UnderTow

Phoenix, AZ
Bar
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3620 E. Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ
Opened in 2016
Wed-Thu 4pm-midnight
Fri-Sat 4pm-2am
Sun 2pm-10pm
(602) 753-6504

Critiki ratings

UnderTow

9.4

Overall

by 117 people

1

10

Detail
Everyone You
Decor 9.7
Drink Quality 9.7
Drink Selection 9.7
Mood 9.4
Music 9.4
Service 9.3
Tikiness 9.4
Tilt 9.4
Vibe 8.8

Upcoming Visits

Regulars & Visitors

View all 157 UnderTow regulars & visitors

Humuhumu’s description

UnderTow opened in August 2016, in the lower level of Sip Coffee & Beer Garage. The interior was designed by Danny "Tiki Diablo" Gallardo.

Comments

GeekyTiki
GeekyTiki has visited UnderTow.
September 6, 2018, 2:06 PM
Being from Phoenix originally means that anytime my wife and I fly home to visit family we get to stop into UnderTow; it gets better every visit.

As mentioned, you won’t see a sign for UnderTow on the road or even the outside of the building. It is in the building that houses Sip, a laid back but hip restaurant in what used to be an auto service station. When you enter Sip, the stairs leading down to UnderTow, which occupies the former motor pool of the service station, are in the center of the restaurant. As soon as you step in to the tiny bar (it seats approximately 35 guests) you are transported to the hold of a ship sailing uncharted seas. There are porthole “windows” showing waves, storms, tropical islands, and even pirate attack’s and the bar’s lighting flickers with every lightning strike and cannon shot. It’s probably the most immersive experience outside of Trader Sams Enchanted Tiki Bar/Grog Grotto.

They have a fairly expansive menu which they switch up every year or so (they will debut their third menu, or “voyage” in their parlance, Sept. 10, 2018). The front half consists of their own original cocktails, many of which utilizing typical southwest ingredients like agave and mezcal in creative ways which really offers some interesting flavors that you don’t always get at a tiki bar while still being very much tiki cocktails. The back couple of pages in the menu are where you will find classic cocktails. Typically i will try one of their originals (the Smuggled Goods is very tasty) and then switch to classics to see their interpretations (their Pi-Yi was decent; their Zombie is top notch). Overall they are excellent, strong, well-made drinks that taste fantastic.

UnderTow has a decent amount of swag you can purchase, which is nice. Their mugs, all crafted in limited editions by Tiki Diablo, are beautiful but pricey (then again, 80.00 for a limited run Tiki Diablo mug beats 75.00 for a mass produced Tiki Farm Three Dots and a Dash Mug). The canon mug is fantastic and awesome in person and I will forever covet the Cactus Bob mug which is the classic Tiki Bob mug shaped like a saguaro cactus. Because the mugs are limited editions they are routinely out of stock on all of them so be prepared for disappointment if you’re planning on picking up a mug. My main criticism is that it would be nice if they offered a lower priced, open edition version of at least their original signature mug so they both have a mug they can keep in stock and also have a mug that someone who can’t afford $80 for a mug could buy.

Beyond mugs, though, they also offer very slick looking Mai-Tai glasses which can be had for 12.00 when you purchase certain drinks. Their first Mai-Tai glasses had a desert scene with their captain/dodo bird mascot (characters in the bars rich, imaginative back story highlighted in the menu and on their website) and came in three colors: green, blue, and I believe orange/red. These were fine but they may not carry them anymore. Their new Mai-Tai glasses are designed by Tiki Diablo and have three gold leaf with a color accent tiki masks around them. They have issued a couple different color schemes since debuting them in early 2018, with the first run being black and gold, the next run in white and gold, and the newest in teal and gold. They are really nice looking glasses and definitely worth picking up.

They also have a couple t-shirt options. One design just says “UnderTow” across the chest while the second design has a surly looking octopus with a rum bottle in one tentacle (based off a tiki diablo image carved into the bottom of one of the decorative rum barrels behind the bar). Each design comes in either a black shirt with white text/graphic or white shirt with black text/graphic and cost 20.00.

Really the only bad thing about UnderTow is the size. It’s great in the sense that it fosters a really intimate atmosphere, perfect for an excellent tiki experience, but it can also cause issues. They offer reservations until a certain time most nights and this is absolutely the way to go, but be aware that your reservation is for exactly one and a half hours and your bartender/server will let you know about a half hour before the end of it so you can order one last drink. In general this is enough time to leisurely drink three cocktails, but if you want more than that it might mean having to down fairly strong drinks faster than ideally recommended. The size of the bar also makes visiting in groups of more than about 4 people difficult. They have one large-ish corner booth, but other than that it’s high top tables with two stools each around the walls. I visited with a group of 8 once and was given two of these tables and the four stools along the bar nearest them, so it worked, but it was a little cramped. The next time i went was a group of four and we were split between two of the tables along he wall, which was fine but meant that we were a bit spread out from each other (basically in a straight line so the first and last person didn’t get to talk to each other that easily). On my most recent visit it was just my wife and I and it was ideal. Also, if you’re tall please watch your head on the beams along the wall.

In all, UnderTow is an excellent, immersive experience. The ambiance is perfect, the drinks are delicious, and the staff are friendly and helpful. Highly recommend putting it at the top of your to-visit list.
GeekyTiki
GeekyTiki has visited UnderTow.
September 6, 2018, 2:05 PM
Being from Phoenix originally means that anytime my wife and I fly home to visit family we get to stop into UnderTow; it gets better every visit.

As mentioned, you won’t see a sign for UnderTow on the road or even the outside of the building. It is in the building that houses Sip, a laid back but hip restaurant in what used to be an auto service station. When you enter Sip, the stairs leading down to UnderTow, which occupies the former motor pool of the service station, are in the center of the restaurant. As soon as you step in to the tiny bar (it seats approximately 35 guests) you are transported to the hold of a ship sailing uncharted seas. There are porthole “windows” showing waves, storms, tropical islands, and even pirate attack’s and the bar’s lighting flickers with every lightning strike and cannon shot. It’s probably the most immersive experience outside of Trader Sams Enchanted Tiki Bar/Grog Grotto.

They have a fairly expansive menu which they switch up every year or so (they will debut their third menu, or “voyage” in their parlance, Sept. 10, 2018). The front half consists of their own original cocktails, many of which utilizing typical southwest ingredients like agave and mezcal in creative ways which really offers some interesting flavors that you don’t always get at a tiki bar while still being very much tiki cocktails. The back couple of pages in the menu are where you will find classic cocktails. Typically i will try one of their originals (the Smuggled Goods is very tasty) and then switch to classics to see their interpretations (their Pi-Yi was decent; their Zombie is top notch). Overall they are excellent, strong, well-made drinks that taste fantastic.

UnderTow has a decent amount of swag you can purchase, which is nice. Their mugs, all crafted in limited editions by Tiki Diablo, are beautiful but pricey (then again, 80.00 for a limited run Tiki Diablo mug beats 75.00 for a mass produced Tiki Farm Three Dots and a Dash Mug). The canon mug is fantastic and awesome in person and I will forever covet the Cactus Bob mug which is the classic Tiki Bob mug shaped like a saguaro cactus. Because the mugs are limited editions they are routinely out of stock on all of them so be prepared for disappointment if you’re planning on picking up a mug. My main criticism is that it would be nice if they offered a lower priced, open edition version of at least their original signature mug so they both have a mug they can keep in stock and also have a mug that someone who can’t afford $80 for a mug could buy.

Beyond mugs, though, they also offer very slick looking Mai-Tai glasses which can be had for 12.00 when you purchase certain drinks. Their first Mai-Tai glasses had a desert scene with their captain/dodo bird mascot (characters in the bars rich, imaginative back story highlighted in the menu and on their website) and came in three colors: green, blue, and I believe orange/red. These were fine but they may not carry them anymore. Their new Mai-Tai glasses are designed by Tiki Diablo and have three gold leaf with a color accent tiki masks around them. They have issued a couple different color schemes since debuting them in early 2018, with the first run being black and gold, the next run in white and gold, and the newest in teal and gold. They are really nice looking glasses and definitely worth picking up.

They also have a couple t-shirt options. One design just says “UnderTow” across the chest while the second design has a surly looking octopus with a rum bottle in one tentacle (based off a tiki diablo image carved into the bottom of one of the decorative rum barrels behind the bar). Each design comes in either a black shirt with white text/graphic or white shirt with black text/graphic and cost 20.00.

Really the only bad thing about UnderTow is the size. It’s great in the sense that it fosters a really intimate atmosphere, perfect for an excellent tiki experience, but it can also cause issues. They offer reservations until a certain time most nights and this is absolutely the way to go, but be aware that your reservation is for exactly one and a half hours and your bartender/server will let you know about a half hour before the end of it so you can order one last drink. In general this is enough time to leisurely drink three cocktails, but if you want more than that it might mean having to down fairly strong drinks faster than ideally recommended. The size of the bar also makes visiting in groups of more than about 4 people difficult. They have one large-ish corner booth, but other than that it’s high top tables with two stools each around the walls. I visited with a group of 8 once and was given two of these tables and the four stools along the bar nearest them, so it worked, but it was a little cramped. The next time i went was a group of four and we were split between two of the tables along he wall, which was fine but meant that we were a bit spread out from each other (basically in a straight line so the first and last person didn’t get to talk to each other that easily). On my most recent visit it was just my wife and I and it was ideal. Also, if you’re tall please watch your head on the beams along the wall.

In all, UnderTow is an excellent, immersive experience. The ambiance is perfect, the drinks are delicious, and the staff are friendly and helpful. Highly recommend putting it at the top of your to-visit list.
Pax2017
Pax2017 has visited UnderTow.
August 3, 2018, 6:29 PM
Not only is this the best tiki bar I’ve personally been to, it’s arguably the best bar I’ve ever been to.

UnderTow nails every single component of a tiki bar perfectly. From the moment you walk in you’re fully immersed in the world of tiki. It’s like being in the bow of a pirate ship and it’s awesome. The light, art, decoration, feel, vibe, music, and drinks were absolute perfection.

Service was great, and I loved the port holes with the ocean and ship battles. The drinks were delicious and made correctly, the menus looked awesome, and the selection was impressive.

I would honestly visit Phoenix again just to see this bar again. So impressed!
View all 33 comments

Articles in Critiki News

Upcoming Visits
TikiScout
visiting on
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
for the first time
Another conference? No problem when there is a Tiki Bar in town!
LushLemon
visiting on
Friday, April 12, 2019
for the first time
Hoping to be there for TikiOasis AZ 2019.
Regulars & Visitors
  • John S. james
  • ridric
  • Tobin
  • arcadiandj
  • WesleyJames
  • Dutch
  • tikiboss
  • JustLis0222
  • Tiki_JC
  • LoloHaole
  • auntangi
  • RANKINFullStop
  • Tiki AF
  • Professor Tiki
  • DanNowicki
  • Tiki Kiki
View all 157 UnderTow regulars & visitors