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First look: Ross Simons' retro rooftop cocktail lounge, Don Woods' Say When, opens in Phoenix

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Posted at 11:11 AM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 14:37:01-04

PHOENIX — Nine months after opening in central Phoenix, Rise Uptown Hotel, formerly known as Arrive Phoenix, has a new name and a new 1960s and 1970s rooftop lounge to go with its mid-century modern vibe.

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The 79-room boutique hotel opened in September 2020 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic near Fourth Avenue and Camelback Road, not far from the Uptown Plaza shopping complex.

Two Phoenix-based businesses, Vintage Partners, a real estate and investment company, and Venue Projects, a redevelopment company, partnered to repurpose two mid-century modern office buildings into a hotel.

In a recent news release, Walter Crutchfield, a partner at Vintage Partners, said the name change marked the completion of the hotel's redevelopment -- amid a pandemic no less -- and marked "the opportunity to begin again."

They also partnered with Ross Simon, who owns award-winning Bitter & Twisted and Little Rituals in downtown Phoenix, to conceptualize Lylo Swim Club, the hotel's tropical-inspired poolside bar, and Don Woods' Say When, a 1960s-1970s retro rooftop bar and lounge, which made its official debut on Sunday, June 6.

The hotel also is home to Pop Stand, a pop bar that also serves as registration, and Cartel Coffee Lab.

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According to Simon, Don Woods was a real estate investor back in the day and apparently worked out of one of the towers that were repurposed into the hotel. As kind of an homage to Woods, the bar was named after him.

The bar is located on the top floor of the hotel's main building. For those feeling ambitious, there is a staircase that leads to the bar's main entrance. Or you can take the elevator for a smooth ride up.

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Inside, people will find a nine-seat wooden bar with tufted bar seats and a brightly colored backdrop, a handful of booths, and a couple rows of storage lockers. The outdoor shaded patio provides 270-degree views of Central Phoenix. There are misters, fans, and a variety of tables, chairs, and couches.

Simon said he wanted the bar to have that "60s, 70's cool."

"Really wanted to make it part of the neighborhood and a great hang for whether you're a bartender finishing work, or you're just casually around, sitting on the patio and looking for something fun to do," he said. "We're here for some really nice refreshing cocktails and some light appetizers."

Highballs and spritzers are the staples on the drink menu, Simon said. But, he also made sure to have some classic cocktails on the menu, such as the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Sidecar.

"We've actually just went out of the realms of what people know as spritzes, which is normally Aperol and a little bit bubbles and soda, and we've actually really had a lot of fun with it," he said.

Here is a look at some of the featured drinks:


  • Sicilian: solerno liqueur, alessio vermouth chinato, cappelletti aperitivo americano, vanilla, and prosecco
  • Venetian: aperitivo select, prosecco, charged soda, cucumber, orange, and olive
  • Alameda: st george pear brandy. italicus, luxardo bitter bianco, cucumber syrup, lemon juice, and prosecco


  • Lime Leaf: infused lime leaf fords gin, house lime cordial, lime juice, salt solution, and super chilled soda
  • Classic Toki: toki whiskey, citrus bitters & oils, and overly carbonated chilled soda
  • Ghost of Marnie Taylor: harleston green scotch, st. george spiced pear, yuzu citrus blend, laphroaig, and ginger ale
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There is also a small food menu, mostly snacks for people to share: chips and dip, gin-soaked olives, marinated anchovies, and a cheese platter.

"We're not a restaurant and we're not pretending to be. We're just like a great place before dinner, after dinner, during a sunset or just a place to relax and chill," Simon said.

Don Woods' Say When is open Thursday - Sunday, 4 p.m. - midnight. Reservations are required and can be made at SayWhenPHX.com.

With four concepts now under his belt, we asked if Simon had anymore concepts in the works? "I think that's enough for now," he said.

Rise Uptown Hotel
400 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix AZ 85013