Arizona: Durant’s

Posted: March 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Durant’s is an establishment that was noted frequently in my research of Phoenix-area Bloody Marys.

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It is one of Phoenix’s oldest upscale restaurants and an icon.

You enter through the quaint back parking lot…through the kitchen.

Most of the dark décor inside is original, with the exception of the carpet, which I am told was only recently replaced.

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Yes, opened in 1950, Durant’s remains largely unchanged. 1950s sports figures Sam Snead and Joe DiMaggio dined at Durant’s, along with movie stars of the era, including Clark Gable, John Wayne and Jane Russell and there’s quite a unique history here.

The stories may or may not be true, but it’s been said that “countless political and financial deals are still brokered back-room-style even today.” The bar’s namesake, James E. “Jack” Durant, and his silent backer Jack “Swede” McElroy met in Vegas where Durant worked for gangster Bugsy Siegel as a pit boss at the Flamingo Hotel. Bugsy was murdered and then Durant also got mixed up in the murder of a rival casino owner, so he was asked by authorities to leave Nevada.

So you see, Durant’s is deeply rooted in history and mystique. It’s a fun, clandestine place to hide away in during a weekday afternoon where you’ll have the bartender all to yourself; he’s likely been working there for many years like most of the staff and he’s more than happy to share a few stories with you over one of their excellent Bloody Marys… or three.

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Mix: Homemade

Chaser: None

Fixin’s:  Shrimp and lemon.

Price: $8.50

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