The live music scene in Scottsdale's entertainment district has gotten a little, well, livelier, thanks to the recent arrival of new nightspot Wasted Grain.
The combination bar, dance club, and music venue opened this past weekend in the sprawling property at Stetson Drive and Drinkwater Boulevard that formerly housed Martini Ranch. And like its predecessor, which closed last fall, Wasted Grain will offer a mix of DJs and live bands, as well as the usual Scottsdale drinking, dancing, and partying thrills.
However, there are little, if any, traces of Martini Ranch, as the joint has received a complete makeover, and a stylish one at that.
Alecia Sanchez, a spokeswoman for Square One Concepts, the Scottsdale-based company that owns Wasted Grain, the property underwent an eight-month renovation that included rearranging the layout of its main room, building brand new bars and 25-foot-long stage, revamping the look, extending the size of the dance floor, and installing a top-of-the-line sound system and lighting elements.
The second-floor dance club and lounge -- formerly known as the Shaker Room but now tentatively referred to as 100 Proof -- has also been updated with more upscale digs, a new DJ booth facing the center of the room, bigger and better VIP nooks, and more tables and seating.
In other words, Wasted Grain isn't just wasted space anymore.
"It's more modern-looking, it's cleaner, it's nicer," Sanchez says. "There's a kitchen now, bigger bars, more space, [and] more life to it."
To say the least. Martini Ranch was a 19-year-old joint at the time of its closing last year, and certainly was showing its age, with lots of wear and tear to its furnishings, a cluttered patio, and a Shaker Room that tended to get sweaty and gross.
That's all a distant memory, as the décor throughout Wasted Grain is all reclaimed wood and stylish furnishings, with a Prohibition-style speakeasy flair (complete with vintage-looking wall art). And when temperatures get more reasonable, its staff will open the large garage doors installed on either side of the main room, including behind the stage, the make things feel larger and to let the sounds of live music amble outside.
"When the weather cools down more, the doors will be open every night to give it an indoor/outdoor feel," Sanchez says.
Another big change at Wasted that there's increased security, which is a marked difference from its previous identity as Martini Ranch.
A pair of stabbings occurred at the club in the months preceding its closure last year, one of which resulted in the death of doorman and former ASU football player Tyrice Thompson. The incidents led to Scottsdale's City Council enacting new ordinances that mandated increased security at bars and nightclubs based on occupancy levels.
Sanchez says that Wasted Grain is not only in full compliance with said ordinances and that any security issues with the property are firmly in the past.
"The place is huge, and so we have to staff our security accordingly with our occupancy," Sanchez says. " So with the venue being so large, we have to have a lot of security."
The only remnant of Martini Ranch, if any, that's present at Wasted Grain is its yen for live music. Over its 19-year lifespan, Martini Ranch featured a vast selection of nationally know musicians and bands -- ranging from pop stars like Bruno Mars and rockers like She Wants Revenge to such indie bands as Shiny Toy Guns, Metric, and Ida Maria.
The staff at Wasted Grain hope to eventually continue that legacy. While there's certainly live music to be had in Scottsdale (via such spots as Rockbar, Electric Ballroom, and Old Town Tavern) the DJs and dance floor tends to take much of the focus in the city's entertainment district.
Sanchez says that live music will "absolutely" be a large part of the nightlife mix at Wasted Grain on Wednesdays, Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays. They also plan to get dialed in with local promoters and begin "booking and bringing in all types of acts" in the near future.
Eventually, its stage will host touring acts and locals in addition to resident cover bands like SmashT on Saturdays and popular heavy metal tribute show Metalhead every Sunday night. And in 100 Proof, the soundtrack will be house music, Top 40, and EDM tracks provided by local and guests DJs from Thursdays through Sundays.
First, however, they have to put the final touches on the place, including adding permanent outdoor signage and a few other things.
"We just really wanted to get everything open this past weekend and we still need to get a sign and some other stuff taken care of," Sanchez says. "There are a few things left to do, but we're almost there."
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