Honor Amongst Thieves

Discussion of drinks, alcoholic and otherwise
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mwest
Posts: 37
Joined: 4 years ago

3 years ago

We checked out Honor Amongst Thieves (upstairs from the new Stock and Stable) on Saturday night. I guess my expectations get too high when I read about a new place that sounds like its going to be a cool speakeasy vibe: (This is almost the same revue I gave The Ostrich several months ago) dark, old school decor, semi-secret back entrance without a sign, cocktail-focused, led by a locally-known bartender. Plus its in my favorite neighborhood in the Valley and that adds to my expectations that it will be as good as Okra with a similar clientele.

At least on the night we were there, Honor Amongst Thieves felt a lot more like a Scottsdale trendy nightclub: super loud dance music making conversation extremely difficult, packed to the gills with dudes in shorts and baseball caps and chicks in super short shorts sitting on the laps of said dudes. It was completely not my kind of scene.

We had an Old Fashioned (no citrus zest and not enough bitters, basically bourbon and syrup over an ice cube) and a drink with rum and port, I forget what it was called, but it was just OK. I did not see head bartender Stephanie that night. A guy who recognized us from Federal Pizza did kindly remake the Old Fashioned for us and delivered it to our table himself, which was definitely points in their favor, but overall it was disappointing.

Not a good first impression, I really have no reason to go back based on the first time, when there are so many great places doing what I like nearby.
mwest
Posts: 37
Joined: 4 years ago

3 years ago

And now I hear that founding bartender Stephanie Teslar was gone from Honor Amongst Thieves before it had been open a week. The place is owned by a group that owns a bunch of night clubs. Its making sense now.
J Live
Posts: 60
Joined: 4 years ago
Location: Phoenix, AZ

3 years ago

I was there on Saturday night and thought the same as you in regards to the music. Definitely made conversation a challenge. I was with a great group so anywhere we went was going to be fun but if I just wanted to grab a drink solo, or me and my wife, probably would pass. Impossible to chat with the bartender as well. Can we call them bartenders? I don't really know the rules in this new upscale cocktail world. Anyway, don't want to bend their ear all night as they have work to do but other than "i'll have a ____" and "check please" there was no chance to talk.

Walked over from dinner at Okra. I'll wait to comment on that until another trip. We basically did family style with 8 people which is hard to judge a place because you get just a little of this and that. The short rib was my favorite thing and the service was outstanding.
Bax
Posts: 79
Joined: 5 years ago

2 years ago

We went Monday night. I was apprehensive due to the reviews here, but having read the subsequent review from the "New Times" (http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/restaura ... ne-8392306) I was hopeful. "...a page dedicated to martini variations"? Well all right!

We'd started with dinner downstairs at Stock & Stable and were moderately pleased ($20 happy hour salumi board was good-not-great; smoked corn manti were delicious; drinks were ok -- they no longer have the Cottontail so my boyfriend had the "Dog and Pony Show" [gin, ginger/apple cider, lime, tonic] instead and I had the "Blue Ribbon" daily special which had watermelon shrub and bourbon, I think? and I don't know what else) and then headed around the back and up the stairs.

Pleasantly dim -- could be a nice respite from a bright & sunny Phoenix summer (it was rainy when we were there, though, so I was a little sorry to be missing a view of the rain!). But yes. The music was loud -- definitely too loud for a space that size and a fairly small amount of people in the room. We decided to forego the bar for a cozy table along the wall. Were initially attended by two servers (one evidently in-training) but after the initial visit and the trainee bringing us water, she disappeared and we had just the main waiter. No page of martini variations. Just a short list of cocktails, plus another of shots...or...something? + liquor+beer combos, and then wine and beer. Boyfriend ordered "The Long Haul" -- Kikori Whiskey, Rooibos tea, lemon, blood orange/cardamom shrub & hops and was pretty happy with it. I had hoped for the "51/50" mentioned by the "New Times" (Oola-aged gin, Maurin dry vermouth, and house-made orange bitters -- I'm a sucker for barrel-aged gin, and while I haven't tried Oola's I like them in general) but had to settle for the only martini variation left on the menu, the Dillinger (Fords Gin, Maurin Blanc vermouth,dill bitters + house-pickled onion).

Drinks arrived...neither of which looked remotely martini-like. Servers thought I said "The Drifter," not "the Dillinger Martini." I pointed out that it wasn't surprising they'd misunderstood me with the music so loud. They whisked away the paper umbrella-accented "Drifter" and a "Dillinger" followed not long after (I kinda feel like they should've just left the Drifter, gratis -- what else are they going to do with it? Pour it out?-- but oh well). It was nice. I liked the dill bitters. The onion was delicious and pickle-y and redolent of cloves and other spices but big and awkward both to drink around and to eat.

The waiter (sans trainee) came by to check on us a few times and was very friendly. My boyfriend commented on the loudness of the music a second time and the waiter told us that they very much wanted to be a place that felt welcoming and NOT an assault on the senses, so they actually did indeed turn the music down to a bearable and pleasant level! I doubt that they'll do that with a full house/on a Saturday night but thankfully on a Monday they are willing to listen.

Overall we had a decent experience and I would potentially go back. Still, with Okra right up the street (I ADORE Okra) Honor/S&S won't be my go-to neighborhood spot. It's unfortunate that Stephanie Teslar's time there was so short (anyone hear what happened with that? All I know is she's in Austin now).
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