Restaurant of the Week: Don Woods’ Say When

Why do cocktails taste better when sipped from a cool rooftop? At Phoenix’s Don Woods’ Say When, which is perched atop Rise Uptown, revelers can sip classic and creative cocktails and enjoy elevated bar bites, all while taking in 270-degree panoramas.

Ross Simon is no stranger to cocktail lovers in the Valley. He is the mastermind behind Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour and Little Rituals, so it is no surprise that his newest baby, Don Woods’ Say When, is another sippin’ standout in the Valley.

The Say When interior is rich and handsome, with dark woods, jewel tones and tufted leather. While the interior dining area offers a moody atmosphere, the exterior lounge is fun and whimsical, decked with mismatched seating, colorful cushions and twinkle lights. And, of course, those gorgeous views that might rival the picture-perfect cocktails come sunset.

There are nearly 20 cocktail options on the Say When menu; some tried-and-true classics, others inventive and impressive. (Wine and beer are also available.) A perfect season-friendly sip is the Asti spritz, a pretty-in-pink offering with Ramazzotti Rosato, Cocchi Rosa, martini bitter, salt drops, watermelon juice and, for a little sparkle, prosecco. The glass is topped with a watermelon wedge, proving it’s made for a summer evening. The Grand Nacional, with blackcurrant-infused mezcal, Becherovka, passionfruit puree and ginger beer, marries sweet with savory in a jaw-dropping presentation. Scotch lovers will adore the Ghost of Mamie Taylor, with Harleston Green Scotch, St. George spiced pear, yuzu citrus blend, Laphroaig and ginger ale. It is smoky and sweet with a familiar orange twist.

While cocktails are certainly the star of the show, Say When dishes up a few small plates to enjoy between rounds. The house-made potato chips, served with a créme fraîche dip with roasted garlic, fresh dill and chives, are utterly addicting but won’t spoil your dinner if you’re enjoying a pre-meal outing. For something a bit heartier, the cheese platter features a rotating selection of cheese, mustard, crusty bread, fresh grapes, chili almonds and a divine tomato marmalade.

Don Woods’ Say When is open Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight. For more information, visit

Photo credit: Studio Alcott

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