Don’t expect anything fancy––HB Hanratty’s at 537 E. Camelback Road is about as local as you can get for a place that comes with a 30-year history. Newcomers will discover the strong drinks served here and old timers will flock to the place when an Ohio State game is playing.
Diane Quan and Steve Dragovich were regular patrons of the place before they became the owners. They lived and worked in the area at high-end restaurants such as Fleming’s and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse but enjoyed the vibe at Hanratty’s.
So in 2009, Quan approached the owners about taking over the pub and a deal was made. But it was a bit of an adjustment for the two who were used to white table clothes and swanky digs. Quan laughs, “Well it took a little getting used to. In the beginning we were thinking, ‘What did we get ourselves into?’ But it’s worked out pretty well.”
They made a few changes such as taking out the carpet (remember, it was built in the late 1970s) and putting in a small kitchen to serve a few food items. The iconic yellow sign that featured the name plus the image of a cowboy with a handlebar mustache and goatee fell down last year. The new sign is red and only sports the name.
Those small changes haven’t affected the tradition of Ohio State fans appropriating the bar during their games. “It’s packed,” says Quan, adding that the previous owners told her it started way back before the games were televised. The local alumni would gather at Hanratty’s then call the father of an alum in Ohio who would hold the phone up to the radio so the fans in Phoenix could listen to the game on speakerphone.
“We’ll open the bar early,” says Quan of those game days. “Sometimes it can be nine in the morning.” The alumni association even sets up a booth where fans can purchase Ohio State swag.
“Sometimes on big games you’ll have 100 Ohio State fans here,” she says. Her business partner, Dragovich, is from Ohio, so these days are especially fun for him.
A perusal of some online sites will tell you HB Hanratty’s is a “Western” place, an English pub, a tavern, or a biker bar. It’s none of those, says Angela Muniz, the marketing director for the eatery.
Some folks call it a dive bar. That’s more accurate, admits Muniz with a chuckle. “Oh yeah, I would say we’re a dive bar. I think people expect dive bars to have some culture and history,” she says. “They may not be fancy but they’re definitely known for their drinks.”
A little bit of fancy comes in the form of the Tiny Tinis, which Quan added to the menu. It’s a 4-ounce martini for $4. “The martini originally started as a small drink so it would stay cold while you drink it,” Muniz explains.
Hanratty’s offers the Classic Martini, a Washington Appletini and a Cosmopolitan in a “tinier” format. They’re a big hit, says Quan. “The price point is a little bit different, so it seemed to work out,” as patrons can try a martini and stay within their budget.
The bar also includes some local beers, such Sun Up IPA and Sleepy Dog Red Rover, as well as the not-so-local Magic Hat #9. “It’s a really light lager,” says Muniz, “and it has a cult following.” The beer is from Vermont and is on tap.
“Beer week (Feb. 16-23) would be a good time to check us out,” she suggests. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, HB Hanratty’s teams up with Old Dixie’s Food Truck to offer Arizona beers and comfort food for $25. You can RSVP on the restaurant’s Facebook page to ensure your space at the event. For the rest of the week Hanratty’s will feature Arizona beers for $3 each.
And since a prep kitchen was added a short nosh menu also is available, including a warm pretzel; chips, salsa and cheese; taquitos; mozzarella sticks; pepperoni pizza bread; and a pastrami and Swiss on rye sandwich. Or, if you prefer, you’re welcome to bring in your own food, says Muniz.
“It’s very much a neighborhood place,” Muniz says, describing the Happy Hour crowd as a mix of working class and business class, and as the evening progresses the hispters venture in from the neighborhood to shoot pool on one of the vintage pool tables or shoot darts in the back.
If you work at another bar or restaurant, show your pay stub to get a free drink. If you take in a show at the nearby Torch Theater, show your ticket and get a drink for $1. Cycling patrons are welcome to park their bicycles on the patio.
A bit of modern technology is the jukebox. If you have an app for Touch Tune you can program songs to play from your phone or you can walk over and insert the proper amount of coin.
This year a mural will be painted on the eastern side of the building. Calls for artists will be posted on the Facebook page, HB Hanratty’s Pub.
HB Hanratty’s is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. For more information, call 602-274-3067.