The last drink pours Saturday...
Phoenix'll be a lot less cool for the next couple of months, and I ain't talkin' about the friggin' heat island. This Saturday, the venerable soul lounge Chez Nous pours its final cocktail after 40-plus years in the drink-slingin' biz. The Chez's been forced out by the imminent arrival of a Tesco supermarket, ushered in by the Gordon Gekkos over at Red Mountain Retail Group. That's the bad news. The good news is that Chez owner Amina Uben has been able to find another spot for the Chez, one that she's buying so she won't have to go through this crap again. The location? She's keeping that on the down-low for now, honoring the request of that bar's current owner. But she promises the city will only be Chez-less for a couple of months, with the new and improved Chez to open in the early fall.
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Festivities begin at noon tomorrow. Uben plans to use up the remainder of the Chez's liquor supply. Every drop must go. I'm definitely planning to make the scene and kiss the bar goodbye. When I was first being offered a job out here in Sand Land, Chez Nous was one of the places the bosses took me by, along with Durant's and other local drinkateria's, to show me Phoenix had class. Hey, it worked. Wonder what they'll show prospective hires now -- the vegetable aisle at Tesco?
Walking into the Chez is like falling through a rabbit hole and landing in some scene right out of Kojak . Even after all this time, Chez Nous retains its '70s feel, its Pam Grier double feature Quentin Tarantino-remake swankocity. The inky blackness. The soulful stylings of Roscoe Taylor on the mic. The faux rock waterfall. The velvet and gold wallpaper. Well, you don't know what you've got till it's gone...Pave paradise and put up a British supermarket (same as our supermarkets, BTW).
If you've never been, go. And if you've been, go for one last elbow-bend. Auld lang syne, and all that. And to say you were there to watch a little history pass. Sic transit...