Music News

Legendary Phoenix Music Venue Mr. Lucky’s Is Up for Sale Again

Mr. Lucky's iconic sign.
Mr. Lucky's iconic sign. Benjamin Leatherman

Mr. Lucky’s, the former Grand Avenue nightclub, venue, and country music joint is currently up for sale, according to the real estate website LoopNet.

The 20,865-square-foot property at Grand near 37th Avenue was listed on the site in late December. No asking price is noted, but the land is valued at $489,700.

Mr. Lucky's hasn’t operated as a nightclub or events venue since the late 2000s. It’s hosted a few different businesses over the last decade or so, including a furniture store and restaurant, but has largely remained vacant. Per Maricopa County records, California businessman Vahak Minassian has owned the property since 2005.

One of Mr. Lucky's most well-known aspects is its towering neon sign, which depicts a jester-like harlequin and is adorned with a large marquee that used to advertise the various performers that would gig at the club.

Designed by Glen Guyette, an artist who created signs for several other defunct local businesses like My Florist Cafe, it’s a unique throwback to another era in Phoenix history.  Both Mr. Lucky’s and that sign have seen better days. (LoopNet estimates that improvements to the property are in excess of $500,000.)

"I noticed recently someone has taken the large dice that were hanging off the sign, and its marquee and paint are a mess," says local historian Marshall Shore, who also runs the Arizona Vintage Sign Coalition. "So little by little, it's been cannibalized and gotten worse and worse. It's a real shame since the sign is a Valley treasure and the club has such a history and legacy.”

Mr. Lucky’s was opened by local restaurateur Bob Sikora in the mid-1960s. Originally designed as a casino (back when Arizona was flirting with the idea of legalizing gambling), it became a nightclub that hosted performances in its ground-level main room and enormous basement space.

Over the next four decades, Mr. Lucky's drew a country crowd. Waylon Jennings rose to fame at the venue, and superstars like Glen Campbell, Wanda Jackson, Charley Pride, and Marty Robbins gigged there on the regular. (Jackson's 1969 album In Person Live At Mr. Lucky's In Phoenix Arizona was recorded at the club and includes a photo of her in front of its sign.)

In 2015, the property transformed its main room into a furniture store and briefly became a restaurant called Mr. Lucky’s Grubhouse a couple of years later. Both businesses eventually went under, and the building has been vacant ever since. The property has also been up for sale several times in recent years, but no one has purchased it.

Shore says that while opening a business on the property might not be cost-effective, given the estimated expenses involved with repair and renovation, he thinks the sign could be salvaged and possibly moved to another Valley location.

“It’s just too big of a piece of local history to have it go to waste,” he says. “It would be amazing if someone could come up with the money to save it.”
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.