Sportsman?s no more.
The ?new? Sportsman?s is not what it used to be! As a matter of fact it?s not even close?
My wife and I went for a glass or two of wine and some American/Italian tapas two weeks after the reopening. Upon entering the first noticeable item the poor lighting. The mix of decorative lighting over the bar was washed out by the commercial overhead lighting that was too bright and just did not fit the space nor did it set the proper mood for a wine bar. I felt like I was at work!
Second we had a seat at the bar. The granite bar top was of poor quality and the layout of the seating had you staring into a open space that contained a few wine bottles on shelves with that terrible office lighting. The remodel included cheap looking wood. The biggest fopaux was the view of the serving window where you could look into the kitchen. This view into this area was white vinyl walls and a out-of-place Diamondback?s clock and Styrofoam to-go containers. On the other side was the entrance to the kitchen where the trash can sat in plain view. This made looking at the 42? flat screen in the cheap looking wood credenza the best option. A big screen TV in a wine bar? The shape of the bar does not allow you to see or talk to other patrons sitting next to you. The poor use of floor space has an empty space between the bar so all you see if the ugly rubber kitchen safety mats and continues into the wine and alcohol sections where nothing was redesigned, there is just more walking room between the wine racks.
The service was good, Eric knew a good amount about wine and was a good server. The same could not be said about the other staff, who seemed out of place and were never sure of what they were doing or how to interact with customers.
The place formerly known as Sportsman?s no longer exists. The mid-sized supermarket franchise has ruined what used to be one of the best wine bars in the city with their lack of understanding in what Sportsman?s was and why it was so popular.
If you can't find the wine or spirits you're looking for here, you may never find them at all.. In Short What began in 1952 as a drive-through convenience store in a sleepy strip mall has blossomed into one of Arizona's top wine, spirits and specialty cheese emporiums. Sportsman's is an oenophile's dream, with easy-to-maneuver wine displays arranged according to country and variety and a frighteningly knowledgeable staff. Sportsman's also carries a variety of distilled spirits, including obscure rye and potato-based imported vodkas and outstanding cognacs and brandies in the four-figure range. Wine-related gadgets and accessories dot the store and a display of Riedel crystal glasses (the serious wine drinker's vessel) can also be found.
I've not been to the Camelback location, but the Glendale location is lousy. Granted the wine selection is amazing. But if you have an delusions about going there for a taste of wine or food, forget it. I haven't seen service that flagrantly bad EVER. We said "hi" to the bartender and he looked down and didn't reply- and it was obvious he heard us. We sat for 15 minutes, and watched four employees ignore us. We weren't dressed badly or inappropriately. We love wine and go out often for wine and food. Sportsman's is a Phoenix legend, but the Glendale branch is going to have a totally different reputation.
Life is too short to drink bad wine.
Life is also too short to eat fast food.
Sportsman's wine bar has nice wines by the glass or by the taste, and good noshey things to eat with them. It's a dirty job, but SOMEBODY has to get around to trying every wine in the world. Why not me?