COVID-19 STORIES: A Downtown Phoenix Pivot Is Building Back Our Creative Community

by Mike Hunter

Always meant to be a place unlike anywhere Phoenicians had experienced downtown, The Pemberton PHX was an ever-evolving idea born from an understanding that out of challenge and hardship can come creativity, collaboration and a strong will to do things differently. Then the pandemic hit.

Only an initial setback, the creativity began re-emerging when it was clear that a space of this magnitude and outdoor opportunity could be reimagined — with only minor changes — to become an even more creative, collaborative and uniquely qualified gem in the Downtown Phoenix arts district north of Roosevelt.

The Pemberton is a mindfully curated collective that will house a dozen-plus unique experiences from wellness to crafts of all kinds and arts of all media. Upon the shutdowns and through the ups and downs of COVID-19, True North Studio founder Jonathon Vento looked out of the windows at the hundred-year-old historic Sarah H. Pemberton House to reimagine possibility in every direction.

Instead of seeing the previous-to-the-pandemic plans, he saw trees; art; film; dancing; grass; outdoor restaurants; bars; yoga; performance; people thinking, moving, studying, drinking — in all, a place to have fun at a time we need it most. That’s when what once was just a house transformed into The Pemberton PHX.

The Pemberton PHX was designed to ignite the taste buds, a sense of exploration, community and health. With a partial opening last Friday, January 8, Downtown Phoenix will have a new outdoor playground just one street north of Roosevelt Row. As part of the collective and with the local and visiting community in mind, The Pemberton PHX will excitedly open its gate in partnership with Abnormal Beer Co. Airstream Taproom, Artlink Inc., Bitch On The Run (Breakfast Bitch Express), Cloth & Flame (event partner), Dino’s Pizza Napoletana, FilmBar, Growhouse, Saint Pasta, The Black Art Preservation Trust, Vikara Yoga Events, a fitness zone with two perfectly outfitted mini indoor/outdoor gyms for a personal trainer or two, and a wellness lawn for any kind of fitness enthusiast the muscles can imagine.

Shortly to follow this opening, guests can look forward to several additions: b Coffee, a reimagined version of the formerly known “be Coffee Food + Stuff”; a firetruck draft cocktail, wine and beer bar; a metal craftsman’s bar experience known as the Psycho Cubist Steele Cloud of Doom; plenty of arts and entertainment programming; plus a few more surprises.

For the community, by the community, and a healthy mix of new kids on the block to allow for diversified and compelling offerings, The Pemberton PHX is for anyone and everyone. Created for a family outing, indie film and dinner date night, the routine bi-weekly fitness class, a starry jazz session, a lunchtime beer or two with co-workers after a long week, a corporate team-building event, a high-end whiskey-tasting bachelor party, a community dinner, charity event, market, and maybe even for things like walking through a sun portal, The Pemberton PHX offers a multitude of opportunities to enjoy and celebrate life safely. The possibilities are endless and something like a pandemic could never stop the momentum behind The Pemberton PHX.

Safety has become a great priority not just from a compliance standpoint but from a creativity standpoint as well. Open spaces, exclusively outdoor spaces and the newly completed mature landscape allow guests to feel safe and socially distanced at all times — yet still able to enjoy the Downtown vibe and experience the great food and drink.

The Pemberton PHX is located just one street north of Roosevelt Row at 1121 N. 2nd Street, Phoenix, Ariz., 85004. Phone: (602) 314-5898.

Here’s What to Expect

The Pemberton PHX Usual Hours

  • Open: Daily 11 a.m. (some fitness classes will open at 9 a.m.)
  • Close: Mon-Thurs/Sun 11 p.m., Fri/Sat Midnight

Concepts Now Open

  • Abnormal Beer Co. Airstream Taproom: Every day, 11 a.m. to close
  • Bitch On The Run (BB Express): Every day, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (initially)
  • Dino’s Pizza Napoletana: Wed – Sun, Noon to close
  • Smokin’ Hot Bitch (BBQ): Every day, 4 p.m. to close

Upcoming Openings

  • Saint Pasta: Opens February 2021
  • Baja Fish Tacos and More: February 15, 2021
  • Cleo + Clementine: March 1, 2021
  • Pyscho Cubist Steele Cloud of Doom (Bar): March 2021
  • Wellness/Fitness Zone: Coming soon

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