Last Exit Bar & Grill Closes For Good

That's right, we most definitely said "former," because the live music venue closed its doors for good as of yesterday morning after six years in operation. More precisely, the joint's landlord was the one who closed the doors, but not before changing the locks due to non-payment of rent.

"Bills were pilling up, the rent was back due, and the landlord locked us out," Maverik says.

Financial issues have been something of a major issue for the proprietors of the Last Exit over the past year. It's original owners Devin Schulte and Brannon Kleinlein, who opened the bar in 2003, originally announced they were closing the place at the end of April before selling Last Exit to Maverik and fellow buyers Brad White and Rick Southern at the last minute.

Maverik states that he and his partners attempted to run things as best they could, but says they "weren't properly monetized from the start." Other problems included a number of band cancellations, like when David Allan Coe was scheduled to perform at Last Exit in September only to nix the show at the last minute.

This is the second Southern Avenue live music venue to close in as many months as rock bar The Sets unexpectedly shut down at the beginning of September. Only the ucca Tap Room (which is currently undergoing an expansion by owner Rodney Hu) and the wacktastic Monkey Pants remain as locales near Southern and Mill avenues where Valley bands can perform.

"There's a million reasons why things didn't work out," Maverik says. "I put six months of hard work into that place and all I got was a neon sign. This isn't what I wanted for me, it isn't what I wanted for that place, it isn't what I wanted for Tempe."

As for his own future, Maverik says he'll probably return to running soundboards at local clubs, as well as getting involved with Ladylike, the newest band of former Loveblisters member Ryan Casey. (Maverick formerly managed the 'Blisters).

"I'm trying to take a cavalier attitude about this whole so I don't get really depressed," Maverik says. "If I don't try to laugh it off somehow it'll eat me alive."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.