I have been living in northern Arizona for almost a few years now and I have both loved and loathed nearby Sedona. It’s such wonderful place, a place sacred to both the Hopi and hobo alike, and yet there’s always something missing. One thing that comes to mind is the lack of a well poured Guinness—actually, any Guinness for that matter.
Oak Creek Brewing Company has two locations and I love them both, but otherwise Sedona is seriously lacking good beer. I know, hard to believe. Even Oak Creek Brewing rarely has a stout on tap. God loves making beautiful canyons but I’ll bet he wants to admire his work over a good stout. He is hopnipotent, after all. Sedona is angering the Brew Gods and has brought the wrath of the Great ‘Sudsy’ Spirit down on this unsuspecting red rock community.
My stout seeking ended last week at Mooney’s Irish Pub, a place open about six months now. How did I find this place, you ask? Well, the other day I was perusing the fine art and sculptors over at the Exposure Gallery and decided to check out the place next door. OK, I only ended up in the Exposure Gallery after turning into the wrong parking lot—I had already Googled Mooney’s the night before. Oh, and with a name like the Exposure Gallery, I thought they’d have a better sense of humor about practical jokes. Admittedly, my joke would have been more apropos at Mooney’s.
The Guinness is great! A very nice pour. It doesn’t beat out Celtic Crossing over in Prescott but it’s a close second. The place is small and otherwise doesn’t have much going for it, atmosphere wise. There is a little area set in the rocks for outdoor seating. Those tables have a nice view, looking northwest over Sedona. I saw an awning off the side of the building and thought there was another outside area but, as it turned out it was just an area for the air conditioners.
What are the owners thinking? Here’s your party place, peeps. Do I have to do everything? You could even have stairs from the above area to the tables below. Heavy drinking and steep stairs go together like peanut butter and jelly…for those allergic to peanuts. Get to work on that project now. I don’t care if you have to push the business upstairs out. Don’t bother me with the details, just make it so.
When the fish and chips arrived that’s when this place lost serious points. The fish was uninspired, of course it was dead, which might account for that. The chips were not chips, they were fries and soggy ones at that. The whole “entrée” was served in a plastic Chinese food take out container. It came with a $12.50 price tag. That’s actually not bad for Sedona; some places charge you more than that for the pickle. The “meal” came with two lemons, no ketchup, no tartar sauce, and I got the feeling if I asked for malt vinegar I would get a blank stare. So, of course, I asked, “Do you have any malt vinegar?” See above for response.
Actually, they had some, but only for the purpose of wrecking that last joke. Bastards! You don’t need malt vinegar for soggy fries, but now I must go through the ritual of making these sad little potato strips even soggier—while smiling blankly at the waitress who brought me the malt vinegar. Yum. Maybe I’ve invented something, Slush Puppies.
I still rate this place highly for the sole fact they have a good Guinness on tap, making them an Irish oasis in an otherwise stoutless desert.
At right is a hiking trail I found in Sedona. It leads from the Irish pub all the way to the Elote Café next door. I have made the journey myself down the flat, nearly 20 yard arduous schlep through an arid and unforgiving land. That’s my kind of hiking trail! Oh, and to the left of Mooney’s there’s the Javelina Cantina, a place with decent—and by Sedona standards, affordable—Mexican food. It has an outdoor area and a cool bar inside.
At left is the view from inside the cantina. Unfortunately, there’s only Oak Creek Amber and Dos Equis worth drinking on tap. They could clearly use a tap line upgrade, but overall a nice joint. Wait, no WI-FI! Forget everything I said; the place sucks.
Mooney’s makes this little pocket of shops worth the stop. I have driven past this complex on a number of occasions and if not for the new Guinness umbrella, I’d have kept right on driving. Well, my Guinness is kicked and it’s time to check out the nearby Elote Café. I have a long journey ahead. Almost 20 yards of dusty desert terrain lies between me and my next pint. If necessary, I will set up a base camp at the edge of the Elote parking lot. Looks like I might have time to drop my pants in front of the Exposure Gallery one last time. Wish me luck.