The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale Is Closing in May

Say your farewells to The Rogue Bar. It's closing on May 1.
Say your farewells to The Rogue Bar. It's closing on May 1. William Westfall
One of the Valley’s most beloved rock clubs is closing after almost two decades in business. South Scottsdale dive bar and live music haven The Rogue Bar, which has been hosting shows and dance nights since the early aughts, will shut its doors on May 1.

Owner Manny Tripodis announced the news on Thursday night on The Rogue Bar’s Facebook page, stating that his joint is closing due to the landlord's choice not to re-up his lease. By the sounds of it, gentrification may also have played a role in the decision.

“Plans have been in the works to beautify South Scottsdale and unfortunately we’re not in the mix because we’re ugly,” Tripodis wrote. “Maybe not ugly, but not super attractive. My landlord informed me in December that they would not be renewing our lease.”

The Rogue Bar is located in a small Scottsdale Road strip mall, which has undergone renovation over the last year or so (its neighboring business, for instance, used to be a convenience store and has since become a fitness company).

According to Tripodis, the strip mall was built in 1961. Since then, the space currently occupied by The Rogue has been a neighborhood bar, tiki bar, pool hall, biker bar, dive bar, gay bar, and punk joint. Back in 2001, local entrepreneur Mark Maertens transformed the place from a punk-friendly dive called Sneaky Pete's into The Rogue. In 2006, he sold the business to Tripodis, who has run it ever since.

The 80-person capacity venue has been a local music and nightlife institution for a majority of its lifespan (a fact we've recognized multiple times in our annual "Best of Phoenix" issue). Countless Valley acts and artists have performed there, as evidenced by the wealth of band stickers that cover its stage door. It's also hosted popular dance nights, ranging from William Reed’s now-defunct hipster affair Shake! to the monthly fetish free-for-all Cupcake! put on by DJs Self.Destrukt and Betty Blackheart. (Its bathrooms, which are covered floor to ceiling in amusing – and often ribald – graffiti, are also the stuff of local legend.)

click to enlarge DJ Betty Blackheart during a Cupcake! dance party at The Rogue Bar. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
DJ Betty Blackheart during a Cupcake! dance party at The Rogue Bar.
Benjamin Leatherman
“I’m proud of the things we’ve accomplished over the last 12 years,” Tripodis stated in his Facebook post. “We host about 20 touring acts every month. We’ve done birthday shows, record release shows, charity shows, fundraisers, memorials and other mixers or gatherings.”

He also says he’s been happy to provide a space for local musicians and DJs to perform.

“Many view it as a run-down property that aids and abets people to make poor decisions and drink to excess,” Tripodis stated. “I look at it as giving a stage to people who have something to say or want to showcase and hone their art and talent. That might sound like a bit much, but I think we are more than just a local watering hole.”

Dozens of gigs are scheduled to take place at the Rogue over the next three months, which Tripodis says will still happen.

“We have shows booked thru the spring so he will allow me to honor these dates. That gives us 100 days to go out with a proper send off. The first 100 days of a new administration will set the tone and define the presidency,” he stated. “The last 100 days of Rogue will not do that. I’m just hoping to get through without having to fix the AC or snake a toilet.”

The Rogue Bar’s final show will take place on April 30. Meanwhile, Tripodis says he will start looking for a new bar somewhere in the Valley to keep hosting shows. He won’t be taking The Rogue Bar’s name or identity with him, however.

“I’m currently scouting new locations around town. We most likely will not reopen as The Rogue Bar. The goal is to find a small multipurpose space that can accommodate 80-120 cap shows. The Rogue will be buried and stay buried in South Scottsdale,” Tripodis stated. “I’ve spent everyday for the last 12 years doing the same thing and it’s a little scary trying something new. I’ve met some really great people and some shitty ones. This place has afforded me the opportunity to do things and see things that I normally wouldn’t be able to do in an office job setting.”

The Rogue Bar. 423 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-947-3580; Open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Closes May 1.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.