There certainly were a lot of sad folks when Aaron May's Scottsdale bar and restaurant, The Lodge, shut its doors about eight months ago. Though there are two other locations of the cabin-themed eatery, in Tucson and Colorado, the closure of the Old Town location left Valley Lodge lovers with no home to call their own.
The good news is that next month that will change. May and partners Dylan Vicha and Chicago Bears linebacker Jared Allen will open a new location of The Lodge in Tempe this August. The new restaurant and bar is located at 26 South Farmer Avenue, kitty-corner to Sam Fox's The Yard — which also houses a sixth location of May's breakfast restaurant, OverEasy.
"It was very much a conscious decision to not put a Lodge in Scottsdale," May says about the decision to move the bar to Tempe. "We're coming to Tempe, big."
Of course, Tempeans already may be familiar with the northwest corner of Farmer Avenue and First Street. For many years, it was the home of Sail Inn, a well-loved music venue that closed about a year ago. But even if you knew the sticky floors of the Sail Inn like the back of your hand, you're unlikely to recognize the building now. May and his partners have sunk millions of dollars into an extensive renovation of the space.
At 4,000 square feet indoors, the new Lodge will be able to accommodate up to 500 people. Outdoor space accounts for another 3,000 square feet, and nearly every inch of the inside and outside of the building is covered in wood. You'll find antlers and stuffed animals (yes, they're real) that make up most of the interior décor. That's in addition to several wooden Sasquatch statues, naturally.
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The new design also includes a large kitchen where the Sail Inn's bar used to be. There's also a long outdoor bar (covered in wood, of course, and pictured above) with a fireplace and games on a large wrap-around patio. In addition to giant Jenga, darts, bags, and Buck Hunter, May decided to install a Rolle Bolle court. If you're not familiar, that's a Belgian drinking and yard game that's somewhat similar to bocce ball. The Lodge will also offer 30 high-definition televisions.
To appeal to late-night diners, the kitchen will be open until 1 a.m. every day, and May says The Lodge aims to be "the third place" for Tempe residents. The cozy bar with games and comfy booths hopes to be your after-dinner destination, he says, or the bar you head to when you're ready to start winding down.
"Every time we do it we get a chance to look at it fresh," May says of the new Lodge.