concept is brought to you by the great minds of co-founder Richard Furnari (who also owns Counter Intuitive in Old Town Scottsdale) and craft cocktail legend Jason Asher.
But UnderTow is about way more than just their kick-ass cocktails. Wesley James from Stark James came in to handle the design aspect, and damn, he nailed it beyond all expectations. 11 months of hard work, and the ideas that they all brought to the table came to life. Once you step down the single flight of stairs you are welcomed below deck where space and time escape you. Not one inch of the space was overlooked. From the hand-sketched menu to the hand carved tiki head posts, shipping containers from the peace corps turned into booth seating, portholes replicating the seas just outside, and the open glass ceiling used to replicate the light coming in from the top deck, which also creates interactions between the upstairs coffee shop and the curiosity of what looms below. Even the ceiling and walls are bowed to resemble the inside of a ship. Nothing has been overlooked. You are completely immersed in what life would be like during this time period.
The team was greatly inspired by the Polynesian culture and how those onboard would move the storage to back of ship and create tiki bars in the front of the boat, traveling around the world. Stopping in different ports along the way to obtain new ingredients, experiencing the culture in it’s most genuine form. And experience it you will. Set to roll out late September, UnderTow guests will be taken on a sensory experience, from unique lighting to sounds, all connected through computers similar to Disneyland. There will be 8 sections that last 12 minutes each (for simple math’s sake; that’s 96 minutes total). From Polynesian dancers to thunderstorms to a breezy calm port, a bustling spice market, and along different trade routes, it’s something I am most excited about in particular.
And now onto the real reason you’re all reading this. Their drinks take you to a different place, you feel a sense of escapism. And as you listen to the bartenders describe what and how their drinks are made, you can feel their personalities come out with each cocktail. This adventure is all about building a sense of community for the team, helping the bartenders of today be the next bar owners of tomorrow. The flavor profiles are just unbelievable, from making their own macadamia nut infused Jamaican rum and the scent of freshly grated nuts and spices to garnish to most perfectly hand-crafted cocktails you have ever laid eyes (and lips) on. From the hard driven classics like the mai tai to the originals like the Smuggled Goods (macadamia nut infused rum, mezcal, sherry, orgat, lime, pimento) and the Pirate’s Remorse (guava, Rhum of Martinique, honey, vanilla, mace, lime, nutmeg; pictured), which I was lucky enough to taste test before they opened to the public.
But no matter which drink you decide to try, be ready for an authentic and unique experience (and quite possibly a wait) as UnderTow only seats 26, with a max capacity of 39, which I expect to be full more times than not. So get ready to set sail, as this may just change the Phoenix scene as we know it!
3620 E. Indian School Rd. (inside Sip Coffee & Beer Garage)
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Wednesdays & Thursdays 4pm-Midnight
Fridays & Saturday 4pm-2am
Closed Sunday- Tuesday