Uncertainty is sometimes the only certainty in life.
That's ultimately the best way to describe the current situation at Last Exit Bar & Grill, as the Tempe live music venue may or may not be closing come tomorrow night. It's a surprising about-face from what I reported two weeks ago when co-owner Brannon Kleinlein told me Last Exit would remain open past the end of the month.
"It's going to stay open and things are going to continue at Last Exit," Kleinlein stated a couple weeks back. "That's what's in store for the place, but it's all I can say right now."
And that's all he was saying, as the cat declined to confirm at the time if he and co-owner Devin Schulte had put up the bar up for sale after their current lease expired at the beginning of April, or whether or not they would continue running things in the future.
Word leaked last night, however, that tomorrow's sixth anniversary show would be the last hurrah at Last Exit, as they would be closing the doors for good. There's also a rumor that a friend and co-worker at the bar might possibly re-open it in completely different location somewhere down the line -- either keeping the name Last Exit or coming up with a brand-new concept. According to Up on the Sun contributor Kelly Wilson, the pair are also considering renting a beach house in San Diego and spend their summer kicking back by the Pacific Ocean.
So what in the blue hell is going on? Good question.
I sought out the owners to get the explanation behind their 180, but (as before) they're keeping quiet on what's going on behind the scenes. Kleinlein hasn't returned repeated calls on the matter, and when I spoke with Devin last night at the bar, the 33-year-old offered only tidbits of information.
Schulte described things as still being "up in the air" in regards to Last Exit's fate, indicating that the situation is constantly changing and that there's a "50-50 chance" the place would be open past this weekend. He declined to explain further, but mentioned they'd have some answers at tomorrow's show.
"Everything will be revealed on Saturday," Schulte says.
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Nothing personal guys (since we here at New Times really dig your place), but teasing such a thing is particularly weak. Last Exit is one of the few remaining live music venues in Tempe, and has a considerable fanbase who would be sad to see the place go. So for their sake (as well as ours), why not just ditch all the cryptic behavior and come clean with what's up?
Regardless, if tomorrow night is, indeed, Last Exit's last night alive, it's certainly going out with a bang. The line-up includes some of the Valley's hottest acts (such as Vayden and Miniature Tigers), as well as such favorites and regulars as Violet Wild, The BlackMoods, Tramps & Thieves, Strange Young Things, and Shelby James.
The show starts at 7 p.m. with a and cover is $10.
NOTE: Up on the Sun contributor Kelly Wilson also provided reporting for this post.