April 14, 2005
In Tempe: 1340 East 8th St. (south of University Drive), between Rural and McClintock, 480/303-9967
In north Phoenix: southeast corner of Frank Lloyd Wright and Hayden, 480/991-1795
Tucked in residential Tempe’s University area, Four Peaks offers an unpretentious atmosphere for the college and out-of-college crowd. Don’t bother dressing to impress – jeans or shorts are perfectly acceptable. The North Phoenix location is on the inconspicuous side of a strip mall, between a paint-your-own-pottery place and an Organized Living store.
When I was first introduced to this place, I only knew them to serve beer and breakfast, because I’d only been to Four Peaks for Sunday-morning football games. Four Peaks is a Minnesota Vikings bar, playing all the Minnesota games on Sundays during football season on their numerous televisions. Non-fans need not be alarmed: the Viking loyalty is not prevalent on non-game days. And Four Peaks is so much more than just a Vikings bar.
First of all, there’s the beer. Even a beer amateur like myself can’t not mention the beer at a microbrewery like this. If you still don’t know what to drink after looking over the menu, try the sampler, which is a wood tray with shot-sized glasses of their eight standard beers: 8th Street Ale, Kiltlifter Scottish-style Ale, Hefeweizen, Hop Knot IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Arizona Peach Ale, Raj India Pale Ale, and Fool’s Gold Ale. Of the microbrews, Kiltlifter is my favorite, while the 8th Street Ale is popular between my brother and my boyfriend. They also have seasonal brews and Ace Pear Cider on tap, and wine and other liquors are available.
As far as food goes, Four Peaks has a lot of bar standards: Brickhouse Wings (a friend reports that the buffalo wings are nearly as good as those she makes herself), pizza (a little on the cheesy side), and burgers and fries. But the non-standard bar fare is what I find interesting: the Thai hummus, garlic bread, and Bavarian pretzels are particularly addictive. Beware of the soups, as they have a spicy kick. Most entrées come in huge portions, including breakfast on football Sundays. If the "Walleye Strips and Chips" is a dinner special that pops up on the day you visit, it is a definite must-try if you’ve never had this meaty river fish before.
The only thing that detracts from Four Peaks is the parking – particularly at the original Tempe location. Parking is free, but having to walk from a block away is not uncommon on weekends. (That's what strong local loyalty will get you!) Four Peaks is where the definitive "Arizona casual" comes to life - in shorts, a T-shirt, and a local brew.
From journal Drumming Up Interest in Phoenix