Story and photos by Niki D’Andrea
When you say the word “wings” at The Hangar Food & Spirits, you’re most likely ordering the establishment’s award-winning chicken wings. But you could also be referring to airplane wings, since this aviation-themed bar boasts several paintings of various aircraft, along with design elements like faux propellers for booth backs and airplane nose cones as sculptures.
As far as neighborhood bars go, The Hangar has it all: multiple flat-screen TVs showing sports, off-track betting for horse races (also displayed throughout the bar), a sizable selection of homegrown and craft beers, tasty tacos and burgers, a pool table, and an arcade area with pinball games. It’s frequently busy, with people spilling onto the patio when the weather is nice, and sometimes even when it’s not, to enjoy the stogies they bought at Oggie’s Cigars, The Hangar’s next-door strip mall neighbor. Most people here seem familiar with each other.
The food menu is typical bar food – burgers, sandwiches, simple salads, and wings – but there are a couple of standout appetizers in the pretzel bites with beer cheese and the fried Wisconsin jalapeño cheese curds. During happy hour (4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday), the pretzel bites cost just $5 (as do the worthy house-made chips with Buffalo sauce). Happy hour drink specials include $3 well drinks, $4 house wines, and $1 off all beers.
Another tasty special is $2 street tacos on Tuesdays. Available in soft-shell or crunchy flour or corn tortillas, stuffed with crumbled beef and topped with crunchy lettuce, sweet diced tomato and shreds of sharp cheddar cheese, the tacos are simple but superb.
There are 10 sauces to choose from when ordering the wings, which come in “flightless” (boneless) and traditional versions: Buffalo, sriracha honey, spicy teriyaki, “Gold & Bold,” coconut Thai, honey garlic, chipotle BBQ, Boulder, honey hot, and for fans of the incendiary, XXX hot. On Thursdays, The Hangar offers six flightless wings for $6, plus $4 Jack Daniel’s and Jack Fire drinks.
The Hangar’s half-pound burgers are seasoned with salt and garlic and given a nice char before being set between sturdy grilled buns and topped with cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato and red onion. A quarter-pound cheeseburger with salty, perfectly cooked shoestring fries costs just $6 on Fridays. With $4 kamikaze shots and 16-ounce cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $2.50 also on special for the big F-Day, some people might have to consider a longer layover in one of the many leather booths, bathed in the light of the giant projection screen showing whatever sport’s in season while alternative rock plays on the bar’s speakers.
Just don’t wade into the way of the crowd watching (and maybe betting on) the horse races. They’re an excitable bunch. With cheap drinks, elevated bar food and friends all around, who could blame them? Not anyone with a mouthful of $6 cheeseburger.
Location: 13610 N Scottsdale Rd #30, Scottsdale