The Pinnacle Guide

Bitter & Twisted

Phoenix, USA

Blending historical charm with an extensive modern drinks list, this large downtown bar is passionate about classic-styled sustainable cocktails.

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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ENVIRONMENTAL ENDEAVOURS

Working to reduce their waste, Bitter & Twisted try to maiximise ingredients beyond a single-use and in that effort invented STABYL™, a citrus juice substitute that lasts refrigerated for up to thirty days. They supply numerous bars in the downtown area with the product in reusable recyclable stainless steel kegs on a weekly basis.

DETAILS OF NOTE

Bitter & Twisted’s best selling cocktail is the Porn Star Martini, created in the UK by the late Douglas Ankrah. The team consider the bar the spiritual home of the drink in America, and abide by its original recipe, using house-infused vanilla Grey Goose vodka with fresh passion fruit and Passoã passion fruit liqueur, shaken and served up and over the top with a sidekick of bubbles.

The Pinnacle Guide

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Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, situated within the historic Luhrs Building in downtown Phoenix, has – since its inception in 2014 – been a beloved cocktail destination for travellers and locals alike. The space itself is a masterclass in adaptive reuse, blending historical grandeur with modern touches to create an atmosphere that is both timeless and trendy.

Upon stepping into Bitter & Twisted, guests are transported back to the era of Arizona’s prohibition headquarters. Exposed brick walls, vintage chandeliers, cement columns and plush velvet seating evoke a sense of old-world charm while preserving the building’s historical character. Sleek black marble accents and geometric patterns skillfully contrast the building, coupled with modern amenities such as power outlets and bag hooks making the bar convenient for guests.

It is evident art and illustration play a significant role in the ambiance of Bitter & Twisted, with local artists featured significantly on the walls. From the iconic 25-foot mural depicting a playful scene of a giant woman searching for vermouth in downtown Phoenix to the custom-designed photo booth, every corner of the bar is adorned with unique and eye-catching artwork.

At the heart of Bitter & Twisted is its award-winning cocktail programme, which offers an extensive menu inspired by classic literature, including stand-out drinks from previous menus. Each cocktail at the bar is made with a focus on sustainability and innovation but with the crucial underlying question of ‘is it great, would you order another?’.The development stage here often starts out with the team testing unique flavour combinations or housemade infusions and ingredients inspired by culinary experiences. Interestingly at Bitter & Twisted nearly half the menu can be made non-alcoholic. 

The customised modular bar that serves these drinks provides an optimal workspace for bartenders, ensuring smooth and seamless service even during busy hours.  The menu is extremely extensive and the team enjoy the challenge of guiding guests through the pages – to ensure that the cocktail ordered is entirely suitable. However, as a bar that focuses on drinks made-to-order, the staff can go well beyond the restraints of any current cocktail list, and in fact, the bar boasts a curated selection of over 500 bottles of spirits, chosen for their merit and quality. Cocktails are styled simply with all garnishes serving a purpose that complements the drinks.

Sustainability is a core value at Bitter & Twisted, and this commitment extends to every aspect of the operation. From in-house ice production to this careful garnish selection, every detail is thoughtfully considered to minimise waste and reduce environmental impact. However the state-of-the-art nanofiltration water system water deserves special recognition as it filters out even the most minor impurities, reducing wastage in the arid Phoenix climate plus elongates the life of all other machines in the building – namely the  Hoshizaki ice cuber, the Follet crushed ice machine, and the Clinebell ice system.

Fostering the team is a huge priority for Bitter and Twisted. As an equal opportunities employer, they actively ensure equity across the business through established mentorship programs that connect underrepresented employees with senior leaders and they also require the team to take an online course with a dedicated section highlighted for inclusivity and awareness of LGBTQIA+ matters. They invest greatly in supporting the advancement of their staff’s careers, prioritising skill training and workshops, mentorship programs, cross-training opportunities, performance reviews, and goal setting.  Beyond professional development they have implemented a comprehensive policy focussed on creating a positive working environment that includes flexible work arrangements, providing access to wellness programs and offering resources such as counselling services and stress management workshops.

The team behind Bitter and Twisted are also an active part of the local community and contribute to the boards of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership – funding projects and organising meetings on issues such as the installation of new water fountains or sanitary bathrooms, aimed at enhancing the whole Phoenix Metro community.

“The space is cool. The photo booth was a stand-out feature. Such a great idea to capture memories besides our phones while the cocktail menu has so many choices there are a lot of reasons to go back and try others.”

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