Sometimes work just grabs you by the white shirt collar and marches you directly to the teetering edge of modern insanity. It’s not “hard” and it’s not “tough” but I’m at least 12% certain that we as humans were never intended to sit at 90-degree angles and type bullshit into a computer for 8 hours a day in a repetitive cycle that moves us no closer to any sort of self-satisfaction whatsoever.
I am also certain, and I’m talking like 100% certain, that this is why God invented happy hour at Zipps.
Call it decompression, call it relaxation, call it a stupid ritual if you want, but don’t act like that after-work dozen of wings and that 1 beer…
No, wait. “Have I already had 3?“
Ok, no more after this. “Ok, just one more.”
Oh god, it’s my wife calling. “OK, seriously honey, I swear I’m coming home right after this one“…
I’ll just send her that Real Late Text Message to smooth things over: “Bbaby I loev u soo mich an!d pleas dont b mad I thikn I need a cab?. ps your sexsy n I want 2 make snoosnoo wiht u“
Don’t act like those things aren’t what make the treachery of corporate life tolerable, because they are. Don’t show me pictures of your ugly kids and don’t tell me about your wife’s surprise party for her ugly mom and don’t tell me about how you’re going hiking with your ugly friends this weekend. Just shut up and let’s drink some beer and eat some wings on this random Thursday.
Zipps is like a haven for this sort of thing. It’s a sports bar, sure, and sports bars have happy hours, but Zipps happy hour lasts just a little longer, the Zipps beers are just a little cheaper, and the Zipps wings are just that much better than most other wings we’ve had.
Tyler and I met at the Hayden Zipps location, the original. It’s a ritzy joint for a sports bar, to be sure. I’m not used to the finer things in life, as I am a broke Mexican, and this Zipps is in a fancy shopping center with all kinds of uppity fucks that go to drink in their khaki shorts and play Golden Tee Golf even though they already played 18 holes somewhere today. I’m not making that up either, this random Canadian on vacation was next to us at the bar when we ordered our giant 32oz mugs of beer for $3 (seriously, this place is my liver’s worst nightmare) and told us about how he was there for a week or two because he goes back and forth between Scottsdale and Canada, and all the while some douche in an Affliction shirt and a Livestrong bracelet was playing Golden Tee.
That being said, the service was friendly, the beer was incredibly cheap and the place was packed for no real reason. We figured that there was either something really right with this place or really, tremendously wrong. It was the former, for those in suspense. I just can’t keep you waiting!
As has become our norm by now, we ordered a dozen suicide and a dozen hot. Actually, because Zipps has buffalo-style wings and their own special “Golden” wings, we got the suicide buffalo-style and we got the hot Golden-style. Watching the Suns lose on the several flat screen TVs, drinking our super-cheap mugs of beer, waiting for our wings and watching the wealthy happy hour crowd, I was at peace. We were so totally zen bro, or whatever. It was happy hour, at its finest.
The Zipps wings arrived at our table screaming with steam and heat, just the way we like them. Tons of sauce, tart tangy sauce that you could smell coming from around the corner, piled on top of two dozen large wings, and our mouths were watering at the thought. Deep maroon color, vinegar smell in the air…it was one of those perfect plastic bag American Beauty moments only without the lame exposition and bullshit deepness…but with wings.
Tyler picked up a Golden Hot and took a bite. I sat there, camera ready, waiting for that familiar look of disappointment.
But he wasn’t disappointed. No, he was impressed with Zipps. I had to wrap my sexy mouth around this big delicious meat-bone to find out what kind of tasty treat my mouth was in store for! I mean…that is, I wanted to eat some wings like a man! YEAH! …I HAVE A WIFE.
First bite was crispy, crunchy, so extremely well cooked. Skin had that necessary audible chomp-tasticness to it, meat had that succulent juiciness, these flavor-sticks were wings cooked right. Then I noticed the flavor of the sauce. The Golden Hot was certainly plenty hot, but the Golden added a smoky sweetness to it. It wasn’t barbecue outright and it wasn’t like a honey-chipotle or anything, it was just sweeter and smokier than a regular sauce. You know we’re not much for deviating from the beaten path of delicious Buffalo tradition, but it was hard not to say that these Golden wings were good enough even for our wing-snobbery.
We then both tried the Suicide. The hot was really spicy, even with the Golden flavor there to add sweetness and sort of dumb it down, so the Suicide must be nigh-murder, right? Sadly, no. These Suicide wings were still spicy and had some pretty good flavor, but again we ran into a case where the restaurant tries to add peppers to add to the spice but sacrifices the flavor. They just weren’t as tasty as the Golden Hot, and upon repeat visits we’ve learned that they just don’t taste as good as the Buffalo Hot either. To add insult to Suicidal injury, for some reason the Suicide isn’t even as spicy as the Hot! We’ve been to several Zipps locations since this initial visit and asked waitstaff, bartenders and customers alike and they all agreed: the Suicide didn’t stand up to the Hot in flavor and it damn sure didn’t touch them in the heat department.
The Suicide weren’t bad though, I don’t want to paint that picture. They had a good, deep pepper flavor for a suicide wing and were still very well cooked, but man…if you’re going to give up the great flavor of that Hot for the heat you’re trying for with the Suicide, you better make damn sure you bring the heat. Long Wongs, Native New Yorker, I’m talking to you too. Hell, I’d be talking to Mister Gee’s too if they hadn’t gone belly up, probably because they COULDN’T MAKE THEIR FUCKING SUICIDE TASTE LIKE INSTANT DEATH-DESIRE. Fix this shit post-haste, Zipps. Also at once, ASAP as possible, and any other annoying saying I can churn out that will make you make your Suicide get up to par quickly.
One other thing that has stuck out in our minds with each successive visit to Zipps: When you order the Hot or the Suicide, they ask you if you’ve ever had them, to prep you mentally for the daunting challenge of eating Hot wings. We’ve learned though that they are required to ask you…it’s almost like pandering. Don’t try to scare me into fearing but being intrigued by your Hot or your Suicide. If a server really thinks they’re that fucking throat-toastingly hot, let them tell me but don’t force them to go “Oh, have you had them before? Because they’re like…omg.” because they’re not. They’re really spicy, they taste great, but they’re not the NY Boyz Suicide Challenge and they’re not Teakwoods Suicide and they’re not Buffalo Brown spicy. They’re just Hot.
Reading all this, I realize that I bitched a lot in this review. Don’t take that as a slight against Zipps, because minus the goofy faux-heat warning and the clientele that comes with Scottsdale (which isn’t Zipps fault and isn’t present in most other locations), everything about that place was awesome. Great wings, stupidly cheap beer, and it was nice and clean and full of saggy cougar boobage.
Upon leaving Zipps and trying to figure out who could drive and how, we ended up at the Thirsty Lion at Tempe Marketplace, drinking craft beers and talking about stupid things until all of a sudden a Nickelback video came on.
As if the torture of a Nickelback song wasn’t bad enough audibly, we were subjected to their actual music video being played on the TV. Firstly, I’ve got to say that I don’t know what U of A graduate thought it would be a good idea to EVER play Nickelback anywhere, so I want to detract one million cool points from Thirsty Lion. Secondly, I also want to detract another million more because FUCKING NICKELBACK YOU BASTARDS.
But this isn’t the worst part. Nope. See, we ended up looking up at the screen and seeing all manner of celebrities randomly posing for this Nickelback video and losing respect for them one by one…and then we see Grant Hill in the video. Grant Hill, the NBA’s nicest player and one of the most respected ever, who has brought grace and humility to what otherwise is a very sad chapter for the Phoenix Suns. Grant Hill. In a Nickelback video.
We were depressed, defeated, wrapped up in the misery of knowing that another work-week approached us and that we’d just repeat the cycle again and again until someone put us in pine boxes after giving us Homicide wings. Upon further reflection though, we realized that so long as a place like Zipps is there to get us drunk and fill our fat bellies with chicken, grease, butter and hot sauce…was it really all that bad? If work is what drove us to come to a place like Zipps, shouldn’t we be thanking work?
No, no we shouldn’t. But we can thank Zipps for being there for us in our time of need. Weekly.
Zipps Sports Grill
8380 E. Via De Ventura
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Sampled January 12th, 2012