She Said: UnderTow in Phoenix is a hidden gem that must be explored
To say UnderTow in Phoenix is a hidden gem is a little too obvious.
UnderTow is a 500-square-foot, tiki-inspired speakeasy located beneath the floors of Sip Coffee and Beer Garage in Arcadia. I made my maiden voyage there recently and got much more than a Mai Tai in a high-back wicker chair.
Let’s just say, UnderTow takes Tiki to the next level.
As you enter Sip, it’s hard to miss the wooden staircase that sits in the center of the establishment embellished with floral accessories. A sign guides you to descend down into a Polynesian paradise. As you enter the dark and cozy bar you are literally transformed. You have submerged into the hull of a 20th Century ship that is tastefully littered with themed décor, special effects and sounds that having you feeling a little buzzed even before you have taken your first sip.
There is an entire fictional story that explains the history of what you are experiencing at UnderTow which you can read in their book — errr, I mean menu.
When the bar first opened, Voyage 1, Chapter 1 kicked off the adventure. Two years later, UnderTow is now on Voyage 3, Chapter 6. The bar/ship has transformed slightly to coincide with the current chapter and the cocktails have been crafted and named to fit the story line.
So now it was time for me to choose a cocktail, which was easier said than done. After about 10 minutes of reading through the chapters, my first beverage was “Bargain with Heathens” made with American Bonded Brandy, Aged Jamaican Rum, Maraschino Liqueur, Cinnamon, Pineapple and Lime. It was sensational. STRONG, but sensational.
As I was savoring each sip of my drink, an indoor thunderstorm started. Flashes of lightning and booms of thunder engulfed the bar. It was a scene straight out of Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, sparking childhood-giddy feelings. OK, maybe my drink was kicking in, but it was awesome!
My second cocktail was “Never Drink From A Skull” made with old-fashioned traditional rum, Mezcal, Orgeat, Passion Fruit, Bergamot, pineapple and lime. Creative, well-balanced and delicious! I wouldn’t have care if a monsoon started after that drink! The craft cocktails clearly had just as much time and energy put into them as the atmosphere of the bar.
Undertow exceeded my expectations and truly is the ultimate tiki bar. It provokes a sense of excitement, playfulness and appeals to ALL five of your senses. It’s a place you have to go experience to actually fully understand. As I emerged back to ground-level, I was feeling pretty good and already anticipating my next voyage down to Undertow.
Editor’s note: Drinks were hosted by UnderTow.