Local Wire

ThirdSpace Has a New Owner — And a New Live Music Lineup

Benjamin Leatherman
ThirdSpace on Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix.
Plenty of changes are afoot at ThirdSpace in downtown Phoenix.

The Grand Avenue spot – which has functioned as an eatery, drinkery, live music venue, and culture hub over the past four years – has new blood behind the scenes, a new menu, and a new lease on life.

And according to ThirdSpace’s new owner, that includes a change to how much live music will be featured at the spot.

Late last month, general manager Richard Andrew bought ThirdSpace from longtime business owners Neil Hounchell and his wife, Patricia Madsen, for an undisclosed sum. The sale was official as of August 29.

Andrew, who’s worked at ThirdSpace since its opening in 2014 and previously owned a small percentage of the place, purchased ThirdSpace after Hounchell and Madsen wanted to part ways with the business.

“We never intended on doing this as a full-time gig,” Hounchell says. “We've been planning on passing it on to Richard for [a while] now. It's his dream, not ours. So we said, ‘What the hell?'"

Andrew, a downtown native who’s been involved with the restaurant and bar biz for years, told Phoenix New Times that he’s always hoped to own a spot in the area.

"I've sort of been working toward that goal for four years now. So it's finally happening,” Andrew says. “I'm from downtown Phoenix, born and raised. I grew up in [the Garfield neighborhood], so I love it here and this is where I want to do something. I want something to happen and be a part of it.”

And he hasn’t wasted any time with making ThirdSpace his own.

To wit: Andrew is partnering with executive chef Ramon Rice of D'Vine Bistro in Chandler to redo the kitchen and revamp the menu with an eye toward featuring New American-style cuisine.

And, as we mentioned, he’s also revamping the live music situation at ThirdSpace.

Bands and DJs have been a big part of ThirdSpace since its opening in 2014. Hounchell, a former punk rocker, frequently booked local and touring bands for weekend shows, particularly rock, punk, and indie acts.

click to enlarge No Volcano performing at ThirdSpace last year. - MICHELLE SASONOV
No Volcano performing at ThirdSpace last year.
Michelle Sasonov
Multiple DJ events have also taken place at ThirdSpace, including weekly gigs like New Grand Fridays and the semi-regular Sunday afternoon Grand Affair sessions by the dance music selectors of Stellar Well.

Andrew says that ThirdSpace will continue to feature both live music and DJs, albeit dialed back a bit.

“We're absolutely still going to still have music as a part of ThirdSpace, it's just not going to look the same as it did before,” he says. “We’re going to change how the structure is.”

That means more acoustic shows and less-frequent band nights, Andrew explains.

“We were doing [bigger] band nights every Saturday or so,” he says. “There was a lot of heavier bands and punk rock, which I enjoy, but we're going to make it less intrusive to somebody who wants to come in and relax and enjoy the patio with their friends. So we'll probably be doing less bigger bands and more sort of acoustic sets.”

Andrew says that they’ll still have “sort of special occasions” once or twice a month that will feature bands. DJ nights will still happen, including Stellar Well’s Grand Affair parties. (The next one, in fact, will take place on Sunday, October 1.)

“We're going to be a neighborhood eatery, a patio pub, focusing on the community and the people more,” Andrew says. “And we're going to have some form of music and DJs on the weekend; it's just going to be something for everyone to enjoy rather than marketing to a select group of people.”