Drinking Cowboy-style at Greasewood Flat

by | Pub crawls




My next stop in the beer Arizona beer drinking trip was going to be the bar at the Four Seasons resort.  My first question to the bartender was “What’s on tap?”  I’m sure you’re wondering what possible delectable beer creations would be available on tap at the swank resort.  Here’s the list.

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Yep.  Nada.  Zilch.  Nothing on tap.  Every beer offering was in the bottle.  The best beer offerings (for me) were the Pike’s Kilt Lifter and Unibroue’s nihilistic La Fin Du Monde (translates to “the end of the world”).  The bartender described the Monde beer as a “light beer” and Kilt Lifter as a “red beer’.  The beer list was so boring, I won’t say more about it.  After I had one of each beer, my friend and I decided to hit the road to a few other bars.

Our next stop was a really cool bar oddly placed very close to the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North.  If you’re high-browing in Arizona, you will miss Greasewood Flat.  Greasewood Flat is the extreme opposite of the Four Seasons Resort.  Still I think Greasewood Flat is a bar you don’t want to miss.

greasewood flat sign

If you're looking for a cool random place to have a beer in Arizona, look to Greasewood Flat

Surrounded by high price homes and expensive resorts, Greasewood Flat is one of those “off-the-path” bars where supposedly “only the locals go”.  The bar is in a 120-year-old bunk house.  It is hard to believe that anyone came there before air conditioning.  I used to live in Scottsdale when I was in high school, and at the time there was nothing near this place.  We used to camp a few miles from here to “get away”.  Now the camp spot and this bar are located next to the Four Seasons resort and many expensive Pinnacle Peak homes.

We walked into the bar, and my first question was “What’s on tap?”  Surprising enough I got the same answer.  “Nada, zilch and nothing”, so I got a Beck’s Dark in a bottle.  My friend got some foo-foo drink special that looked like a Shirley Temple with vodka.  I cringed.  My first thought was ordering a drink like that gets you violently tossed out of bars like this, but the bartender assured us it was ok if the beverage was the drink special.

greasewood flat bar inside

The bar inside is small, but it has a cool dive bar ambience

You might wonder why I’d recommend the bar.  The bar has a great atmosphere.  It has a cool “off-the-beaten-path” vibe.  Greasewood Flat has a huge open area outside with benches which can accomidate 1000 people.   There is nothing like drinking beer, regardless of the style or brand, outside in the hot Arizona nights (it can get over 100 F at midnight in the summer).

Inside the bar the first thing you notice is the money.  Lined across the ceiling and many of the walls are autographed dollar bills stuck with a thumbtack.  The bills are all signed from previous visitors.  After ordering the beer I presented my Visa card to settle up.  It was “unwelcome”.    For someone who never carries cash, this was a surprise.  I could use my Visa for food one window (2 feet) over from the bar, but for some reason I could not use it for beer.  Apparently the food and alcohol are different establishments.  Luckily my friend had cash.

greasewood flat bar

The Greasewood flat bar is in a 120-year-old bunk house

It was a surreal experience having no cash for beer in a bar completely lined with dollar bills signed by various patrons.  The bartender says the dollar bills are an old cowboy tradition.  The idea is a cowboy would stick a few dollars into the wall with his name on the bills.  That way the cowboy knew when he came back to the bar, he’d have money for a few drinks.  I don’t think I want to stick my Visa card on the wall.

I hope the cowboys listed more on the dollar than “John from Phoenix” or they will have troubles locating their dollar.  I’d guess there were several hundred (if not thousands) of “cowboys and cowgirls” who left a signed dollar.  The funniest thing was an old local man at the end of the bar in a cowboy hat who said “a cowboy would never leave his money on the wall”.

greasewood flat bar dollars

Don't even think of trying to take a cowboy's last dollar

If you are in the Scottsdale/Pinnacle Peak area, you might want to take a trip out to the bar.  When you do go, make sure you designate a driver.  It is a long haul out from Scottsdale, and one common theme from every bartender I’ve talked to so far is the hostile DUI/DWI laws in Arizona.  If they think you’ve had a beer, it might be enough to jail you.  Every bartender I’ve talked to in Arizona says the drinking laws have really hurt business.  My guess is the fact you must drive EVERYWHERE in Arizona without mass transit is really the problem.

Still if you have the time and a driver, it is well worth the trip to have a beer and hamburger at Greasewood Flat.


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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!