Food and Beverage Director Greg Zanotti showcases new menu offerings at Lylo Swim Club at the Rise Uptown Hotel (photo by Darryl Webb for North Central News).

Lylo Swim Club is a bar/restaurant/mini resort tucked amid dense tropical foliage, so well camouflaged that many folks have no idea this idyllic retreat is there as they drive west of Central on Camelback.

Food and Beverage Director Greg Zanotti hopes to change that as word gets out about the restaurant’s revamped menu and summer schedule of pool-centered celebrations.

Part of Rise Uptown Hotel, originally two office buildings that have been transformed into a mid-century modern hotel, with a bar on the rooftop of one building, Lylo is on ground level next to the second.

Lylo features a long stretch of open-air bar with tables for dining. Adjacent to it is a pool, surrounded by comfy lounges that are available for rent, and landscaping that encloses the club in leafy green walls that seem cool, even on the hottest day.

“I was here when the landscaping went in,” Zanotti said. “It’s really turned into Jumanji over time, a little oasis right off of Camelback.”

Despite its secluded location, Friday and Saturday nights are so popular that patrons who aren’t staying at the hotel and who want to buy a day pass for a lounge should reserve well in advance, Zanotti said.

But that shouldn’t deter guests from a stop, if only for Lylo’s updated menu with its Sonoran focus and extensive, innovative cocktail selection.

Zanotti’s original menu focused on Hawaiian-themed dishes. Time and tastes changed, and the menu shifted course to a more Sonoran flavor.

Salmon ceviche recalls that Hawaiian menu — think of a Sonoran poke bowl — with diced salmon, jicama and avocado, and sliced red onion, tossed in a ponzu-style sauce with pineapple, tamari, citrus and chile arbol, topped with avocado mousse and sliced chiles. It’s served with house-made chips.

The other new offerings give guests options for more substantial lunches and dinners, including skirt steak, carnitas and hamburgers. Tacos are a popular specialty, with carnitas, carne asada, pastor, chicken tinga and avocado options at three for $15.

Zanotti said his dishes are the result of experimentation and attention to detail. Take the hamburguesa al carbon.

“It’s just a simple little smashed burger, but it’s actually well thought through,” he said. “What’s in the grind? How many times do you grind it? We do brisket and chuck, one grind so it’s a little toothsome. We put it on the grill, press it down flat, and then while the grill side is caramelizing, we spread on a little yellow mustard and shaved white onions, then flip it so the onions get caramelized. Then we put a raw onion on top. There’s dried onion in our sauce, so there are three different types of onion on our burger.

“It’s all about layers, texture. If I put the sauce on the bottom bun and the lettuce on top, it will be totally different if you make exactly the same burger, but in reverse. It’s different ingredients in different parts of your palate and they react with the bun in different ways.”

Carne asada fries are a patron favorite, another example of Zanotti’s focus on layers and textures so all the toppings aren’t gone with the first layer of fries.

“We sell a ridiculous amount,” he said. “It’s super crispy French fries, tossed in salt and layered with a blend of cheeses, then another layer of fries and cheese, and broiled until it’s bubbly. Then we put them into a bowl that’s been lined with cilantro crema  and top them with more crema, carne asada, diced white onion and cilantro.”

Another popular dish, shrimp aguachile verde, features shrimp split and cooked in lime juice, then served in a green chile sauce and topped with red onion and cucumber.

Cocktails match the food for creativity. Guests can indulge in “The Porn Star Martini,” a combination of house-infused vanilla Sobieski vodka with fresh passion fruit and Passoã Passion Fruit Liqueur. Or they can dive into the Lylo Splash Bowl, a punch bowl that serves four to six, with a changing list of ingredients. There are mojitos and bloody Mary’s made with premium spirits, but why go traditional when there’s the Solero, passion fruit with Sabieski vodka and Giffard vanilla liqueur, mixed passion fruit puree and half & half, then poured over crushed ice for a very grown-up milkshake.

Added to the food and drink is a steady schedule of fun, Zanotti said. “I want people to know that this is a place that does things.”

There are night swims, taco Tuesdays, discounted lounge passes on Mondays, and other summer specials and events planned. The events can include specialty cocktails, where representatives of various liquors give out promotional gifts and complimentary shots of their products.

While bookings fill up fast on weekends, midweek nights usually are more open, and cost less, Zanotti said. Either way, reservations are a must for the pool/lounge day passes.

Lylo Swim Club, at 400 W. Camelback Road, is open Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations and information, call 480-536-8899 or visit


  • Marjorie Rice

    Marjorie Rice is an award-winning journalist, newspaper food editor, travel editor and cookbook editor with more than three decades' experience writing about the culinary industry.

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