This new hybrid wine bar, tap room, and bottle shop in uptown Phoenix quietly opened on August 24 on Camelback Road near Central Avenue. It promises to be a “space for good times,” according to Mike Fasel, who co-owns it with his wife, Kate Fasel.
The idea to open a bar stemmed from “a love of the liquid, whether it’s wine or beer,” Mike says, combined with a desire to create a space for friends and family, the neighborhood, and the community.
However, Mike adds, “Everybody has a robust wine selection and robust beer selection.” They wanted that, plus “elements that exist in a local bar or neighborhood bar, with shuffleboard, darts, live music, TVs for sports.”
The bar will also will feature rotating art exhibits with pieces for sale. According to Mike, 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the artist.
Small bites and snacks will be sold on-site, along with food from a rotation of food trucks. The bar itself doesn’t have a kitchen, so patrons can bring in anything they like.
The nearly 2,000-square-foot space has a chill lounge area with sofas, a concrete-top bar, a smattering of high-tops, and a communal table made of sycamore planks that a friend of Mike’s created.
The back wall is covered in a black and white mural by artist Danny Martin out of Tucson that Kate describes as a “pop art cowboy theme” sporting images of cactuses, a road runner, a jackalope, UFOs, and other Arizona whimsy. Don’t miss the photos of Kate’s grandfather — she’s a third-generation Arizonan — and the framed collection of vintage beer cans her father amassed when he was a ranger at Yellowstone National Park in 1964.
“My dad was sad to let them go,” she says, “but excited we were doing something with them.”
The business offers roughly a dozen wines by the glass, which range from $9 to $13, and more than 90 by the bottle, priced at about $18 to $50. It has 16 taps, with a selection of beer, cider, and kombucha, and more than 100 cans and bottles. Customers can snag five-ounce pours of anything on tap, or pick from a cooler of non-alcoholic drinks.
Though the list will change regularly, the Fasels — who are from Tucson and now live five minutes from their business — are big on promoting natural and local purveyors. Most of the wines they carry are from smaller distributors, and several are from Arizona. Look for wines from the likes of Dos Cabezas and Sand Reckoner, beer from Goldwater, Mother Road, and Wren House brewing companies, and mead from Superstition Meadery, to name a few. Bulk discounts are offered for beer and wine to go.
The Joy Lush Club has a sommelier, John Rea, on staff who helps curate the wine list, and the goal is for him to lead educational tastings. They’re also hoping to bring in brewers whose products are on tap. Other events will include food trucks on Tuesdays, weekly wine specials and trivia nights, and live music.
“We’d like to have bluegrass brunch,” Kate says, explaining plans for weekend food truck appearances. She is also responsible for the bar’s quirky name.
“I used to work at a bar in Tucson and a friend of mine had a drinking club [with the same name] that would meet there,” she says. “And so he gave us permission to use the name for this.”
Mike had a long history in beer sales before opening The Joy Lush Club, and his dad is a German immigrant whose parents ran a restaurant in Baden-Württemberg for decades.
“I think I have German hops in my blood,” he says.
Kate continues to work as a nurse in the pharmaceutical industry, and she and Mike just had a baby, Greta, in August, who joins her brother, Wolfgang, 5.
“We were betting each other which baby was going to be born first: the bottle shop or my baby,” Kate says. “She [Greta] won by about a week.”
A grand opening celebration, complete with beer and wine specials, evening food trucks, and live music will be held on Friday, September 16 from 4 p.m. to midnight, and Saturday, September 17 from 1 p.m. to midnight. So far, plans include surf rock band Puerto from San Diego playing both nights starting at 7 p.m., and Phoenix jazz guitarist Pete Pancrazi playing from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The parking lot gets full, so as an incentive, anyone who bikes, skateboards, walks, or takes public transit will get 15 percent off their entire tab. The nearest light rail station is a nine-minute walk, allowing customers to enjoy all The Joy Lush Club has to offer without the worry of driving home.
The Joy Lush Club
24 West Camelback Road, Units D and E