Free pancakes and full bar: Welcome to the new IHOP restaurant in Phoenix

Are you ready for happy hour at IHOP?

The popular all-day breakfast chain just debuted its first beer, wine and cocktail menu — and it’s only available at one soon-to-open Phoenix location.

The new IHOP at the Camelback Colonnade shopping center is the company’s first standalone restaurant in the U.S. with a full bar. Currently, the chain only serves alcohol at select airport locations.

To promote its boozy new drink menu, the Camelback Colonnade IHOP will be giving away free pancakes during its grand-opening celebration on Friday, Oct. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plus, $5 sangrias will be offered through Friday, Oct. 19.

Breakfast-inspired bar menu

IHOP’s Rise & Shine bar menu includes four domestic beers on tap, three California wines and about a dozen brunch-inspired cocktails.

The bar also is pouring one local craft beer: O.H.S.O. Brewery’s coffee-infused Morning Brew blonde ale.

Many of the new signature cocktails were inspired by IHOP’s most popular breakfast items, said Chris Sumners, president and chief operating officer of Romulus Restaurant Group. The Phoenix-based group is the largest franchisee of IHOPs in the country.

“The drinks were designed by the IHOP culinary team and professional mixologists to tie into our food offerings and to complement what we already do well,” Sumners said.

Cocktails include:

Nothing on the bar menu costs more than $8, and the bar menu will be served from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

More than pancakes

Earlier this year, IHOP generated social media buzz when it temporarily changed its name to IHOb, replacing the “p” for pancakes with a “b” for burgers to promote its new burger menu. 

Is the breakfast chain now preparing to go head-to-head with neighborhood pubs and bars?

There are no plans to expand the bar concept to other IHOP locations. 

“This is a test,” Sumners said. “Our customers will tell us whether the bar program will eventually come to other locations.”

His team got the idea for the bar concept after deciding to open an IHOP inside the former Lone Star Steakhouse space at Camelback Road and 18th Street. The 5,400-square-foot building was already equipped with a full bar, which inspired them to pitch the bar concept to IHOP corporate headquarters.

“The Camelback Colonnade is in a very busy retail area. It’s a dynamite location,” Sumners said. “If this doesn’t work well here, it probably won’t do well at other locations.”

Is IHOP afraid of turning off diners who think of the restaurant chain as a family-friendly destination?

“We don’t think that’s an issue,” Sumners said. “Consumers go into a Chili’s and Applebee’s and are used to seeing bars. This is strictly to complement what we already do well.”

“I’ve had more people ask me: ‘What took you guys so long?’ “

Reach Escárcega at patricia.escarcega@azcentral.com or 602-444-8690. Interact with her on Twitter.

IHOP grand opening

When: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12.

Where: IHOP Camelback Colonnade, 1743 E. Camelback Road, Suite A1, Phoenix.

Details: 602-279-8990, ihop.com.

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