Wrigley Mansion Club: Happy Hour Report Card
The Spot: Wrigley Mansion Club
Buchanan Charcuterie and cheese
2501 E. Telawa Trail, Phoenix
The Hours: Happy Hour is offered from 3 to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.
The Interior: Perched on a hill that offers sweeping views of the city, The Wrigley Mansion is one of Phoenix's great landmarks, a gorgeous, 16,000-square-foot, 24-room winter "cottage" blending Spanish Mission Revival, California Monterey and Mediterranean architectural styles. Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. built the house for his wife Ada between 1929 and 1931 to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary, furnishing it in grand style for the presidents and other dignitaries who often visited.
The Wrigleys, who owned four other residences, only stayed in La Colina Solana (the sunny hill) four to eight weeks out of the year, but it remained the largest private residence in the state until the early 60's, when it was re-zoned as part of the family-owned Arizona Biltmore. After Ada passed away in 1958, the resort went through a series of owners, as did the mansion.
But in 1992, Hormel meat-packing heir George A. (Geordie) Hormel bought the old place with the idea of preserving a wonderful piece of Phoenix history. He restored the building and grounds, reducing the annual membership fees to $10 so that everyone could afford a visit. It's a great spot for a private party or a meet-up after work to watch the sun go down. During happy hour, the lounge menu offers six items at half-price.
The Food: In all the years it's been open to the public (and we're going back to the 80's here), the Wrigley Mansion Club has never turned out exceptional food. Some years and some chefs have been better than others, but nothing truly memorable has ever come out of that kitchen. And what a shame, given the beauty and history of this incredible venue. Although it's clear there's been an attempt to update and invigorate the menu (and for all I know, regular meals here are great), happy hour is a bit of a dud for a couple of reasons, one being the snoozy collection of offerings.