By Benjamin Leatherman
Last one out, turn off the light-up dance floor.
For Phoenix’s nightlife scene, the bad news just keeps on coming.
First, there was the announcement that downtown Phoenix indie rock haven OnePlace was closing up shop at the end of July because of financial woes. Then, as music editor Niki D’Andrea reported yesterday, the city of Phoenix shut down Sky Lounge and Silver Martini & Wine (as well as the second floor of Homme Lounge) due to various building code issues.
And now, here’s the hat-trick: popular danceteria and nightspot Glam is closing after this weekend.
It came as a surprise to us, since the tiny club at 32nd Street and Indian School Road is seemingly swamped with hepcat scenester types eager to bump their humps to indie and electro tracks on its signature illuminated dance floor during nights like Faux Show on Fridays and Word Up! on Saturdays.
But according to Glam’s manager Al Stocker, the shutdown isn’t going down due to a lack of business, but rather because their lease isn’t being renewed by Evanco/Rogers Realty Advisors, the local property management company that runs the strip mall housing Glam.
“We just lost our lease; it’s as simple as that,” Stocker says. “They have a different vision for the strip mall and [are] doing something else with this place.”
Stocker explains they’d been trying to re-sign with Evanco/Rogers and were hoping to expand into a vacant space next door for more room for their patrons to bust a move, but he claims the property owner wasn’t up for that. (Jim Rogers, a partner with Evanco/Rogers, declined an interview request).
“We thought we could renew, but that’s not happening,” Stocker says. “The owners are talking about a building a restaurant, but they made it clear its not going to be a bar anymore.”
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Glam owner Mark Maertens believes the property management company declined to renew because of potential legal, liability, or insurance concerns associated with having a bar on the property.
“They’re probably worried that the presence of a bar might be detrimental to any future re-financing or because of liability issues and risks of bars in general,” Maertens says. “I figured that it would even happen eventually when I bought the lease years ago. You can’t change the mentality of landlords sometimes.”
Maertens took over the spot back in 2004 when it was the grimy hole-in-the-wall Ky’s Place. It’d been a neighborhood bar since opening in the 1960s, but after Maertens started running things, the cramped dive became the preferred haunt for mohawked misfits, roller girls, and other tatted-out types eager to revel in the sleaze-punk vibe and get ripped on cheap beer.
Ky’s was similar in seedy spirit to how Maertens’ old joint, the Rogue Bar in Scottsdale (which he owned from 2001 until last year), used to be before dropping its punk shtick and catering more to the hipster William Fucking Reed crowd. Much like the Rogue, Maertens transformed Ky’s into the indie-chic Glam in the fall of 2006, to the delight of scenesters and the chagrin of a local punks.
Although Maertens says he’s giving up the bar trade for the foreseeable future and plans on doing some traveling, Stocker is hoping to find a new spot for Glam elsewhere in the Valley. The 42-year-old, who also helped Maertens run the Rogue, says he’s on the lookout in Phoenix and maybe Tempe.
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“We need a bigger space for what we’re doing anyway. We got all these people we can hardly fit inside there, so I’m looking around,” Stocker says.
Jared Alan, the DJ and promoter behind Faux Show, says he’s also busy scoping out a new home for his night, but admits that it’s been “slim pickings” thus far.
“It’s unfortunate simply because there’s so few choices in this market for places to move our crowd. It’s all Top 40 or dive or gay bars these days,” Alan says. “But I’m pretty optimistic because I’ve been building a crowd for the last two years and wherever I move it’ll be somewhere where I can transplant the crowd and hopefully grow from there.”
Glam gonna be going out in style this weekend, as Alan’s holding his last Faux Show for the time being on Friday, followed by “The Finale” on Saturday, which will feature such regulars as Kevin the Makeout Bandit, Bigie, Epidemic, and BC/AD doing their DJ thing. Stocker says there will also be one last blowout next Monday, June 30, before they start tearing out the dance floor and turning over their keys.