This week’s wing adventure took us to Arcadia to check out JT’s Bar & Grill. JT’s had an excellent reputation going in. It was the winner of New Times Best Of Phoenix for the Best Bar Food in 2011 and Best Neighborhood Bar, Central Phoenix in 2010. They also had a shitload of raving reviews online. So, it was time to put their hot wings to the test. We were of course skeptical because most people don’t know shit about wings.
This place is in a run down strip mall that looks like it has weathered one too many Arizona summers. In picturesque Arcadia this place stuck out like a pimple on a model’s ass. Being that we had had excellent wings at some pretty bad dives before, things were looking good for us so far.
Parking was a little tight. We found a spot easily enough but I could definitely could see it becoming a problem if it got too busy at JT’s or if the citizens of Arcadia ever start campaigning in the parking lot to tear down this blight on the community of a strip mall.
Inside this place it was about the size of a shoebox. It was crowded; nearly packed from wall to wall with regulars who stare for a minute as if you don’t belong and then go about their business. We shouldered our way through the crowd and found an open table towards the back of the bar near the restrooms. Xavvi somehow squeezed through to the bar to order us a couple of beers and the wings.
While we were waiting for the wings to come out somebody left and a new table so we were quick to grab it and move into the thick of the crowd. Now we were directly across from the bar, although really every spot in the place is pretty much directly across from the bar. The bartender/server brought us a couple more beers before our wings came out. She was a good server and was very friendly.
Eventually our wings came out. We ordered a dozen hot and a dozen of “the works”, a combination of all the different types of sauce into one delicious conglomeration. Now, the wings at JT’s are a little different than at our typical wing joint. They deep fry the wings like normal, then cover them in sauce, and finally they throw them on the grill to finish them off. The end result is an excellent wing.
The wings were big and juicy. Grilling them in the end gave them a great texture. Xavvi saw a tip online to order them double dipped which is where they toss the wings in the sauce a second time after coming off the grill. If you don’t order it this way your wings might be kind of dry although I have no doubt they would still be very good. The two flavors were both great but it was the texture that set these things apart. The hot was pretty typical hot flavor while “the works” was definitely unique. I would recommend either one to anybody but definitely check out “the works” for something different.
It may sound like bitching when I was describing how small and cramped this place was but I was really just trying to set the scene. I really, really liked JT’s and not just because they had such awesome wings. The staff was friendly. The regulars were distant at first but seemed like a fun crowd. The beer and the food were good. My biggest issue with JT’s is that it is located out in damn Arcadia instead of in downtown Chandler by my house. I could definitely see this being a place I would stop by once and awhile to grab some beers and some wings.
After JT’s we headed across the parking lot to Arcadia Tavern. We barely got inside but it was crowded and we decided it was not really our kind of place so we took off. I won’t go into too much detail here because it turns out we headed right back here for some wings in an upcoming review.
From there we tried to force Urban Spoon to give us directions to another bar before we realized that Urban Spoon doesn’t have a bar category. That seems like a pretty large oversight to me, Urban Spoon.
Instead, Xavvi took us to a spot he knew about in downtown Phoenix called Copper Blues. This place was half full of Affliction-wearing douchebags looking like they were doing their best to emulate the cast of Jersey Shore and it was karaoke night. That is two strikes right there in my book. Still, we found ourselves a seat at the bar and it started to become clear there was more to this place that it initially appeared.
They have something like sixty beers on tap with some pretty unique ones in the mix. This is the place that I had my second Lost Abbey beer. This time was something called Judgement Day and it was the most glorious beer I have ever had. It was on the expensive side but with 10.5% alcohol you don’t have to drink quite as many. I had this and a few more beers. Plenty of options to explore.
The karaoke at Copper Blues is sung along with a live band. The live band consisted of a guitar player who took everything too seriously and thought this was a real gig, a bass player who thought this was all a joke and looked like he was playing everything sarcastically, and a woman fronting the band who would sing some songs and then sing backup to the karaoke singers – she looked like she was trying to figure out where her music career went wrong.
The karaoke singers themselves ranged from an old guy with socks up to his knees to a guy belting out a brilliant rendition of “Fuck Her Gently” from Tenacious D. That was not on the usual song list but he talked the band into after his initial song. That was a moment for the karaoke Hall of Fame.
Overall, it was a damn fun experience and the beer was great. They still had half the bar filled with the Affliction wearing douchebags but we were not about to let them ruin a good night or a good bar.