The Willow House gets shut down

By Benjamin Leatherman

We just received a tip tonight that longtime downtown Phoenix coffeehouse and culture venue the Willow House was closed down on Thursday until further notice.

According to our source, a Willow House employee who asked to remain anonymous, the shuttering was due to a dispute the property owner Derrick Suarez (the artist/entrepreneur who also owns and operates Paisley Violin Cafe on Grand Avenue) over unpaid rent.

This is just the latest wrinkle in the Willow House’s recent (and very drama-filled) history. The coffeehouse and artist hangout was kicked out of its longtime home at the corner of Third Avenue and McDowell Road last fall, but its proprietors were able to find a new home at a similarly shabby-chic spot located at 17th Avenue and Van Buren Street.

Then, as Michele Laudig reported last week, the owners of the original Willow House location decided to do their own coffeehouse thing with the renovated property and dub it the “Willo House.” Clever.

Willow House employees say they’re attempting to sort out the situation with Suarez, but don’t know if and when the coffeehouse will re-open.

UPDATE: Per postings on local music and culture web-board The Shizz, the closing was due to its proprietors failing to pay rent for the past couple months. We’ll continue to follow the situation and provide further updates on the Willow House’s future.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.