The 26th Street Blues Bar Becomes Chopper John's

The name may change, but the party remains the same.

There's been some changes lately at the east Phoenix watering hole 26th Street Blues Bar. Namely it's name, it's paint job, as well as the establishments ownership.

Earlier in the month, the neighborhood bar's old owner Lane Marcus sold the place to Francie Meadors and John McCormack, who gave the exterior a fresh paint job in flat black, and re-christened it Chopper John's (likely inspired by his affinity for motorcycles).

If you're at all familiar with the history of residence-like building that houses the bar, a name and ownership change isn't anything new.

Since becoming a bar in the '50s, the building (originally built as a residence) has gone through more more than a dozen name and ownership changes. In the last five years alone it was known as Warsaw Wally's, then Goldie's, then Bogie's, and eventually the 26th Street Blues Bar. (It's also been called the Red Diamond, Cholla Bay, Louie's, VJ's, and McGuires, just to name a few other identities).

McCormack promises that the joint will continue to hold it's weekly Sunday afternoon blues jam session, and will be booking local rock acts on Friday and Saturday nights.

But how long before the name changes again?

"We're hoping not anytime soon," McCormack jokes. -- Benjamin Leatherman

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.