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A first look at 36 Below, the new martini lounge coming to Sip Coffee & Beer in Phoenix

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Posted at 1:52 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 17:03:14-04

PHOENIX — From the moment people walk through Sip Coffee & Beer and descend down a dozen steps to 36 Below, a subterranean martini lounge taking over the former UnderTow space, owner Josh Katz wants them to be transported to another place.

"You’re literally going to walk in through Sip Coffee & Beer and you’re going to go down into this whole different world," Katz told ABC15 in January.

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He has partnered with Maurice "Moe" Murillo and mixologist Sheldon Wiley, who previously worked with The Maggiore Group -- Hash Kitchen, Sicilian Butcher, Sicilian Baker -- to bring the concept to life.

The goal in January, ambitious no less, was to build out the 600-square-foot spaceand open in March. Design changes and permitting have pushed that back to sometime over the summer.

But, Katz believes it will be worth the wait. With UnderTow relocating next door, he knows there are expectations to meet.

Related: First look: Phoenix cocktail bar UnderTow reopens inside Century Grand building

"We wanted to create a more immersive experience based on what was there before," he said. "We wanted to create something that was ever-changing, where people weren't experiencing the same thing over and over again."

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New conceptual renderings shared with us show there will be a nine-seat rectangular bar with some tables and banquette seating. It will also have a lighter color palette than UnderTow with plants seemingly on the tables and decor leading down the stairs to the bar.

The centerpiece will be five 75-inch commercial-grade screens along the wall that will use images and audio effects to transport people to different places each season.

The first destination will be Flagstaff, Katz said, who attended Northern Arizona University.

"For example, a guest might come in on a Tuesday and see one thing on a screen; they'll come back another few days later, and it'll be a completely different experience," he said.

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Behind the bar, Wiley, who holds three Guinness World Records for most cocktails made in a minute and an hour, said the menu will have a mix of martinis, elevated classic cocktails, and Bespoke cocktails, or customized drinks depending on someone's mood and preferred spirit.

Every season the menu will have nine signature drinks to total a collection of 36 by the end of the year.

Wiley said he is considering turning the menus into a book to memorialize that year's collection.

They will also use fire, smoke, and foam -- referred to as "molecular mixology" -- with some of their cocktails, as well as a small amount of wine, beer, and non-alcoholic options.

"There's going to be something there for everybody," Wiley said.

Katz said after 36 Below opens, he also intends on opening The Rose Room, a 100-square-foot room connected to the cocktail bar that can be used for larger groups or private parties.