Hang Loose

Hang Loose

By Madison Rutherford

Riot House makes waves in Scottsdale

South Beach meets southwest at Old Town Scottsdale’s newest hot spot, Riot House, which serves up beach-inspired cuisine and cocktails in a whimsical yet sophisticated setting.

The bar, club and restaurant is the latest concept from Riot Hospitality Group, the management company responsible for other successful Old Town venues such as El Hefe and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row. Riot House offers the same upscale atmosphere and unique design elements with a tropical twist; it’s an oasis of lush lounge areas and beachy décor reminiscent of a coastal vacation (think lots of pink and palm trees).

Large floor-to-ceiling windows line one wall, while across the room, palm leaf-pattern wallpaper, plush salmon-colored booths and kitschy wicker lighting fixtures evoke a vintage vibe. The electric blue, neon “Riot House” sign on the adjacent wall adds a modern touch.

Though its location and appearance suggest it’s luxurious and upscale, Riot House’s atmosphere is surprisingly laid-back. It’s so versatile, in fact, that it offers bottle service on Saturday night and hosts brunch on Sunday afternoon. Sumptuous dishes like crust-free quiche, Belgian waffles and a breakfast flatbread featuring cheese, chicken sausage, tomato sauce, eggs and a chili-maple drizzle stand out on the brunch menu, but the make-your-own mimosas and bellinis are the main attraction.

It is Riot House’s happy hour, however, that is the hottest deal in town. Every Tuesday through Thursday between 4 and 7 p.m., Riot House serves $5 appetizers and $8 flatbreads, with an extended happy hour from 4 to 10 p.m. on Fridays.

Though Riot House decidedly gets more, well, riotous after dark, happy hour is just the right amount of mellow – perfect for a post-work pick-me-up with co-workers, casual catch-up with friends or even a first date. In the evenings, the bar bumps a catchy but quiet soundtrack that stays true to Riot’s energetic ambience, but allows you to comfortably engage in conversation while you’re snacking or sipping.

The menu features healthy comfort foods with South American flair, like tropical avocado salsa with toasted coconut, and sweet pea hummus – an olive-colored medley of coriander, sesame and sweet peas punctuated by pickled feta and roasted garlic, served with fresh-cut carrots and celery and crunchy veggie chips. There are four types of flatbreads on the menu, which are light and fresh, but filling. We recommend the campari tomato flatbread, which is shrouded in mozzarella cheese and freckled with juicy, vine-ripened campari tomatoes and fresh basil.

Although the happy hour menu includes all appetizers except the mojo shrimp ($12), we suggest spending the extra cash on this temptingly tasty Cuban dish, which features bite-size shrimp in a white wine tomato sauce with a side of slightly sweet garlic bread.

If you have room for dessert, the Riot Sundae ($8) combines decadent dulce de leche ice cream, brownie bites, plantains, guava caramel and toasted coconut for a unique flavor profile that’s both rich and refreshing.

Whether you want to drink, dance or dine, Riot House makes you feel right at home, and is as close to beachside bliss as you can get in Arizona (without getting sunburned).