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Old 11-30-2007, 01:40 PM
 
1,486 posts, read 2,953,492 times
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Most people go to Phoenix to play golf or go to spas. That is the main attraction out there, unless you are a retiree looking to just sit around in the heat.

If she has friends to visit in Phoenix that is one thing. But I wouldn't necessarily go to Phoenix otherwise, unless you used Phoenix as a base to visit the Grand Canyon area and Sedona to the north. That is the true world class destination for the state. Traveling half way across the world to spend time in chain restaurants and bars located in strip malls...well, let's just say that sounds kinda a waste.

Again, if she has friends in Phoenix to visit that is a completely different story. But if she's looking for a place to party, I would hit Vegas. But that's definitely not "chill."
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Old 11-30-2007, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Inside the 101
1,517 posts, read 3,992,163 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irwin View Post
Traveling half way across the world to spend time in chain restaurants and bars located in strip malls...well, let's just say that sounds kinda a waste.
It would indeed be a waste, and fortuntately it doesn't have to happen. Phoenix has abundant high-quality independent restaurants of all types. There is absolutely no need to rely on chains to eat here unless one is stranded in an outermost suburb where that's the only option. A visitor in the heart of Central Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale will have no shortage of good, unique places to eat.

As for bars in strip malls, most of the places recommended in this thread -- Four Peaks, the Roosevelt, and the George and Dragon -- are not in strip malls at all. In fact, the first two are in historic buidings.

Finally, the strip mall is needlessly vilified by Phoenix-bashers on this board. The strip mall is certainly not pretty, but it's a remarkably effective small business incubator. While chain restaurants can afford pricey real estate near major malls, it is the small, non-descript strip malls that provide an affordable home to Thai restaurants, Ethiopian restaurants, Indian chaat shops, etc.

Last edited by exit2lef; 11-30-2007 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:07 PM
 
1,486 posts, read 2,953,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverbear View Post
It would indeed be a waste, and fortuntately it doesn't have to happen. Phoenix has abundant high-quality independent restaurants of all types. There is absolutely no need to rely on chains to eat well here unless one is stranded in an outermost suburb where that's the only option. A visitor in the heart of Central Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale will have no shortage of good, unique places to eat.

As for bars in strip malls, most of the places recommended in this thread -- Four Peaks, the Roosevelt, and the George and Dragon are not in strip malls at all. In fact, the first two are in historic buidings.

Finally, the strip mall is needlessly vilified by Phoenix-bashers on this board. The strip mall is certainly not pretty, but it's a remarkably effective small business incubator. While chain restaurants can afford pricey real estate near major malls, it is the small, non-descript strip malls that provide an affordable home to Thai restaurants, Ethiopian restaurants, Indian chaat shops, etc.
Look, when I was in Phoenix I used to go to 4 Peaks and Rula Bula all the time. I was extremely close; within walking distance.

Both of those places were fun but not a reason to visit Phoenix. They are essentially neighborhood pubs that can be found anywhere, including all over Australia. The main reason they are so fun in Phoenix because they are so much more refreshing than the other chain places that seem to dominate. In any other city those places would be just one of countless places with a similar, albeit fun atmosphere.

Again, if she has friends or relatives to visit that is a totally different story. Even then I would spend most of my time doing day trips to the north. But...if I traveled across the world I would rather spend my time at the Grand Canyon rather than at Margaritaville ...
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Sunny Phoenix Arizona...wishing for a beach.
4,299 posts, read 9,951,948 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irwin View Post
Most people go to Phoenix to play golf or go to spas. That is the main attraction out there, unless you are a retiree looking to just sit around in the heat.

If she has friends to visit in Phoenix that is one thing. But I wouldn't necessarily go to Phoenix otherwise, unless you used Phoenix as a base to visit the Grand Canyon area and Sedona to the north. That is the true world class destination for the state. Traveling half way across the world to spend time in chain restaurants and bars located in strip malls...well, let's just say that sounds kinda a waste.

Again, if she has friends in Phoenix to visit that is a completely different story. But if she's looking for a place to party, I would hit Vegas. But that's definitely not "chill."

I 2nd Vegas to hang out and party I'm getting ready again.
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,460 posts, read 13,784,306 times
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Silverbear is right. Phoenix is not that bad as a place to live, and it has everything a diverse big city has, including great food. You just have to know where to look. It does require a lot of driving around though-- no way to deny that. The strip mall that silverbear is talking about is called Tempe Towne Plaza, on the SEC of University and Rural. The whole thing is basically one huge collection of mom and pop ethnic eateries, the kind of thing you'd expect a college town to have. I had a quick lunch there yesterday at this new fast casual Mediterranean-style chicken place. It was pretty good and it only cost $6.00. I'm actually thinking about making a new website/blog about the "coolest strip malls in Phoenix." Papago Plaza on the SWC of McDowell & Scottsdale Rd is another runner up strip malls that are cooler than cool. However, Irwin does have a point, too. I don't think anybody wants to come to Phoenix as a tourist just so they can eat at Tempe Towne Plaza. Those places are great for locals, but would be a disappointment to tourists. Phoenix is more of a starting point for Arizona vacations (especially for people who fly in) than the point of the vacation.
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Sonoran Desert
16,452 posts, read 19,341,559 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irwin View Post
Look, when I was in Phoenix I used to go to 4 Peaks and Rula Bula all the time. I was extremely close; within walking distance.

Both of those places were fun but not a reason to visit Phoenix. They are essentially neighborhood pubs that can be found anywhere, including all over Australia. The main reason they are so fun in Phoenix because they are so much more refreshing than the other chain places that seem to dominate. In any other city those places would be just one of countless places with a similar, albeit fun atmosphere.

Again, if she has friends or relatives to visit that is a totally different story. Even then I would spend most of my time doing day trips to the north. But...if I traveled across the world I would rather spend my time at the Grand Canyon rather than at Margaritaville ...
I recall that you were a grad student here with a bicycle for transportation. To one post you replied that you did not even know where Lake Pleasant was located. I think that constant comment about chain restaurants and malls shows that your knowledge of the area is very shallow and limited to the impressions of a student who didn't get around much.

Last edited by Ponderosa; 11-30-2007 at 02:58 PM..
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Inside the 101
1,517 posts, read 3,992,163 times
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Originally Posted by irwin View Post
In any other city those places would be just one of countless places with a similar, albeit fun atmosphere.
I wish this were true, but it's not the case -- at least not in the U.S. Last time I was in Boston, I saw TGI Friday's, P.F. Chang's, and other uninspiring chains in abundance. Fortunately, there are better indy places there for those who seek them out -- just as there are in Phoenix.

The problem in this thread is the double standard applied in long-distance Phoenix bashing. If a chain restaurant exists in Phoenix, it's seen as the norm; if it exists elsewhere, it's seen as an exception. In actuality, chain mediocrity is a national disease. I travel frequently and see it with my own eyes everywhere I go -- even in the Northeast. Fortunately, the cure is readily available by seeking out more distinctive experiences regardless of where one is located.
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Old 11-30-2007, 03:04 PM
 
1,486 posts, read 2,953,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponderosa View Post
I recall that you were a grad student here with a bicycle for transportation. To one post you replied that you did not even know where Lake Pleasant was located. I think that constant comment about chain restaurants and malls shows that your knowledge of the area is very shallow and limited to the impressions of a student.
So what in my comments are you disagreeing with? Or is this just a general attack against my credibility simply because you're angry that someone is criticizing your beloved Phoenix?

I wasn't a grad student but my roommate was. I had a car while I was there because honestly you can't do anything in Phoenix without a car (part of the reason I disliked it so much).

And yes, I have had/have no idea where Lake Pleasant is located. I spent most of my time in and around Tempe and Scottsdale. There were some decent places but it wasn't me. The few times I went to other places in the area (went to the Biltmore twice) honestly it wasn't anything special in my mind. Nothing different from other national chain stores you can find in any other big city (Saks, etc).

If you like Phoenix, wonderful. I am very happy for you. But please let's have a little honestly for a foreign guest who is about to travel thousands of miles across the world. Think what you would think if you traveled all the way to Australia just to spend time in the suburbs and the mall...
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Old 11-30-2007, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Tucson
42,846 posts, read 52,323,650 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irwin View Post
But please let's have a little honestly for a foreign guest who is about to travel thousands of miles across the world. Think what you would think if you traveled all the way to Australia just to spend time in the suburbs and the mall...
I'll have to agree with that. It's hardly a first choice when coming all the way from Australia to visit the US as a foreign country.
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Old 11-30-2007, 03:10 PM
 
1,486 posts, read 2,953,492 times
Reputation: 466
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverbear View Post
I wish this were true, but it's not the case -- at least not in the U.S. Last time I was in Boston, I saw TGI Friday's, P.F. Chang's, and other uninspiring chains in abundance. Fortunately, there are better indy places there for those who seek them out -- just as there are in Phoenix.

The problem in this thread is the double standard applied in long-distance Phoenix bashing. If a chain restaurant exists in Phoenix, it's seen as the norm; if it exists elsewhere, it's seen as an exception. In actuality, chain mediocrity is a national disease. I travel frequently and see it with my own eyes everywhere I go -- even in the Northeast. Fortunately, the cure is readily available by seeking out more distinctive experiences regardless of where one is located.
Of course there are chain restaurants in Boston. There are chain restaurants in Sydney. That is not the point. The point is the prevalence and I can tell you that in the city of Boston there are so many more unique neighborhoods and restaurants as compared to Phoenix. Hell, within my neighborhood alone there are probably over a hundred places just within the relatively small area of the North End (an area not much bigger than a square block in Phoenix). On top of that I can walk to all of them!

There are certainly some unique places in Phoenix and some hidden gems. But if you're an international tourist, let's be honest, you should spend your time at the Grand Canyon and Sedona, not Mill Avenue. I liked Mill Avenue in the Valley because it was so different than the rest of the (sorry to say) ugly developments in the Valley. But in most other cities Mill Avenue would simply be just another street.
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