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A look inside Barcoa, a new agaveria in downtown Phoenix

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Posted at 4:06 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 07:34:39-05

Update (Jan. 13): Co-owner David Tyda said Thursday that the grand opening party for Barcoa has been postponed due to the spike of COVID-19 cases in Arizona. Both bars are still open for regular hours, but they will move the party because "we just don’t feel it’s safe to pack the house right now," Tyda said in a tweet.

Downtown Phoenix has a new spot for people to taste and learn about tequila, mezcal, and other agave-distilled spirits.

Barcoa, a combination of the words "bar" and "coa," the tool used to help harvest the agave plant, opened a few weeks ago in the historic "Hardware Store" building, near First Avenue and Roosevelt Street, west of Central Avenue. A grand opening is set for Jan. 22, 2022.

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It's a new business partnership between festival producer David Tyda, who created Phoenix Pizza Fest and Downtown Donut Fest, and Ryan Oberholtzer, the owner of Provecho at The Churchill.

"We decided to call it an 'agaveria' to be inclusive of all of these different types of spirits," Tyda told ABC15 in a recent interview. "So, when somebody walks through the door, I want them to feel like they can sort of discover something. So, if they've only drink tequila, and they want to discover mezcal, that's here for them. But if they're deep down the wormhole — no pun intended — of mezcal, right, that they can get into bacanora, raicilla, sotol."

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There are technically two bars within Barcoa: Cantina at Barcoa, which is on the main floor and designed to offer a casual drinking experience with recognizable cocktails (ie: margarita, paloma, mezcal mule), and Barcoa, located in the basement, which has a larger bar and seating area and intended to showcase flights and neat pours.

"I want people to try the spirit without anything added in, just so they get a feel for what different agave tastes like," said Tyda, adding that bartenders will be there to help answer questions and make recommendations.

Mexican beers, wine, and craft cocktails are also on the menu.

One cocktail Tyda mentioned was "The Botanga," which is essentially tequila, coke, and lime, served in a glass with a salted rim, with a steak knife as the garnish.

Why? "You gotta come in to find out," Tyda said.

"We're paying homage to some of those drinks and those stories and folklore behind them," he said.

Barcoa does not have a kitchen and therefore will not serve food. But, they will occasionally partner with local food trucks who can park in an alleyway and serve food through a garage door that opens to the cantina, Tyda said.

The opening has been more than a year in the making. We first shared the news of Tyda's plans for Barcoa in August 2020.

Currently, the Cantina is open Tuesday - Thursday, 4 p.m. - 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. - 11 p.m., but will eventually be open throughout the week.

Barcoa, the basement bar, is currently open Wednesday - Saturday, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Reservations can be made online, https://barcoaphx.com.

829 N. 1st Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85003