Zabdi Hess said it wasn’t hard coming up with the inspiration for a new kind of tap room. She and her husband Kyle have a three-year-old child.
“We wanted something different,” Zabdi said. “There’s lots of tap rooms in the area, but we wanted to stand out, and offer different pairings with candy and beer.”
So that’s how she came up with the idea to open The Sugar Bar at Warner and McQueen roads in Chandler. It’s Arizona’s first bar and candy store.
It’s a family-friendly place where a couple can bring their children. While they are sampling craft beers, the kids can eat candy or select one of the board games to play.
“Outside of downtown Chandler and downtown Gilbert, between them there’s not much in terms of craft beer availability,” Kyle said. “We did our demographic research too, and around here there’s a ton of that 30-to-45 year range, … one or two kids, so that family demographic that we’re looking for.”
The Sugar Bar opened in early December and Kyle said they’ve been very happy with the turnout.
“It’s been awesome man,” Kyle said. “We’ve been busy pretty much every day. Mondays and Tuesdays are a little slower, per the usual, but every weekend is busy.”
Before opening their combination bar and candy shop, Kyle worked in digital marketing and Zabdi was a teacher. They admit changing fields during a pandemic and with a young child was a challenge.
“It was definitely a risk, for sure,” Kyle said. “But we felt confident enough in a lot of the research we had done, and the overall market for it.”
They began forming the company at the start of 2021, when hopes were high that the vaccine would soon allow people to socialize again. By summer they had selected the location and began getting their shop ready to open.
And just a few weeks after the Dec. 2 opening, COVID cases are hitting record highs as the Omicron variant spread.
“Everything was looking like it would be OK,” Kyle said. “Obviously, that’s taken a weird turn.”
Patrons can bring their own food to The Sugar Bar. That’s because the food options inside are limited, mostly to the candy, some popcorn and maybe nachos on the weekends.
Finding beers that pair with candies is part of the fun.
“There are a lot of new beers that pair really well with candies,” Kyle said. “Obviously our dark beers pair really well with chocolate, we have a lot of sour beers that pair well with our gummies and sour candies.”
Above all, however, was Kyle and Zabdi wanted a place for families.
“We wanted it to be a place where people could take their kids too,” Kyle said. “We have a three-year-old, and he goes with us everywhere. It’s nice to find a place that’s kid friendly.”