Lists

Phoenix Nightlife Openings and Closings of 2017

The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix.
The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix. Benjamin Leatherman
For the Valley’s music and nightlife scenes, it’s been a year of dramatic openings and closings.

The past 12 months saw downtown Phoenix’s music and nightlife scenes get a boost, thanks to the opening of high-profile concert venue The Van Buren and hip watering hole Gracie’s Tax Bar.

Meanwhile, Scottsdale’s nightlife district took a couple of hits after a few notable spots (including Livewire and Cake Nightclub) closed down. It wasn’t all bad news, however, as a new nightclub, Ellure Lounge, debuted.

Elsewhere, two Phoenix strip clubs were shut down following deadly incidents and Dan Majerle’s namesake sports bar fouled out of Scottsdale.


Here’s a look back at the Valley’s music and nightlife opening and closings of 2017.

click to enlarge The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix. - ROBRT L. PELA
The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix.
Robrt L. Pela
OPENINGS

The Van Buren
Of course we're going to lead with The Van Buren. After all, the 1,900-person capacity concert hall made a big splash when it opened in August.

And it’s hosted a ton of great shows ever since.

Built inside the 20,000-square-foot former home of Phoenix Motor Company and co-owned by Charlie Levy of Stateside Presents and Live Nation, the venue has become a go-to spot for live music during the latter months of 2017.

Plus, it's just a cool place to be. The Van Buren’s massive stage features a proscenium arch rimmed in gold leafing and surrounded by an epic desert mural depicting a simultaneous sunset and moonrise by Gary Patch of Tucson-based company Patch & Clark Design, who helped create the venue’s look.

The mezzanine level’s catwalks are adorned with wrought-iron railings and provide the chance to scope out what’s going on in the lobby, as well as great views of the stage. And since opening, that’s included such acts as Thundercat, Chicano Batman, Sylvan Esso, Death Cab For Cutie, Indigo Girls, PVRIS, and Portugal. The Man.

Gracie's Tax Bar
After spending seven years as the lead singer for metal band Landmine Marathon, Grace Perry left the band in 2012 to pursue other endeavors. And one of them wound up being Gracie's Tax Bar, which opened in July.

Envisioned as a laid-back watering hole and hangout in downtown Phoenix with plenty of character, the bar features a chill vibe, cheap drinks, killer jukebox, and zero attitude. There's also kitschy decor (including mismatched furniture and taxidermied animals), board games, and the occasional live show, just in case you need another distraction.

click to enlarge A look inside Ellure Lounge in Scottsdale. - COURTESY OF ELLURE LOUNGE
A look inside Ellure Lounge in Scottsdale.
Courtesy of Ellure Lounge
Ellure Lounge in Scottsdale
Located in the Stetson Drive property that once housed the ultra-upscale Six Lounge, Ellure follows in the footsteps of its predecessor by offering a posh atmosphere. The debonair lounge, which debuted in January, includes leather and suede seating, mahogany floors, candlelit tables, and walls adorned with crushed velvet.

There’s also a floor-to-ceiling waterfall, a color-changing LED wall behind the bar, a seasonal drink menu, and a private entrance in the back for VIPs.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.