That's why a band like Future Loves Past is a perfect poster child for the place.

"We want to help bands out with food, drinks, jobs, and just a place to hang out. That's the only thing I took from (the old Long Wong's)," Maverik says.

Palmer, the FLP bassist who actually does work in the kitchen at Long Wong's, concurs.

"It's not part of a 'scene' that you would see at other places. You can come here and not be judged," he says, while sipping a whiskey sour on the bar's patio. "It's not pretentious; people of all types come here."

"I always know I'll see a familiar face when I go to Wong's. If you go into that place with open arms, you'll make friends and have a great time," DeDe says. "We're proud to be a part of what's going on there."

Aside from striving to be a place where artists can grow and find a home, Maverik is forgoingsome parts of the old Long Wong's business model. He's trying to pull a few pages out of the playbook used by Tempe's Yucca Tap Room, which has music every night and never charges a cover.

"It seems counterintuitive to charge a cover when you're a new band," Hibner says.

Palmer agrees: "It's like begging your friends for money."

So far, so good. The synergy between the band and the venue was on display late last month, when the band played a late-night weekend show. They took the stage in front of a youngish crowd at nearly 1 a.m. and played until after last call.

Maverik's hype isn't an oversell: The audience was rapt. People crowded the area in front of the stage to watch and dance, and one of the bartenders sang along to the songs.

The night unfolded like a scene from the Tempe scene's past: Maverik bought the band several rounds and the band took shots between songs. There's a palpable connection between the bar, the band, and the crowd.

Nights like these breed loyalty, camaraderie, a scene. Just ask the band.

"The regulars know us, the people in other bands know us, and even if we were offered twice as much money to play somewhere else, we'd still play at Long Wong's," Palmer says.

That's a start, anyway.

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