In fact, this lack of space has been the Yucca only major shortcoming as far as I'm concerned. But as of right now, said situation has been remedied. Last week, owner Rodney Hu quietly unveiled the bar's much-vaunted adjacent lounge -- essentially doubling the establishment's size - after four months of construction and preperation.
Although you'll still have to bend a few elbows in the main room during packed nights or jockey for position to get a good view of the stage, there's now a place to escape to in case local bands like Grave Danger get too loud, or if you feel a little claustrophobic.
Hu's informally described the new room as a "craft beer and whiskey lounge," which means there's plenty of adult beverage available in the form of more than a hundred different microbrews (both on tap and by the bottle). The wall behind the bar is also stocked with dozens of whiskeys and other liquors, including a variety of micro-distillery brands.
In a sense, the new lounge area sorta looks like what would happen if the Yucca Tap and the Lost Leaf had a kid, with plenty of rustic wooden décor touches of the former mixed in with the BoHo drinkery flair of the latter.
But tying a few on while your ears take a break from the clamor of The Necronauts or Strange Young Things isn't the room's only attraction. Hu's installed three pool tables (so now you won't have to hoof it to the neighboring Q 'n' Brew to shoot some stick), as well as a pair of arcade games, including a rather fitting old school Tapper stand-up. There are also a few roomy booths available, where I imagine bands will be kicking back after finishing their gigs onstage.
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In my honest opinion, the lounge makes one of the best bars in the Valley even better. And its opening comes at a perfect time, especially since the Yucca's getting some new competition in the near future.
When I visited the place recently, I spoke with Rodney about all the new music venues that are scheduled to open around Tempe and Mesa in the next few weeks. In addition to both Long Wong's at the Firehouse and 910 Live, there's also the Underground (a.k.a. the old Nile Basement) in Mesa.
Hu still has a few things left to finish with his new lounge, including working with the Blunt Club's Dumperfoo on getting artwork from local creative types to hang on the lounge's pale green walls. It should be in place in the time for the "official" grand opening on Monday, March 1, which will feature locals DJs and live art from Griffin and Dumper.
But if you can't wait until then, Hu's hosting a soft opening/industry party for a few of his fellow bar owners and local music scene types later tonight, where attendees can enjoy a free drink or draft on the house. And if you're in the mood for some hip-hop, the DJs and rappers from the Blunt Club (which moved to the Yucca Tap last month) will be doing their thing on Wednesday night this week, instead of their regular Thursday night throwdown.