The red-themed bar – everything from the floors to ceilings to tufted leather couches are cherry-apple red here – brings a unique blend of artsy sophistication to the downtown scene.
First-time visitors to R Bar are greeted by an enormous LED mural that has been installed over the bar, which features an over-sized backlit steel sun and silhouette images of Tucson landmarks, like "A" Mountain and the city's famous saguaro cacti. The bar's decor is a visual treat, to say the least.
R Bar, a downtown Tucson cocktail bar — Photo courtesy of R Bar
The fun, funky ambiance is reflected in the menu, which is full of original hand-crafted cocktails like the "Ancho Villa," which is made with Mezcal, ancho chile liqueur, almond milk, egg white, lemon and nutmeg. The results are a creamy, frothy drink with bite.
Then there's the "Man on a Bearskin Rug," a cocktail worth ordering just for the fun of uttering its name to the bar staff. But the drink itself – crafted from angostura bitters, apple brandy, Carpano Antica (Italian vermouth) and house grenadine, with a hearty oatmeal stout base – is an earthy and fruity drink with herbal notes. Complex, yes, but ultimately delicious.
The bar's menu of made-from-scratch cocktails is excellent, but beer- and wine-drinkers have plenty to love about R Bar, too. There's an eclectic menu of draft, bottle and can beers, including locally made brews from Tucson's own Dragoon Brewing Company.
A short but quirky wine list includes wines from Croatia and Slovenia, as well as plenty of sparkling French wines. Once a month, the bar hosts the "Bon Vivant Club," a tasting event featuring natural and organic wines, with five or six bottles from a specific region.
Bartenders prepare drinks at R Bar in Tucson — Photo courtesy of R Bar
R Bar regularly hosts featured DJs, and on some nights, classic black-and-white films are projected onto one of the bar's walls, lending a decidedly retro-lounge vibe to the surroundings.
Although R Bar doesn't have a kitchen, guests can place an order at the bar for taco delivery, courtesy of Gio Taco, home of gourmet and unusual specialties like duck and Korean barbecue tacos.
The R Bar is open to guests attending live music shows at the adjacent Rialto Theatre. The bar hopes to attract concert-goers who may want more than the beer and wine served inside the venue's small house bar.
But whether or not there's a show at The Rialto, the R Bar is open to the general public, seven nights a week.