The Fox & Hound Pub & Grill is bringing a dash of spice to Gilbert’s nightlife scene, and some East Valley residents say it’s long overdue.
"It’s about time someone put a good bar out here," customer John Simmons, 24, of Mesa said on a recent Saturday night. "If you’re into going out to the bars, there really aren’t a lot of options to choose from."
The Fox & Hound — a national restaurant-and-bar chain that has 67 locations, including Peoria and Tucson — opened four months ago on Baseline Road, just west of Stapley Drive. It has quickly become a popular hangout for Gilbert, Mesa and Chandler residents.
"There are sports bars out here, but there’s nothing like this," said Dana Goode, 35, of Gilbert. "I think people like that the bar appeals to all ages. They have good food. They have a pretty big drink menu. And the crowd here is really attractive."
Sarah Rush, who frequented a Fox & Hound in Omaha, Neb., said she was thrilled when she discovered an East Valley location.
"To me, it’s a very Midwest bar," said the 21-year-old Tempe resident. "I like it because I can go there with my friends and we can all sit at a table and we can talk, but we’re still at a bar."
The bar’s shiny wood paneling gives it a sleek, hip look that seems almost out of place in Gilbert, a town of about 159,000 whose rural charm is giving way to burgeoning housing developments.
There are several TVs — some showing baseball games, but others playing the latest music videos from rock bands such as Dashboard Confessional and Hoobastank.
A cigar station offers a variety of what general manager Ray Brown called "mid-range" cigars for $6 to $16, and the kitchen’s menu includes jerk chicken, chili cheese dogs and Hawaiian sticky ribs.
Above the bar hang large mugs imprinted with names such as Buddy and Cameo — part of the Fox & Hound’s mug club. In the first two days the venue was open, 250 customers bought mugs for $25 and receive a 23-ounce draft for the price of a 16-ounce draft whenever they come in.
But for many of the Fox & Hound’s customers, the real draw is the clientele.
"You really get a large mix of people here," said Harry James, 41, of Mesa. "I think that’s part of the attraction. And as nice as the bar looks, it’s really laid-back here and the people are friendly."
Fox & Hound Pub & Grill
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
Address: 1017 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert
Happy hour: $1 off all drinks 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
Information: (480) 507-2343 or www.totent.com