Restaurateur Julian Wright is best known for his Pedal Haus Brewery, La Bocca Pizzeria and Canteen Modern Tequila Bar concepts.
Now he’s bringing Luckys Indoor Outdoor, a craft cocktail and food truck fare concept, to Downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Arts District.
“I’ve been intrigued by the Roosevelt Row area for many years, and I have a close personal friend who works with True North, which is my landlord at this location,” Wright says.
“He invited me down to look at this particular location, which was a one-story brick law office building. I just thought the building was really cool and kind of fit the theme of a concept that I’ve been working on at the time.”
The bar features a 4,000-square-foot dog-friendly outdoor patio that will have fire pits, garden lighting, bocce ball, picnic tables and live music on the weekends following the grand opening. In addition, there is the 2,400-square-foot indoor space, a lounge, and dive bar games like pool and skee-ball.
“For some reason I have zero memory of how I came up with Luckys,” Wright says. “The Indoor Outdoor is just kind of the nod to the fact that we have two pretty distinct different environments.
“The inside is lots of red lights, wood paneling, vintage neon signs and pool tables. It’s kind of a darker feel than the outside, which is kind of the opposite. Obviously, it’s outdoors, picnic tables, bocce court and various food trucks coming and going.”
For the décor, Wright enjoyed hunting through OfferUp and antique stores for vintage neon signs to be placed inside the bar.
As for the food, Luckys will have a rotating list of food trucks including Wildfire, Salsa Bites and Cousins Maine Lobster.
“The food trucks will be on our property,” he says. “It’s not like you have to put your drink down and go outside, get your food and come back in. You’ll be able to take your drink, your beer or whatever with you to the food truck and sit at a picnic table right by the food truck or play bocce ball.”
Wright believes wholeheartedly in the cocktail concept. Each area will have its own offerings.
“Basically, we finally broke the list into two parts: We got the indoor part, which is more spirit forward, and then we got the outer part, which is more tropical and citrus forward,” Wright says. “The cocktail menu is pretty well divided between the two styles of drinks.”
Some of the drinks listed on the menus include the French Canadian, a twist on an old-fashioned and an Irish bird, which swaps Jameson for rum with pineapple juice, peach, lemon and Carpano bitter.
“They’re all pretty freaking phenomenal,” Wright says.
Wright hopes to have a grand opening for Luckys in mid-January, following health protocols. Luckys complies with COVID-19 protocols and state regulations with an enforced mask policy and social distancing in effect.
He will also extend his hours to allow for live music on the weekends.
“I really enjoy creating concepts. Everything from the name, the branding, the location, the décor, the playlist, the uniforms—I enjoy that,” Wright says. “The creative side is probably the side that I enjoy the most.
“To use a cliché, it really does take a village, because there are a lot of humans involved to make a restaurant or bar successful. It’s a lot of personalities to manage. It’s a lot of expectations to manage. It’s a lot of work to execute consistently and to get everyone to row in the same direction. But once you’re altogether and your restaurant or bar is successful, it’s an incredibly good feeling.”
Wright will open three additional concepts in the Roosevelt Row area early this year, including Kähvi Coffee Company, Sake Haus that will serve sushi and sake, and the third location of Pedal Haus Brewery.
“We’ll be assisting in reactivating the Monorchid gallery space (that normally hosts) art shows, food events, music events, weddings, private parties—all that kind of stuff,” Wright says.
Luckys Indoor Outdoor