John Wine Snob says:The Urban Bean at 3508 N. 7th Street (at Osborn) in Phoenix is an unassuming place. I had driven past many times and always thought of stopping, but for one reason or another never did. Then one day several months ago I was early for a meeting in the neighborhood and stepped in for a coffee, and I was very pleasantly surprised that it is also a wine bar. Who knew? The day timers seem to be the coffee and lap top crowd, but the evening clientele seems to switch to wine.The first time I stopped I talked to owner Virginia Senior, who is also and architect, and found that she also knows Jeff Wine Snob – Small world, eh? She is personable and certainly knowledgeable, and she has trained her likeable young staff very well. Virginia has created a welcoming and intimate atmosphere.While Urban Bean does not have a huge selection, but they make up for it in quality and personal service. Virginia and her staff always seem genuinely interested to know what I have thought of every wine they have poured for me.
Urban Bean also a nice display of pastries and a menu of salads, soups, and sandwiches. Recently I had a corn chowder that was dynamite and a flatbread with melted cheese and locally made Schreiner’s sausage that was just what the doctor ordered.On a recent evening I met Jeff Wine Snob and friends Gene and Carey. Urban Bean featured the Raw Power Shiraz 09 from Australia ($24) which I really liked. It was unusually robust and more fruity that expected with a little pepper.
Next they poured me an Alias Chardonnay 08 from Napa that I would describe as Guns and Roses. I am not a real Chardonnay guy especially the Californians, but there was a nice manly mix of metallic and floral flavors. I would surely buy this wine again and at $19 a bottle the price is right.Finally I tried the Alias Cabernet Sauvignon. Gene was a little apprehensive because at $5 a glass he thought it might be an iffy Cab. I think all of us had differing opinions of this wine. I was the most enthusiastic. For an inexpensive Cab there was not such a strong oak assault. It was lighter than most Cabs, so it is a nice casual wine that went well with the soup and flatbread.
With small homey hangouts so rare in Phoenix I am happy to have Urban Bean halfway between work and home.