Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stopping for a drink: Hanny's, Phoenix AZ

I recently got together with a friend for dinner in downtown Phoenix, and remembered that I'd been wanting to stop in at Hanny's to check out the place. The food menu does look tempting, but as I'd just finished a rather hearty dinner, more sustenance was not on the bill. The place used to be a men's clothing store back in its day, and the new owners wisely kept some of the decorative touches, giving a certain urban sophistication that was much appreciated. As with the owners' other local restaurant, AZ88, the restrooms are almost worth the trip on their own. I can't imagine how much of a nightmare it would be to navigate one's way to the loo if you're three sheets to the wind. After perusing my surroundings, I sidled up to the bar and perused the cocktail selections, only to be promptly dismayed that there were no after-dinner libations. There was some temptation to try ordering a Stinger or a Rusty Nail (either of which would certainly befit the atmosphere), but I have a feeling that our bartender who appeared barely of drinking age would have given me a blank stare.

Further observation of the boy behind the stick leads me to believe that anything more than what was on the menu would be met with the aforementioned blank stare, as he proved himself to be out of his league. I ordered a Cosmopolitan, and watched him go to work. Out from the chiller came a pleasantly small Art Deco era size cocktail glass. I'm glad to see a cocktail glass that size. Huge drinks are a bad bet all around. The last half of the drink is room temperature, and you can't have more than one without having to be poured out the door. A cobbler shaker was produced, and was filled with ice. His hands were all over the ice in the shaker. I was tempted to give him a hell of a tongue-lashing about it, but I was with genteel company. Le sigh. He then continued to show his ineptitude by using the glass for my friend's gin & tonic as the ice scoop. I don't really need to mention this faux pas to the bartender. He'll learn his own lesson on a busy Friday night when he tries to scoop the ice with the glass, and it breaks into the ice. I've had to clean up that mess, and to say it is not pleasant is mild. With the freshly handled ice in the shaker, he then started pouring for a modern sized cocktail, i.e. too big for the small glass. He gave it four shakes. Bartenders, heed me well: Shake the hell out of your drinks! They're supposed to be freezing cold! If you think your hands are stuck to the shaker because it's so cold, you're doing it right. The cocktail was then poured to the brim in my glass, and I watched about a third of the potion go down the sink because there was no more room left in the glass. This was absolutely a crying shame. You made that much booze for me, why is such a significant portion of what should by MY drink going as an offering to Bacchus? The drink itself was, as is almost always the case, too sweet. It tasted less like the heavenly potion it should be, more like limeade. On the bright side, he didn't stub his toe on the cranberry juice like so many bartenders do.

I am tempted to return some time for the food, but after watching the bartender I'm not sure if I can bring myself to do so. If the people making things in the front of the house are either green behind the ears to the point that they should still be doing backbar (or worse, just don't care), I'm not sure I can trust the back of the house to do a significantly better job.