Two weaves of dry peppers dangle by the entrance, so long and red they seem to suck the color from the adjacent brick columns. These dusty ristra, common in New Mexico, move in the breeze together with the yellow flag of New Mexico. Inside the building, empty of natural light away from the windows, some of the couches are antiques from the 1940s. Roadhouse? Saloon? Nope. Lovecraft is a craft beer bar.
And not your cookie-cutter craft beer bar, but one with style.
The full name of the beer bar is “Lovecraft / Ale House. Bottle Shop. Smoke Kitchen.” Rebecca Golden, who opened the north-central Phoenix shop last December with her boyfriend, Ryan Castillo, describes Lovecraft as “a restaurant that sells a bunch of beer and kind of has a bar vibe.”
The food is New Mexican: carne adovada, green chile (the sauce), and red and green chiles from our eastern neighbor — some from Hatch, some from beyond. Lovecraft also has a smoker, and barbecues brisket, pork, and chicken. Behind its long bar are 31 taps. What flows cold through them changes rapidly, even by craft beer standards.
The Lovecraft bar and eating area with the “rope wall” in back.Chris Malloy
“We typically only buy one keg, so we’re rotating all the time,” Golden says. “The cans are the same way. We try not to carry the same stuff.”
On tap alone, Lovecraft carries beer, wine, mead, cider, hard seltzer, and kombucha.
A look at the ciders speaks to Lovecraft’s variety. Golden and Castillo have carried ciders from Superstition Meadery (Prescott), Cider Corps (Mesa), and the young-and-upcoming Crush Craft Cider (Tempe). Right now, from Crush, Lovecraft is pouring a hazy cider made with strawberries and plums, and another cider made with pomegranates and jasmine tea.
The draft beer selection is all over the Arizona state map, and tends to keep its reach to within a few states beyond. Recently, its selection contained offerings ranging geographically from Wanderlust Brewing Company (Flagstaff), to beers made all over the Valley (Peoria to Scottsdale to Mesa), to the excellent Tombstone Brewing Company down south.
EXPANDA healthy to-go selection of craft beer.Chris Malloy
Beers hew pretty closely to the craft mainstream and don’t venture too far into experimental style. Beers from outside Arizona are still kept mostly to the West. Golden and Castillo often stock offerings from La Cumbre, one of the great New Mexican breweries.
Lovecraft’s food is a backyard marriage between barbecue and New Mexican, compatibility built on similarly deep, soulful flavors kindled from heat applied slow and low.
Using pecan wood and hickory, they smoke meat overnight, shredding chicken onto tacos, and pork and brisket into burritos. Chiles lace the menu about as tightly as the dusty ristra outside. They seem to be in everything, from pozole to queso to stacked enchiladas sluiced with various New Mexican sauces. That includes a “white,” cream-based green chile Golden learned to cook in one New Mexico chile hotbed, La Cruces.
“There are minimal ingredients in our sauces,” Golden says. “We stew them for so long that the chiles do the work.”
In the back room, behind a moveable rope wall, there are games like foosball and giant Jenga. Some days, starting at 3 p.m., Lovecraft offers a tiered happy hour, including select $3 tacos and $3 10-ounce pours.
The expectations of geography and idiosyncrasy shaped by the flag and peppers outside carry over to the food and drink within. Service is kind, upbeat, and when you’ve downed a few beers and ounces of chile sauce, you can grab a Wren House lager or a Tombstone triple IPA to-go.
Phoenix is lucky to have a wealth of craft beer bars. Given this bounty and the ease of routine, you might not be inclined to try a relative newcomer. But in a craft beer climate that has gotten so capable and pervasive that nothing ever seems truly new, Lovecraft sure does.
Lovecraft / Ale House. Bottle Shop. Smoke Kitchen.
3128 East Cactus Road
Hours: 3 to 11 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; 3 p.m. to midnight, Friday; 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday
Malloy, Chris. “Lovecraft Unites New Mexican Chiles and Craft Beer in North Phoenix” Phoenix New Times, September 19, 2019.
|Heritage Heights Block Watch update. They have new signs in their community.|
|Paradise Gardens, Heritage Heights, Mountain Preserve, Mountain Estates – all block watch groups have applied for grant money to support the 2019 Community party at Mercury Mine Park. We are looking for volunteers to help plan the party and or to help on the day of the event.|
Mountain Estates and Paradise Gardens will be working on small gatherings within their own Block Watch areas to promote and strengthen sense of community.
Debra Stark Councilman community update:
TapHouse Kitchen is open!
Craft beer /New Mexico style and smoked meats restaurant opened at 3128 E Cactus. It is owned by the original owner of 32 Shea. Here is their website and an article about them in the AZ Republic.
|Click to Read Article|
|Lovecraft Phoenix Website|
|Zipps is still working on getting their permits to open in the plaza on the NW corner of 32nd St & Shea where Leslie Pools used to be. |
Second Look Consignment located on the NW corner of 32nd St and Shea has decided to close its doors after 39 years of business.
No news of anything new going into the large vacant Walgreens location on the NE corner of Shea and 32nd st.
Paradise Valley Mall has been waiting to redesign the mall until Sears lease was up. That has now occurred and Sears is closed. The mall will be redesigned to be more of an outdoor mall like Desert Ridge. The anchor stores, Macy’s, Dillards, JC Penny’s and Costco will remain.
Update from Bob Yantzer, resident of Paradise Gardens, regarding 32nd St & Shea beautifical and safety collaboration.
Ariel photograph attached from prior to highway 51 coming north. There were decorative medians along 32nd St and in every direction at the intersection of Shea and 32nd St.
Bob, along with other community members, a push to get those decorative medians back. This will enhance the look and feel of our area plus medians can control pedestrian and vehicular traffic as around that intersection is getting very busy and dangerous.
A petition was was available at the meeting for neighbors to sign showing their support. If you would like to sign the petition, let me know and I can get it to you.
|Update from Bruce Cutting, Block Watch Leader of Paradise Gardens, regarding the vacant lot next to the new Young Minds School at 32nd St & Mountain View.|
The lot is currently owned by Young Minds Center but is under the CC&R’s of Paradise Gardens Subdivision. It is zoned as residential. In order for anything to be done with the land other than build homes, the land has to be removed from the subdivision of Paradise Gardens and therefore will not be under the CC&R’s. That is possible, but the Paradise Gardens residents have asked for a preliminary plan of where the buildings may be; an idea of the buildings set back from 33rd St. and the height of proposed buildings.
Once this is completed, the school has plans to add buildings but that may be years down the road. In the meantime, there is talk of it becoming a Community Garden.
Update from Bill Wiley from City of Phoenix Streets Dept. regarding Street Transportation Dept.
The Phoenix City Council took action at its formal meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, to accelerate the city’s pavement maintenance program, unanimously approving the first steps to implement a plan that advances $200 million in pavement maintenance projects on arterial and major streets. The Council’s approval follows action taken in October to advance pavement maintenance efforts through the financing of Transportation 2050 (T2050) street program revenues.
|During this five year period, more than 600 street miles are programmed to be repaved. Residents will see nearly a 300 percent increase in the number of major-street miles that are currently paved per year. In addition, this boost in budget also allows for more bicycle lanes to be added on city streets as the newly paved roads are restriped. This will help ensure the establishment of a well-connected citywide bicycle network and helps the city reach its T2050 program goal of 1,080 new bicycle lane miles. Next steps for this program include identifying the highest priority streets to receive mill and overlay treatments for fiscal years 2021 through 2023. As part of this effort, a public input effort will be launched in early spring of 2019 to allow community members to share their feedback on the proposed streets for these fiscal years. For more information about the city’s pavement preservation program, visit the link below.|
|Pavement Preservation Program|
|Which streets do you want to see included in the pavement maintenance work plans for fiscal years 2021-2023? Use our interactive street maintenance map (link below) to share your input.|
|Below is a form that you can download and fill out requesting Street repair.|
|It was a great meeting with about 70 people in attendance. We appreciate how many neighbors come out to hear what is going on and get involved in the community.|
Lovecraft is a recently opened ale house at 32nd Street and Cactus Road. (Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Golden)
The creators of 32 Shea, a trendy coffee/wine bar and bistro in northeast Phoenix, are back with a new eating-and-drinking concept about a mile away. Lovecraft, recently opened at 32nd Street and Cactus Road, is billed as an ale house, bottle shop and smoke kitchen.
“Ale house,” of course, means beer — more than 100 craft brews along with ciders and wine (total taps: 31). “Bottle house” means you can buy booze to take home. And “smoke kitchen” hints at the menu, which combines Texas-style barbecue with the spicy cuisine of New Mexico.
“A lot of the ale houses I’ve been to don’t serve food, so we didn’t want people to get up and leave,” said Rebecca Golden, a former website developer who opened 32 Shea in 2011 with partner Ryan Castillo and sold the place in 2017.
“I saw this building for lease,” she said. “The business before that and about 20 before that all failed in this building, and I saw an opportunity to open something different in this neighborhood.”
Lovecraft, recently opened in northeast Phoenix, is an ale house serving New Mexican tapas topped with Texas-style smoked meat. (Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Golden)
With 2,600 square feet, Lovecraft (3128 E. Cactus Road) seats about 100 guests. The décor mixes modern with Baroque and Victorian touches, and in addition to the usual TV screens, entertainment options include a gaming area with ping-pong, foosball and board games.
The menu features tapas — street tacos ($3.50-$4.25), stacked enchiladas ($8.50-$10) and mini Hawaiian sweet buns (same range as the tacos) — in a variety of styles and a choice of four proteins from the smoker: chopped brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, and mushrooms for the vegetarian set. Starters include $3 white mac and cheese, and smoked jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and topped with Texas barbecue sauce.
While researching the concept, Golden visited Smoke, a Texas-style barbecue spot in, of all places, Great Falls, Montana.
“I learned how to smoke, and I decided that New Mexican-style food would pair perfectly with smoked meats,” she said.
Hours are 3-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday and 3-11 p.m. Sundays. Golden said she plans to add a lunch menu and happy hour by summer.
Lengel, Kerry. “Lovecraft ale house opens in northeast Phoenix with blend of New Mexico spice, Texas smoke” Arizona Republic, February 15, 2019. https://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/dining/2019/02/15/lovecraft-ale-house-opens-phoenix-new-mexico-cuisine-texas-barbecue/2867594002/
ANOTHER NEW DRINKERY AND EATERY OPENING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Area revitalizing continues down the 32nd Street corridor with a new ale house, bottle shop and smoke kitchen opening on the NWC of 32nd Street and Cactus. Lovecraft will open this month offering 25 taps of craft beer, wine and cider, along with a 2-go bottle shop and smoked kitchen.
Rebecca Golden, former owner of 32 Shea, and her partner Ryan Castillo couldn’t wait to get back into the “neighBEERhood”, but this time with hopes of revitalizing another great intersection along the 32nd Street corridor. “We love this brick building (formerly the Smoke House Grill) and could see great potential here”, says Golden. We realize it hasn’t been successful in quite some time, so we put a lot of thought about what it needed. First thing on the list was a facelift. Removing the arches and modernizing the front not only shows the community there is change going on, it also encourages neighboring businesses to do the same. There are so many great neighborhoods in this area with so little choices, so we wanted to give the community a gathering place where they can hang out, play some ping-pong, watch sporting events and enjoy great food and drinks.”
As far as the menu, “I was born and raised in New Mexico and I cannot deny that influence in everything I do, like eating everything with fresh jalapeños. It made sense to make a menu I’d love by combining two great cuisines, slow-cooked smoked meats (since we inherited the smoker from the last joint) and amazing New Mexico cuisine,” stated Golden. “After all, when you eat something spicy you need to wash it down with something and what’s better than delicious craft beer?” Though, Golden did hesitate to call Lovecraft a restaurant, “We really are a craft beer bar that serves food, rather than a full restaurant. This will give us flexibility to grow the menu slowly without all the expectations that come with restaurant life.”
Lovecraft plans on having weekly events that support the community such as open-mic night, live local bands, ping pong tournaments, craft art nights hosted by their neighbors Craft Nights, pop-up dinners with local Chefs, community bingo and events sponsoring local breweries.
One thing Golden was adamant about was the need to support all local businesses. “When people put their lives on the line to open a business, they need community support. After all, if we do good the neighborhood does good and property values increase. Look at what Postino’s did for Arcadia! Small businesses don’t have the resources like franchises do, so setting expectations that things will be perfect is extremely hard for a small business to accomplish. We don’t have executive boards and investors to run our ideas through, we make the best decisions with the resources we have. With that said, if there is an issue talk to the owner or manager before you go to Yelp or review sites. I know I’d prefer to hear it in-person or get an email first before reading it online.”
“ANOTHER NEW DRINKERY AND EATERY OPENING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD” North 32nd News, December 2018. http://north32ndnews.com/another-new-drinkery-and-eatery-opening-in-the-neighborhood/?fbclid=IwAR0zb0XBjw4AUcdi7vplCAzj6iHxktjeDJpZLD49yIh3ENfpLALQWiiOOm0