By Heather Copfer
When Tucker Woodbury considered opening a cocktail lounge, he felt there was one thing to do: recall the past.
Phoenix’s The Womack is a nod to the infamous ’60s lounge Chez Nous, which was razed in 2007. Its owners were Andy and Maureen Womack, after whom the new club is fondly named.
“Chez Nous was so dearly missed,” says Woodbury of Genuine Concepts. “We just set out to build and recreate Chez Nous and sweated lots and lots of details.”
Inside the dimly lit venue you will find tufted booths, a boomerang style bar and wallpaper that all similarly replicates Chez Nous. There’s a dance floor on the far side paired with a small stage for entertainment. The music spans from jazz to DJs and country, which attracts an eclectic crowd.
“Depending on the night you really can’t classify a particular type of audience,” Woodbury says. “It’s every walk of life. It’s black. It’s white. It’s Hispanic. It’s gay. It’s young.”
The Roscoe Taylor Band was Chez Nous’ house band for 15 years and embodies R&B, soul and funk. Woodbury says the Roscoe crowd is “funky, great people.”
“As they say, all people want to do is dance and it’s true. . . ultimately it just turns into a big dance party,” Woodbury says.
The lounge features small bites and a craft cocktail bar menu. To go with the ’60s theme, there are throwback cocktails: gin rickey, sidecar and the Harvey Wallbanger.
To complement craft cocktails are snacks like popcorn and nuts or deviled eggs. A sweet tooth can be cured with Mary Coyle’s ice cream.
Every restaurant under the Genuine Concepts restaurant umbrella gives back monthly to local charities like The Arizona Fallen Firefighters Memorial, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona and Arizona Trails Foundation.
“We’ve always been a community,” Woodbury says. “It’s always been a big part since we opened our first store in Arcadia 13 years ago. It’s important to give back and support your community because we’re a part of it.”
Genuine Concepts purposely partners with smaller charities to make a direct and definite impact on the community. Each month, the company’s venues pair with a brewery and $1 to $2 from each beer purchased is donated to the community partner. The brewery matches that.
“People love to participate,” Woodbury says, “You’re not asking them for anything other than to do what they’ve been doing otherwise.”
Those fundraisers and The Womack’s vibe are what makes it unique.
“It’s always fun to stumble into one of those little neighborhood gems, little neighborhood dives or cool little experiences that you sometimes overlook,” he says. “They’re always so great and magical.”
The Womack, 5749 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix, 602.283.5232, thewomack.us.