Something that I really enjoy doing when I visit other cities is finding cute coffee shops and restaurants. Over the years as I’ve explored different cities I’ve come to the realization that I probably don’t explore my own city as much as I should. I’ve made it a goal to continue to seek out new places here in Phoenix and downtown has been my favorite area of the valley as of late. It’s come a long way in the last few years, and I think with the city gearing up to host the super bowl that the vibe downtown is really picking up.
I’ve been to The Duce numerous times for swing dancing, but I’ve never gone there for food before. I also drive by it on my way to church every Sunday, although it doesn’t look like much on the outside so it’s fairly easy to miss if you don’t realize it’s there. If I hadn’t been there before for swing dancing I probably never would have put it on my list of places I wanted to eat at.
I did at some point find out that it’s been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives so after that I knew the food would be good, plus I knew the place had a unique vibe. My friend Kristi and I ended up going there for dinner before heading to a D-backs game and it’s perfect walking distance to Chase Field (meters are free on weeknights!).
The Duce – 525 S Central Ave – Phoenix, AZ 85004 – theducephx.com
It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but once you get inside it’s pretty spectacular! This picture was taken while sitting at the bar and was before the swing dancing started for the night. More on that in a minute!
And speaking of the bar…if you want a fruity concoction of some sort in a mason jar, this is your place!
I ended up ordering the chicken pot pie because I read online that it was highly recommended on the TV show, plus I love pot pies. It doesn’t look like much in this picture, and it’s hard to tell, but it’s made in what is basically a half height mason jar. The crust was amazing! Probably all butter. We ended up getting a free berry pie on the house too, and it was delicious. My friend got the sliders and they were huge, plus they were a “social hour” special so they were pretty cheap. I’m excited to try more food here in the future.
As we were leaving to head to the ballgame the swing dance lesson for the evening was just starting. I’ve been to The Duce for swing dancing multiple times and it’s definitely got the best crowd in town. Older than the Kat’s Korner highschool crew, and younger than the Fatcat’s old folks crew so they tend to hit that perfect middle spot. A lot of people who prefer Lindy Hop come here and I’m just not as experienced with that, but for a lot of people that’s a plus. The only big downside is that there is no air conditioning (!! Yes! In Phoenix!). However, it’s still my favorite swing dance place in the valley. They have lessons from 7:30-8:30 every Tuesday followed by open dancing. I highly, highly recommend it.
I didn’t take any pictures of the other half of the place, but there’s a bunch more on the other side of the building, including games, a boxing ring, and another large area they used for dancing on New Year’s. They also seem to have things going on most days of the week.
And that’s The Duce! I’ve always recommended it to people when they ask me for swing dancing places, but now I’m going to start recommending it as a place to eat as well.