In the long forgotten basement of the San Marcos Hotel in Downtown Chandler, a nationally recognized local mixologist, Brandon Casey (formerly of Citizen Public House and The Gladly), has revived the dormant basement which once stored ostrich feathers. He is paying obeisance to the space’s former use and Chandler’s unique history, with the large flightless bird from Africa by opening up a speakeasy called The Ostrich.
The Ostrich is across the street from the San Tan Brewery’s outdoor patio area and around the corner and below Crust which is at street level. In true speakeasy fashion, there is no signage. Look for the staircase going down the side of the exterior of the building to the basement. Usually, there is someone checking IDs at the top of the staircase.
WHAT WILL YOU FIND AT THE OSTRICH?
Classic cocktails such as Old Fashioneds, Tom Collins, Manhattans, French 75s, Cosmos, Daiquiris, Mai Tais and Sazeracs are the drinks of choice here. Casey and his crew of bartenders at The Ostrich do a solid job of blending and balancing sweet, sour and/or bitter flavors in their drinks. The Ostrich does a masterful job of arousing your sense of smell, utilizing fresh herbs, citrus and smoke (yes, smoke) into an array of cocktails.
Hungry? No problem. The Ostrich has a handful of items on it’s menu such as duck nachos, panko crusted burrata, bacon wrapped shrimp, ostrich sliders, and short rib raviolis. In addition, Crust’s full menu is available to order off of as well.
RECOMMENDATIONS (JOSEPH YU)
Old Fashioned. Yes, a true classic that is done well here. Pick from Bulleit Bourbon, Angel’s Envy Rye, Johnny Walker Black or Don Julio Reposado. Sugar, bitters, fresh peel of lemon and orange over large cubes of ice rounds out the drink. I suggest going with the Bourbon, as it provides some smokiness and depth to the drink which balances out the sweet and bitter flavors nicely.
French 75. Now this is a drink you could enjoy with your pinky pointed up, not that I am suggesting you do so…Chandon Brut, Cognac, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup served with a lemon twist in a coupe. Clean, tart, and refreshing. This is a drink both guys and gals can appreciate. I highly suggest ordering one, just leave your pinky down when drinking.
Conflagration Nation. In my opinion, this is the drink that put Brandon Casey on the national map in the world of mixologists. The drink is a sultry mix of Angel’s Envy Rye, Bulleit 10 Year Bourbon, Nardini Amaro, Sandeman’s Founder’s Reserve Ruby Port and Boulard Calvados. Mint-infused simple syrup, lemon peel, and a sprig of mint awakens this cocktail. As your drink is being concocted, a glass is being infusing with sweet Barbados plantation-style pipe-tobacco smoke. In my opinion, the sweet tobacco smoke is what highlights the drink.
As currently constructed, The Ostrich makes a great place for an after work happy hour, or a place to get the night started. If you’re here to enjoy your cocktail in a somewhat subdued, chill environment, you may want to come early. After about 11 pm, depending on the day of the week, the people get a little “happy”, well let’s face it, they get a little “sloppy”. Of course, that’s to be expected, in most bars anyway . But by all means, if you’re feeling kind of rowdy, after 11 pm may be just right. At the end of the day, if you are looking for a speakeasy atmosphere, or good classic cocktails, give The Ostrich a round, or two.