It's said that the average lifespan of most new clubs or nightlife establishment is about three to five years. In the case of Scottsdale's Spanish Fly, however, it didn't even last that long.
The Old Town swimming pool spot, which originally opened in 2011, closed last month and is in the process of becoming a neighborhood bar and eatery known as Boondocks.
"The first year of Spanish Fly, everybody knew about it and it was a big success," he says.
That's to say the least, considering that The Fly (as it later became known) was, at one time, the go-to spot for pool parties in Scottsdale. It eventually lost a bit of its luster, however, due to competition from other pool spots and newer clubs over the last couple years. It still hosted swim shindigs every weekend through this past summer, but was suffering from the law of diminishing returns in terms of crowd size.
"The pool thing had a great vibe, but there's a lot of other pools and a lot of other things to do in [Old Town] Scottsdale now," Ray says. "And I think that Spanish Fly didn't really have the nighttime aspect locked down, which is what we're aiming to do with Boondocks."
The property -- which was originally opened by the Old Town Group (the restaurateurs behind Stingray Sushi, Geisha A-Go-Go, and El Santo) and later sold to nightlife impresarios and siblings Jacob and Luke Kory last year -- is in the process of an almost total renovation that will remove almost every trace of Spanish Fly.
It's faux rock waterfall and poolside cabanas are both history, as is the swimming pool itself, which Ray says has been filled with cement and will provide space for outdoor seating and possibly live entertainment or electronic games.
"Spanish Fly was designed very well, but the structure is ultimately changing with a new interior, exterior, and flow for the business," he says. "There are definitely a lot of changes, we're doing a lot of work on it. It isn't just a quick makeover. We [removed] the pool and made it more of an area for people to either sit down or to maybe play some of the game pieces there or to watch live music acts."
Both the Korys and Ray are expats of the Midwest and aim to give Boondocks the amiable feel of a neighborhood spot with a décor that features a lot of wood and exposed brick.
"It's going to be a friendly bar, very comfortable and approachable," Ray says. "Between all of us involved with it -- the investors and the partners in the business -- we all have a huge Midwest following. And a lot of those people like the comfort approach to the places they go."
And unlike most of Old Town Scottsdale's bars and clubs, Ray says, the emphasis won't be on popping bottles or having a busy dance floor. He says that Boondocks' owners anticipate opening sometime early next year, which will help the place take advantage of the throng of spring training fans who flock to Scottsdale each year.
"It's not a darker club. It's not a place that's based on bottle service. It's more about coming in to enjoy yourself, whether its a pitcher of sangria or a trough of beers," he says. "We want it to be more of a place where people can come during the day, at the beginning of their evening out, or to finish their night and grab a bite to eat, some drinks, or to play a few games."
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