Thirsty Lion, Tempe AZ – USA

I was in Phoenix / Tempe for almost two weeks for business.  Some guys at work had suggested The Thirsty Lion as a good place to go for dinner.  The Thirsty Lion is situated in Tempe Marketplace, which has lots of places to eat and a few upscale shops.

The Thirsty Lion is an enormous pub with a large square bar in the centre and tables all around.  There are lots of TV screens dotted around the pub and there is also an outside area that has some tables situated around an outside fireplace that is pretty cool.

I arrived with two (out of town) colleagues on a Tuesday night.  Tuesday nights in Tempe are not very happening so we were greeted with a smile and given a choice of tables.  This is a fairly modern pub with young and pretty staff and a fairly young clientele to match.  The music here is loud with a constant steam of MTV hits showing on half the TV screens with sports being shown on the other half.

The menu here is pretty standard American; burgers, pizza, wraps and lots and lots of beer.  They have a short speciality section of the menu, which has a few other dishes too like the Sonoran Chicken Enchilada Stack, Baja Fish Tacos and I.P.A. Beer Battered Fish & Chips.

Our server introduced herself and was happy to explain some of the speciality beers that were available.  I opted for a fairly boring Heineken, as did one colleague, however the other colleague (let’s called him the ‘older one’) decided to be brave and opted for a proper beer called ‘Kilt Lifter’.  Now if you haven’t gathered, when I am not living in hotels or in-flight, I live in Scotland.  While I am not generally patriotic, I did feel slightly irritated at an American company brewing a beer and calling it Kilt Lifter; why I am not sure.

I like to play with Social Media so I use Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.  When I am travelling I try to remember and Check-in when I am out and about; sometimes I am rewarded with a coupon or a special offer for the establishment I check-in to.  As I checked into The Thirsty Lion I saw several tips from other users that all read the same – try the Beer Cheese soup.  Wow.  Beer Cheese soup?  You don’t get that in Scotland!  I love beer and I love cheese so the thought of it together in a soup was fantastic!  I ordered a ‘cup’ ($4.50) as I simply couldn’t refuse, and the Sonoran Chicken Enchilada Stack ($14.95).  My colleagues opted for a Seared Ahi salad – I still have no idea what it is other than green ($12.95), and Grilled Atlantic Salmon ($18.95) respectively.

I asked the server not to hold up the mains for my soup and she told me that there is always a pot on as it’s so popular and it would be right out; she was correct!  Putting all of the healthy eating issues aside (the soup was, as my friend would say, “dirty”) the soup was great!  It tasted like cheese (funnily enough) but had a good bit of spice to it, similar to a nutmeg flavour but not quite.  It was served with a little ciabatta on top and I only wish I hadn’t ordered a main; this is the US of A and everything here is huge!  My cup of soup was more than enough!  It sounds a bit weird but its not as thick and unhealthy as you think it’s going to be!

My main was enormous – I mean huge.  It was pretty tasty though with oodles of – you guess it – cheese.  And I wonder why I have to buy larger sizes of shirts?!  Take my advice; you do not need a starter here along with a main.  The salad looked… salad – like from what I recall and the salmon was deemed “pretty good” by the older one.  I find that as people age, they become harder to please so I would take this as a recommendation.

The drinks were cold and wet and our server ensured that our glasses were kept topped up.  Service was great – as it is in most places in the US.  You may have to tip, but the servers work hard for it.

If you are in the area – visit.  Downtown Tempe is a cool place to be and the soup really is great!  I would love to hear back from anyone that tried it?

Thirsty Lion, 2000 East Rio Salado PArkway Suite 1041, Tempe, Arizona.  Website

Addendum: I visited once again during my stay and opted for the Italian Cheese and Pepperoni Brick Oven Pizza which was described as ‘Liguria Italian pepperoni, Roma pear tomato sauce and four cheese blend’.  The pizza was greasy, the meat unpleasant.  The base did not taste as though it was cooked in anything other than a standard oven and it looked nothing like the picture on the website.  In short – this was a disaster – order something else.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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