Drinking at Playground in Tucson

Kade Mislinski, the owner of The Hub, opened a new bar in downtown Tucson so I paid it a visit this week.

Tucson, AZ

First off, I like this guy’s aesthetic.

As you can tell from The Hub’s website, he has a great eye for urban interiors. He uses a lot of rope, exposed brick and wood and finds entertaining ways to utilize familiar things like these upside down lamps.

Tucson, AZ

Playground shows the same architectural whimsey with a ceiling full of swings

Tucson, AZ

A great outdoor patio set up

Tucson, AZ

And even a rooftop deck that overlooks the city skyline, though it was closed the night we went.

My friend Eric and I knew they didn’t serve full meals but we figured we’d order a lot of bar snacks and get a tapas style meal with drinks. I started with the dirty martini made with pickle juice

Playground, Tucson AZ

It was really dirty and salty, which is great except the food was also super salty. I’d probably order a different drink were I to eat there again. They have a giant list of cocktails so there are plenty of options to choose from.

The food was only ok. We ordered a bunch of different things

Tucson, AZ

Chips and dip

Playground, Tucson AZ

Pretzel blocks with cheese dipping sauce

Playground, Tucson AZ

Cheese and crostini

Playground, Tucson AZ

Pickles with a deviled egg yolk dipping sauce

Playground, Tucson AZ

The fresh baked cookies

Playground, Tucson AZ

And also the sausage and grapes. I thought the quality was ok. The Hub serves much better food so I wish the food quality and preparation at Playground were better. But mostly, I really wish that Playground served upscale kid’s food.

The menu leans towards the Playground idea – a brown bag lunch, pretzel blocks etc. but they don’t totally go for it. How about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off? Or deep fried mac-n-cheese bites and fish sticks? Put jelly beans in the cocktails or serve them in juice boxes. In a bar like this where they call the Happy Hour “Recess,” there are so many ways to have fun with this menu and I don’t think they go the distance. However, I know most people won’t come to Playground for the food and the atmosphere alone is worth a visit.

Overall, I like what Kadence Restaurant Concepts is doing downtown. I hope they open continue their trend of a new restaurant/bar every year and I’m curious to see what’s coming next

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