The Library Bar & Grill in Tempe Closes Due to Landlord-Tenant Dispute

As anyone who's ever rented an apartment can tell you, battling with the landlord can really suck. Said conflicts typically generate huge amounts of drama, some major headaches, and usually end up with the renters out on their asses.

In the case of the proprietors of the Library Bar & Grill in Tempe, an ongoing spat with their property owners has resulted in the closure of the Mill Avenue establishment, possibly forever.

According to Rob Northrop, a representative from Hit the Bricks (the LLC that runs the Library Bar), the drinking den located on Fifth Street and Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe shut down during Memorial Day weekend because of a lease dispute with property owner Cushman & Wakefield.

And based on what Northrop told me, the situation sounds like the Library's proprietors are playing a pitch game of chicken with the property owners. He described how the Library's lease with its property owner expired sometime last year, and the folks behind Hit the Bricks have been attempting to secure a new agreement while renting on a month-to-month basis.

(Calls to Cushman & Wakefield for its side of the story have not been returned as of this writing.)

Discussions haven't been going very well, Northrop says, so Hit the Bricks decided to shut down the Library at the end of May.

"We've been negotiating with [our landlords], but they haven't been acting in good faith," he claims. "We've tried to work something out but nothing's come of it. We had to make a decision to play hardball, which made more sense with the way negotiations were going."

As a result, there's now one fewer spot in Tempe to get hammered at. And plenty of people have done just that at the Library since it opened in 2002. As its name implied, the nightspot was designed to be a bangin' biblioteca or sorts, where booze and books mixed together to provide a rather unique (at the time, at least) setting in which to tie one on.

Hundreds of tomes lined the walls, portions of the décor mimicked an old-timey reading salon, and waitresses dressed as sexy schoolgirls and danced on the bar hourly to a mix hip-hop and Top 40 tracks laid down by local DJs. Hard rock cover band Metalhead also had a regular Wednesday gig at the place until last year.

So does this mean the book is completely closed on the Library?

"At this point, it's up in the air," Northrop says. "We're just waiting for the dust to settle and want to see how the landlords want to proceed."

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