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Cock N' Tails to open in former Hatter and Hare, Joe's Midnight Run building in Phoenix

Cock 'N Tails Phoenix
Cock N Tails Phoenix artist rendering
Cock N' Tails Phoenix artist rendering
Posted at 3:38 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 17:57:35-05

PHOENIX — It has been a bumpy road for the former Joe's Liquor Store building along 7th Street in Phoenix. Joe's Midnight Run opened in 2016, changed ownership in 2017, and closed in 2018. Then, Hatter and Hare, an Alice in Wonderland-themed cocktail bar, opened and closed less than a year later without much of an explanation.

Now, a new concept, focused on drinks, late-night eats, and music is looking to open and find success on the corner of 7th Street and Bethany Home Road.

Called Cock N' Tails Modern Brasserie, owner/musician Kurt Johnson said he designed his restaurant and lounge to have a "really cool vibe," similar to that of a recording studio with plush furniture, tufted couches, and musical memorabilia on the walls. He expects to open in early January.

"I cared about a really cool vibe more than anything," he said in an interview with ABC15. "Obviously, good food and good drink. It all kicked off with me when I was recording music in L.A. That recording studio vibe is what I really loved. A nice lounge basically with good music [and] good food."

Cock N Tails Phoenix artist rendering

Johnson said he worked at restaurants in Arizona and Los Angeles, California, where he perused his music career. He moved back to Arizona with his family about 1 1/2 years ago and said opening a restaurant was a goal he always wanted to do.

On its website, the lounge is described as "a place for rock stars and groupies to drink, dine, and grab late-night eats."

However, Johnson insists it is not a rock 'n' roll-themed bar. "This isn't rock 'n' roll. I'm a guitar player. I love that. I care about music in general. I love artists that still play instruments. So, the whole art that's going to be on the inside could range from Elton John to Guns N' Roses, or whatever, or in between," he said.

Renderings shared with ABC15 show a mix of booths, tables, high-tops, and a U-shaped bar. Johnson said some of the details have changed throughout the process, but that they give a good idea of what the restaurant is expected to look like.

Cock N' Tails Phoenix artist rendering

"I care about having a happy hour crowd, a dinner crowd, and then that late-night [crowd] where people want to hang out and drink and still nibble and have good stuff to eat late because around here there isn't a lot open past 10 p.m., at least to get a decent meal," he said.

Johnson said people could expect chef-driven American fare, such as steak, pasta, burgers, fish and chips, salmon, chicken, and wood-fired flatbread pizza. They will also have some elevated dishes, like bone marrow pate and clams, he said.

He hired Donna Sites, a longtime friend and chef, who previously worked with Kuber Hotels, which operated franchises under Holiday Inn, Sheraton, and Best Western, to help the kitchen.

Being a musician and a fan of artists who play their own instruments, Johnson said he hopes to have small artists and bands perform acoustic sets. He said he is working with his contractor to potentially build a small curved stage on the patio that could be used for both performances and outdoor seating.

Recently, a large banner was placed on the side of the building featuring the Cock N' Tails name and photos of a large rabbit seated on an equally large rooster. We're told the logo has no connection to the former tenant.