Magnum Cigar Bar Serves Up Craft Cocktails That Pair Well With Stogies
If nostalgia is what you're searching for in a bar, Magnum Cigar Bar pretty much feels like a step back in time. With a clientele of mostly old dudes puffing on cigars bought at the store next door, the vibe can certainly verge on boy's club. The whiskey-centric back bar is lined with backlit bottles from all over the world. To pair with it, there's a leather-bound book that lists every spirit in the house. To focus your efforts a little, before diving into the spirit book, sample a couple of drinks from the small, newly revamped cocktail menu.
Heather Hoch This Sazerac can and should be paired with a cigar at Magnum.
Magnum is definitely going for that speakeasy ambiance most bars are so intent on proliferating. Arguably, Magnum also achieves it more genuinely than other bars too. Although it isn't the most chic spot in town, the rich leather and dark wood filled lounge has a charm to it, when combined with the tobacco-scented air, that's undeniable.
Honestly, part of that charm is that this three-year-old bar is the converted storeroom of the nearly decade-old North Phoenix cigar and liquor store located, like so much of Phoenix's food and beverage scene, in a seemingly bland strip mall next to a Basha's and a Firestone Auto Care store. Though they've made strides to make it feel like the den of some secret society that you've walked through a decoy bookcase to get to, it also still feels homey and relaxed--much less uptight than other spots in town going for the same thing.
Although the website uses words like "mixology" for the menu and the obnoxious, albeit innocuous, term "speakeasy" for the ambiance, the spot itself is betrayed by buzzwords like this. In reality, it's the kind of place where you can have two fingers of your favorite brown liquor on the rocks or neat while chatting with friends. Besides, calling any spot a speakeasy that has a TV pumping sporting events into the bar seems a little off-base.
Heather Hoch It's like a library, but with whiskey.
When it first opened as a bar, Jason Asher was hired on to pair cigar and liquor tasting notes for the menu. Recently, Magnum's batenders Charlie Waltrip and Jed Bowen updated the cocktail menu to a much more simplified list of eight options.
The menu itself is broken up into two sections with two different price points: Cocktails ($15) and Stir My Soul ($12). Regardless of how you feel about the name of the latter section, it's a pretty straightforward and respectable list of whiskey-based classic cocktails, including the rye Boulevardier with chocolate bitters, a "Pre-Prohibition Old Fashion [sic]," a Manhattan with Buffalo Trace and Carpano Antica, and a Sazerac.