Here's what to know about Barcoa, the new tequila bar in downtown Phoenix – The Arizona Republic

When he’s not hunting down the next best taco in Phoenix, David Tyda has filled his time during quarantine reading about tequila, listening to podcasts and doing nightly agave spirits tastings on his front lawn. That might seem like making the best of a bad situation for the food festival entrepreneur, but it’s actually research for his new business.
Tyda, who is known for his role in creating the Arizona Taco Festival along with Fried French fry and music festival in Phoenix and the Gilbert Pizza Festival, will open Barcoa, an agave spirit-focused bar and cantina in downtown Phoenix. 
 The mission of the bar is simple: educate people about the multitudes of agave spirits in hopes they might fall in love with tequila, mezcal, bacanora or sotol along with the cultures from which they originate as much as Tyda does. 
Now, after about two years of building, planning and stressing about opening the bar, Barcoa is finally open. 
Tyda is perhaps best known for his role in bringing food festivals to Phoenix. He, along with Rick Phillips created the Arizona Taco Festival. After that, he went on to create festivals celebrating french fries, donuts and pizza among other foods. But even though he split with the Arizona Taco Festival in 2019, his love for Mexican culture, tacos and tequila lives on.
After much thought, Tyda shared his idea to create an agave spirit bar with Ryan Oberholtzer, a friend he met at his french fry festival and the owner of Provecho, a Mexican restaurant inside the Churchill. 
“I told him and he said, ‘dude, I want to do the same thing and I have the space,’” Tyda says. 
Soon after, the duo embarked on plans to open Barcoa inside the historic “hardware store” building built in the triangular intersection between Roosevelt Street, First and Central Avenues in 1928.
“It’s just a beautiful, red brick shell,” Tyda says. “One of those buildings where your jaw drops when you walk inside and you just feel the history.”
Originally, the building housed a hardware store, something that played a crucial role in its new name. Wanting to incorporate the history, Tyda thought about the tools used to create tequila and landed on the coa, a sharpened shovel that jimadores, or tequila makers, use to harvest agave plants. The tool, paired with bar, ends up with the name Barcoa.
When visiting the space, customers should expect two concepts: a dark, intimate bar in the basement with a fun and casual cantina upstairs, which shares space with Xico, a Latino and Indigenous art studio and gallery.
Though the approximately 1,000-square-foot cantina may be small in size, Tyda fits a robust concept inside. Decorating the space with a bar top, tiles and furnishings made in Mexico, Tyda hopes to bring a piece of Guadalajara to Phoenix.
“If you are going to learn about tequila, Guadalajara is your home base,” he says. “It’s a big city with a small-town feel and it’s just the perfect city, I’m in love with it.”
The patio, which adds another 1,000-square-feet of space is situated at the back of the building, adjacent to the alley with views of the urban neighborhood. Decorated with potted plants and “socially distant furniture,” Tyda hopes to recreate the feeling of  being in a courtyard in Mexico. 
The indoor space is shared with Xico  and Tyda hopes the gallery will host painting classes accompanied with margaritas from Barcoa. At the bar’s grand opening party, an exhibit from the gallery will be on display.
At the cantina bar, the main focus is spirits. Tyda plans to offer flights of agave spirits, similar to wine tastings with small pours of tequila or mezcal served in traditional glassware including ceramic copitas and cups made from Calabash gourds. 
For those looking for a cocktail, there are some classic options on the menu such as margaritas and palomas as well.
As for food options, Tyda is excited to restart the connections he had with taco vendors during his years at the festival. A garage door in the bar rolls up to taco trucks parked outside.
“After the Taco Fest split, I really went through this taco depression,” Tyda says. “I miss that community and building a bar and inviting them to come and sell their food seems like a dream come true.”
Details: BARCOA Agaveria, 829 North 1st Ave., Phoenix.
Reach the reporter at Follow her on Twitter at @tirionmorris, on Facebook at Tirion Rose and on Instagram at tirionrose
Support local journalism and subscribe to today.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *