Music News

Valley Bar to Close During Trump Rally in Downtown Phoenix

Valley Bar will close up shop when Trump visits Phoenix.
Valley Bar will close up shop when Trump visits Phoenix. Courtesy of Valley Bar
Downtown Phoenix's Valley Bar will close on Tuesday, August 22, when President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at Phoenix Convention Center.

The basement music venue and bar announced the one-day closure in a Facebook post on Thursday, August 17. "We apologize for the inconvenience," the post reads, in part.

Valley Bar is owned by longtime Phoenix concert promoter Charlie Levy of Stateside Presents. Levy is working with Live Nation to open a new downtown music venue called The Van Buren on Wednesday, August 23. He also owns Crescent Ballroom.

According to the Valley Bar announcement, Seinfeld Trivia Night, which was slated to happen on August 22, has been rescheduled for September 5. No closures or programming changes have been announced for Levy's other venues.

Valley Bar is about a six-minute walk from Phoenix Convention Center, where Trump supporters and protesters are expected to gather en masse on August 22.

The objective of Trump's rally isn't exactly clear. Some suspect he's coming to announce a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a convicted criminal whose racial profiling and inhumane tactics made him infamous. Arpaio has yet to be sentenced for his criminal contempt of court.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton weighed in on Trump's upcoming visit in a Wednesday, August 16, statement. "If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation," the statement reads. "It is my hope that more sound judgment prevails and that he delays his visit."

The ACLU also has condemned the potential pardon. "Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism," said Cecillia Wang, the ACLU's deputy legal director, in a statement.

Valley Bar's closure statement references no politicians or controversies directly. Which isn't to say it's immune from politics. The nightclub serves several cocktails named for local politicians including Ruben Gallego, Janet Napolitano, and Barry Goldwater. Its bar, the Rose Room, is named for the late Rose Mofford, Arizona's first female governor.

However, the brief announcement concludes with a quote from Albert Einstein: "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding."

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski