Bursting with nearly 3,000 years of culture in the Pacific Islands, kava has brought people together for centuries. With the addition of Lacuna Kava Bar in downtown Phoenix on April 5, that culture can now be found just off of Roosevelt Row.
Derived from the root of the Piper Methysticum plant, which means “intoxicating or enchanting pepper,” kava is the national drink of Fiji and has been used in ceremonies for centuries. For Chase Brendle, owner of Lacuna Kava Bar, the plant-based drink offers a deeper and healthier form of human interaction.
“Island tribes have used it to achieve a higher level of consciousness throughout history, and here we use it as a social and recreational beverage to connect with other people,” Brendle said. “To me, it’s not just about owning one kava bar — it’s bringing the entire nation a choice in their health and how they connect with other people.”
Kava is known for its relaxing and meditative properties, and can sometimes cause mild numbing to the mouth or tongue. On its own kava tea has an earthy taste, and Lacuna Kava Bar offers a variety of mixed cocktails to give the traditional beverage a more mainstream and pleasant taste.
Along with kava, Lacuna Kava Bar will sell CBD tea among other brews, focusing on planet and body friendly, fair trade, sustainably sourced and mostly vegan foods. Prices will range from $6 to $10. Brendle said that using only “pronounceable” ingredients is a high priority.
In addition, Lacuna Kava Bar will offer another form of social vibrancy through its art exhibits on the first Friday of each month.
At its grand opening, the bar will give away one month of free kava and will host live music and live painting.
Paying homage to the building’s history, Brendle said that art is invaluable to Lacuna Kava Bar. Once an exhibit and later an Arizona State University art museum, the building, located one block south of Roosevelt on 3rd street, has been given new life through Lacuna Kava Bar.
“It was an art gallery, to begin with, the mural is still on the wall from the original owner of the building,” Brendle said. “It’s really cool to have something that each month is renewed and changed. It speaks to the context of what a kava bar is. It’s about growth, change, bringing new thought. Why not incorporate that on the walls as well?”
As the only kava bar in the state, Brendle said that he wants to bring a health-conscious and elevating alternative to the bar scenes of Phoenix.
“This is so different from anything people are accustomed to, especially in Western culture,” Brendle said. “We get so focused on what’s going around us that we often forget to stop and really enjoy the moments we spend connecting with others. “That’s what I really want people to experience when they come in.”
By definition, lacuna means a space, gap or hiatus, and Brendle said he wants Lacuna Kava Bar to provide people a sense of freedom and escape, an “urban oasis”, from mundane daily activities and city life.
The bar is open to anyone 18 or older and will host specials like “Thursday Heels and Deals” and “Tuesday Night Talks,” where artists, entrepreneurs and independent thinkers are encouraged to share ideas and services.
Lacuna Kava Bar will be open from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.. Monday through Thursday and close at midnight on Friday and Saturday. The bar will close at 8 p.m. on Sunday with hours extending soon.
Once only drunk by the elite class in Pacific Island communities, kava is a symbol of welcome and social gatherings. In the wide sprawls of buildings and business life in downtown Phoenix, Brendle hopes to provide a social outlet untethered from the traditional bar scene.
A new development called Roosevelt Land Yacht Club could be coming to downtown Phoenix. It’s a new take on affordable artist housing, conceived by a trio of creatives in Roosevelt Row.
The development would comprise Airstreams or other vintage travel trailers, integrated into a steel structure that would wrap around an existing parking garage on the northwest corner of Roosevelt and First streets. The multilevel structure would be situated on a 15-foot strip of land between the garage and adjoining sidewalks. At this point, that land is covered in grass.
It’s in the conceptual stage at this point, but True North Studio is getting ready to start the design review process with the city of Phoenix, which will have to approve the design and issue needed permits before it all comes together. The design also includes architectural elements and landscaping.
Jonathon Vento, who heads the True North Studio real estate development company housed at monOrchid, conceived the project with artist Wayne Rainey and architect Alison Rainey. Wayne Rainey recently sold monOrchid to Vento, but plans to stay active in the downtown Phoenix arts scene. Alison Rainey is a principal with the design firm Shepley Bulfinch.
The Roosevelt Land Yacht Club is one of several Phoenix projects True North Studio has in the works. Most notable is the first Meow Wolf hotel planned for Third Street south of Roosevelt Street, which will also include a large exhibition space and music venue.
Vento recently purchased the multilevel commercial building at 1001 North Central Avenue, along with the garage just east of the building. It’s one of many properties he’s acquired in downtown Phoenix in recent years.
The Ten-O-One building was recently listed on a commercial real estate website called Loopnet, which indicated that it will include office, retail, and micro-retail space – plus an outdoor event venue. The listing’s rendering included a large-scale mural featuring a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt on the building’s exterior.
That building, and the Roosevelt Land Yacht Club, are part of a multiblock, mixed-use project with the working name Ro2. The larger project also includes the renovation of Knipe House, where True North Studio plans a boulangerie-style eatery called Josephine’s. At one point, Roosevelt Growhouse planned to use the historic home for retail and education programs.
“It’s all conceptual at this point,” Vento says of the Roosevelt Land Yacht Club. He figures it will take about six months to work through the city’s plan review process, and hopes to break ground on the project by mid-2020.
The working plan calls for about four stories with 30 units comprising silver Airstream travel trailers. Vento says the rental units will have about 350 square feet of living space, likening them to the average size of a studio unit in a high-rise apartment.
“They’re really iconic and they’re popping up all over the place now,” Vento says. “Our plan is to create an urban vertical housing project by using Airstreams.”
Basically, they want the project to be half housing, half work of art. “We’ll work with artists on painting and designing the exteriors, so this is constantly refreshed,” he says. It’s possible that they’ll use a different type of trailer, as development specifics take shape.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the creative use of a skinny underutilized strip of land between the edge of the existing parking structure and pedestrian way,” says Alison Rainey. “We’re transforming an unused, wasted space into something that will benefit the community.”
Affordable housing is a hot topic in downtown Phoenix, including the Roosevelt Row arts district where large developments have displaced creative spaces in recent years. The Downtown Voices Coalition, which brings together people in area neighborhoods, is exploring both affordable housing issues and ways to support the downtown arts scene.
“I met Wayne about four years ago, and he’s always been passionate about affordable housing,” Vento says. “The three of us sat down together about a year ago and came up with a plan.” That’s how the project began, inspired in part by concepts including freedom, escape, and renewal.
The trio drew inspiration from major cities on bodies of water, after wondering how a desert city could create a similar effect. Then, they added a playful twist that’s reflected in the development’s name and design. “We decided to have a little fun with it,” Vento says.
He’s not sharing details about what it might cost to live there, so it’s hard to know whether people will consider the units affordable. And it’s impossible to know how artists may feel about renting the small spaces, where finding room to create work could pose a challenge.
Still, they’re optimistic about its potential. “We’re excited to share a wild idea for additional housing in a place where creatives need a place to live,” Vento says. “It’s meant to be affordable for all artists.”
There’s also a bigger picture, according to Alison Rainey.
“This project will have a positive impact on the urban environment,” she says. “It’s the innovative treatment of these types of spaces that will define the experience and urban landscape of downtown Phoenix.”
This year, several women will open restaurants, breweries and coffee shops on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. They continue a legacy of female entrepreneurship as old as the arts district itself.
On a cool January afternoon, Megan Greenwood parks her pickup truck in a dirt lot on the outskirts of downtown Phoenix. A dozen metal kegs crowd the bed as she steps out of the cab with two large rolled-up papers in hand.
When she unfurls them, you get a glimpse into the future.
The glossy renderings reveal plans for Greenwood Brewing, coming to Roosevelt and Fifth streets. By August, Greenwood hopes to turn a tiny lot and adjacent building into a sleek brewery and tasting room complete with a tree-shaded green space and large patio.
Located in the heart of the Roosevelt Row arts district, the white building that houses Eye Lounge gallery is connected to Made art boutique. The plans show Eye Lounge’s familiar sign will remain in place under the building’s roofline. But where a dirt lot gives way to an unkempt alley just west of the art space, Greenwood hopes to build her business a home.
“I’m excited for downtown Phoenix and Roosevelt Row to be our home base,” she says. “I just fell in love with the area.”
In the coming months, Roosevelt Row will not only see an influx of new businesses, but, in particular, a handful of new dining and drinking hot spots owned by women. In addition to Greenwood’s brewery, Grace Unger and Allison DeVane also will open businesses. It’s fitting, considering the neighborhood has a legacy of female entrepreneurship that stretches back decades.
“It’s exciting to be a part of their vision,” Greenwood says. “I think there’s big shoes to fill. There’s a lot of successful women on Roosevelt Row and I’m lucky to be mentored by them.”
‘It didn’t matter if we were women or not’
Cindy Dach has been a pillar of the Roosevelt Row community for decades. In 2000, she and her husband, Greg Esser, purchased the building where Greenwood will now build her brewery and tasting room. She’ll lease the space to the brewer.
Dach’s Made art boutique and the Eye Lounge, which she co-founded, aren’t going anywhere. But each gives up some square footage to make room for the brewery.
Dach also co-owns Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe and Phoenix and is a co-founder of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corp. The organization works to preserve the arts and small businesses in the area, which runs from Interstate 10 to Fillmore Street and from Seventh Avenue to 16th Street.
Dach and her husband had received multiple offers to sell the building over the years, but nothing felt right for the space until she met Greenwood.
“We love her mission of opening the craft-beer market to women,” Dach says. “It appeals to me in a funny way. In the children’s book industry, they always say to design for boys because girls will read anything. It’s kind of like she’s doing that for beer: designing for women because boys will drink anything.”
Dach opened Made in 2005 and says Roosevelt Row has always been friendly to women business owners, in part because if its “indie” attitude.
“It didn’t matter if we were women or not, if we could pay the rent,” she says.
She wasn’t the only woman to choose this neighborhood to put down roots. A number of other women helped drive in the neighborhood’s development from a collection of empty lots and neglected buildings into a thriving destination for locals and tourists alike.
Kimber Lanning, founder of Local First Arizona and Local First Arizona Foundation, also owns property on Roosevelt Row and has been instrumental in preserving its nature as an artist-friendly area.
Across the street, Carla Logan and her husband own Carly’s Bistro, a restaurant and bar she opened at Roosevelt and Second streets in 2005.
Logan says the area always has been welcoming of new business in general, though she did encounter some who didn’t see her as a likely business owner in the early years of Carly’s Bistro. In particular, she remembers a salesperson who asked to speak to the owner, assuming the owner was a man.
“I kept saying ‘he’s not here’ because he was a she,” she recalls. “This went on for months until a customer finally said, ‘that’s her.’ “
Logan, Lanning and Dash aren’t alone. Several other established Roosevelt Row dining and drinking spots are owned by women.
Stephanie Vasquez purchased Fair Trade Cafe in 2006 and has been a vocal activist in the downtown community ever since.
Danielle Leoni opened The Breadfruit and Rum Bar with her partner, Dwayne Allen, in 2008. As executive chef and co-owner, she has used the platform to become a leader in sustainable restaurant practices.
Erin Westgate has owned Songbird Coffee and Teahouse since 2012.
Lori Hassler and her husband, Eric, in February opened a restaurant in the historic Farish House on Third and Garfield streets.
How Greenwood Brewing got started
Even before becoming a full-time brewer, Greenwood was defying stereotypes as an industrial engineer. Her work in the solar industry brought her to the Valley from Iowa. She bought a house in Chandler and when a friend gave her a home-brewing kit, she began her unexpected love affair with craft beer.
Within a year, she had designed and built an all-electric brewing system in her garage. She kept eight homemade beers on tap at all times.
“I had a lot of friends then,” she jokes.
But Greenwood quickly realized she was becoming a part of an industry that didn’t see her as a target customer.
“I was brewing and I was learning all about beer, but I still felt really intimidated walking into a craft-beer bar,” she remembers. “I was like, well, I bet a lot of women feel like this. I was looking for a product for me, designed with me in mind, and I couldn’t find it.”
So she decided to create it.
Greenwood describes her beers as “female-focused.” But don’t let that fool you into thinking she’s making light, fruity brews. Her signature beer, Herstory, is a crisp pale ale the color of caramel.
For over a year, she has been contract brewing Herstory and two other beers at a brewery in the West Valley. She already distributes them to more than 50 locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott, including Mountain Shadows resort; Pita Jungle; Sip Coffee and Beer Garage; and The Whining Pig.
It’s been two years since she sold her home in Chandler and moved downtown. Now, she lives within walking distance from her business. She was drawn to the area, and specifically to Roosevelt Row, after falling in love with the neighborhood’s art-focused vibe and high energy during events like First Friday art walks, when thousands of people crowd the streets.
Through a Kickstarter campaign, Greenwood raised nearly $70,000 to buy brewing equipment for Greenwood Brewing. That gives her confidence the market is there for her to open the brick-and-mortar location.
“Overall people have been welcoming us with open arms,” she says. “I believe in downtown. I believe in Roosevelt Row. I want to make this a project that brings people to downtown but also livens up Fifth Street.”
Inside a burgeoning dining empire
A five-minute walk from the future Greenwood Brewing site, another of the Valley’s emerging female food and beverage entrepreneurs will open three new concepts.
Grace Unger currently owns Tuck Shop in the nearby Coronado neighborhood. By the end of the year, she hopes to open three businesses in the Roosevelt Row neighborhood:
Josephine, a modern French restaurant.
Coup de Grâce, a cocktail bar.
Petit Jo, a coffee shop, bakery and market.
To do so, she has partnered with True North Studios, a local development company with an office in the arts district. The company’s projects include RO2, an ambitious development that will bring Unger’s three planned restaurants, plus two hotels, residential and office space and retail to Roosevelt Row.
“I don’t know if I would have stayed in Phoenix if it weren’t for Roosevelt Row,” she says, noting how hard it is to find a neighborhood with such a strong sense of community.
“Somewhere along the line, that sense of community came to a halt. Now, you’re seeing it downtown and in the historic neighborhoods. It’s unique to the arts district and to downtown. You see these people who want to know each other.”
Teaspressa returns to its roots
The neighborhood vibe also drew Allison DeVane to expand her business’ footprint in the arts district.
Or rather, back to the arts district.
DeVane started her beverage company, Teaspressa, in 2015 with a “$25 laundry cart and a tablecloth from T.J. Maxx.” In the four years since, she has opened four Teaspressa locations in Arizona and Michigan and has seen her products on the shelves of national retailers such as Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus and Francesca’s.
She got her start, however, inside the DeSoto Central Market. The now-closed food hall — a future nightlife and bar concept — sits on the high-profile corner of Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street.
When DeSoto opened in 2015, DeVane partnered with the owners on a concept called Tea & Toast, which served her tea-based beverages. DeVane says it was an opportunity to get proof of concept, to find out if there was, in fact, a market for lattes made with highly concentrated tea instead of espresso.
She left Tea & Toast in 2017 and DeSoto has since closed. But this spring, DeVane will open a second Valley location of Teaspressa about a quarter-mile away. The new shop will be on the ground floor of the Portland on the Park luxury condo building.
“I was looking for anything downtown,” DeVane says. “I really like the place we found. I love the lawn. It’s the best place to go dog-watching. It’s just like, you can’t beat this. My goal for that place is to make it an oasis.”
At 1,500 square feet, the Roosevelt Row location will be three times the size of the existing Teaspressa shop in the Arcadia neighborhood. It will serve the Instagram-able drinks for which the first location has become popular, but also have a commercial kitchen for baking delicate, flower-topped shortbread cookies and other treats.
It also will have a license to serve beer and wine. DeVane says the goal is to offer a Prosecco bar where customers can use Teaspressa’s flavor-infused sugar cubes to turn a glass of sparkling wine into an instant mimosa or Bellini.
“Plus, they turn your champagne pink,” she says with a smile.
With a pastel color scheme and walls designed to offer the perfect backdrop for selfies, DeVane acknowledges her customers are mostly women. In fact, she wanted her business to appeal to a feminine crowd.
“I always wanted to have a really female audience,” she says. “Because, if anything, the women are the ones that are the most influential in the household.”
A guide to the Valley of the Sun’s greatest hits and other hot spots, ripe for discovery.
Some sights in the Valley of the Sun shine so brightly, you can’t miss them. (We’re looking at you, Camelback.) Meanwhile, other hot spots await, ripe for discovery. Below, you’ll find a guide to the valley’s greatest hits… and the best of its B-side.
Star: Camelback Mountain
The prominent hump-shaped landmark some 11 miles northeast of downtown attracts hordes of hikers with two short but very strenuous trails to its 2,700-foot summit. On either route, Cholla or Echo Canyon, you’ll max out your heart rate hiking more than a mile up steep, cactus-dotted slopes, climbing on dirt and gravel between rust-hued, lichen-splashed boulders. But the reward at the top is sweet—a high-five sense of accomplishment and a 360-degree view of the surrounding metropolis. Pro tip: Set out early and carry plenty of water.
Secret: Phoenix Sonoran Preserve
Located in Phoenix’s northern reaches, the huge protected open space offers a more relaxed alternative to Camelback, with wide-open trails and sparser crowds. Here, 36 miles of multiuse paths stretch across more than 18,000 acres of unspoiled desert, from creosote-filled flats to palo verde–studded hillsides. Where to begin? Try this moderate 2.75-mile loop: From Apache Wash Trailhead, take Sidewinder Trail to Apache Vista Summit—a 153-foot rise that provides panoramic vistas—and return on Apache Wash and Ocotillo Trails. You’ll catch the best views in the park, with desert in the foreground and city in the distance. Along the way, watch for red-tailed hawks, cactus wrens, and, if the rains have cooperated, wildflowers.
Star: Taliesin West
Frank Lloyd Wright spent decades building and rebuilding his winter home and workshop, which occupies a sprawling, 492-acre piece of land at the base of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains. Guided visits to the architectural marvel lead you past a clutch of stone-and-wood structures that emulate the angles of neighboring peaks. Conducted by Frank Lloyd Wright devotees, the Insights Tour includes access to Wright’s private living quarters, along with the drafting studio where the renowned architect worked on projects, such as the Guggenheim Museum, until his death in 1959. Care to linger longer than 90 minutes? Opt for the in-depth Details Tour, or pick up tickets to one of the on-site Shakespeare performances, which run through April this year.
Secret: Tovrea Castle
With its crenellated balconies and four tiered levels, Tovrea Castle looks like a Lego wedding cake perched on a knoll above the East Valley. Designed as a hotel by Italian immigrant Alessio Carraro, the structure (completed in 1930) never quite became the destination he’d imagined—a swanky resort surrounded by luxe homes. Facing the Great Depression, Carraro sold the property to meatpacking mogul E.A. Tovrea. Though Tovrea himself died soon afterward, his wife Della continued to live here until 1969. Now owned by the city, the castle and its cactus gardens are open for public tours that sell out quickly. Your best bet to get in: Book ahead. Tickets for September through December are released March 1.
Star: Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn
This cozy restaurant in tony Paradise Valley owes its Southwestern bona fides to two larger-than-life Arizonans: Lon Megargee and Jeremy Pacheco. Megargee, a cowboy artist, provided the setting—Lon’s and the adjoining hotel occupy his former home and studio—while chef Pacheco, a ninth-generation Arizonan, serves the locavore cuisine to match. Today, the adobe retains its rustic 1930s charm, with carved wood ceiling beams, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and Megargee’s art on the walls. In Pacheco’s kitchen, regional ingredients take a star turn: Sonora wheat berries top the steelhead trout, locally grown mushrooms punctuate the risotto, and Arizona pecans stud the date cake.
Secret: Roland’s Cafe Market Bar
When three acclaimed restaurateurs collaborate, a standout like Roland’s emerges. The combination café, market, and bar breathes new life into a 100-year-old grocery store while paying tribute to its previous owner, Roland Ong. The yearold eatery owes its current success to Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez, founders of the foodie favorite Tacos Chiwas, and their mentor, James Beard Award–winning chef Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco. In the Chihuahua-style dishes, the chefs meld traditional ingredients with nontraditional ones. For instance, the wood-fired quesadilla is topped with mortadella and asadero cheese, while the carne asada sandwich—slathered with guacamole, pinto beans, and arbol chile salsa—arrives on a crusty baguette.
Star: Heard Museum
Founded in 1929 and located in the city’s center, the privately held Heard strives to be the world’s leading museum devoted to American Indian art. It does not disappoint. A dozen galleries mount thought-provoking historical and contemporary exhibits, such as the newly updated Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories, which chronicles the U.S. government’s attempts to assimilate Native children into “civilized” society. Special events, including the Indian Fair & Market (March 1–3 this year) and First Fridays (all other months), underscore the cultural experience, as does the well curated Heard Museum Shop, which sells lacquered pottery, silver jewelry, and kachina dolls.
Secret: Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve
Delve into the symbolism of ancient carvings at the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve in the northwest valley suburb of Glendale. Early inhabitants etched more than 1,500 petroglyphs into black boulders on the hillsides here, some of them viewable from a quarter-mile trail. The images and stories date from a.d. 300 to 1450 and include rock art made by the Hohokam people, such as curvilinear shapes thought to represent Quetzalcóatl, the feathered serpent deity. Exhibits in the on-site museum shed light on the culture of the Hohokam, and of other indigenous people who left marks here.
Star: Roosevelt Row Arts District
Downtown Phoenix’s arts district, Roosevelt Row, is abuzz with galleries, shops, nightclubs, and restaurants—so much so that the area draws more than 100,000 visitors a year. Everyone, it seems, wants to tap into the creative vibe of the neighborhood, a mile-long stretch of Roosevelt between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street. Head there to check out art at the Lost Leaf, an edgy gallery, bar, and live music venue with staff-painted murals in the alleys; catch a set at the Nash, a club inspired by eminent drummer Lewis Nash that’s the place to see jazz performances; and marvel at contemporary works by emerging and midcareer artists at Modified Arts. End your stroll at Cobra Arcade Bar, a no-kids emporium of vintage arcade and video games, from pinball to Centipede.
Secret: Downtown Mesa
Phoenix’s neighbor Mesa is the state’s third-largest city, and it plays a vital supporting role in the metroplex’s creative diversity. Mesa Arts Center—the biggest complex of its kind in Arizona—packs four theaters, five art galleries, and multiple classroom studios under one roof. The angular, glass-walled building on Main Street serves as a magnet for artists, from fledgling to famous; coming attractions include a recital by dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a talk by best-selling author Anne Lamott. Outside, sprinkled throughout Mesa’s downtown core, stand large-scale public art pieces, such as sculptures depicting the city’s history. The Nile Theater, a 1920s movie house turned coffee shop and concert venue, presents live alt-rock and comedy. Each month, the 2nd Friday event fills Main Street with dozens of craft booths, entertainers, and food vendors.
Star: The Womack
A generation ago, Phoenix was awash in dark, smoky cocktail lounges, most of which have since shut down. The Womack, opened in 2016 at North Seventh Street and Palo Verde Drive, pays homage to its predecessors (particularly the late, great Chez Nous) with low lights, mirrored ceilings, flocked wallpaper, and cushy booths. Slide into one and sip an amaretto sour, a Harvey Wallbanger, or a sloe gin fizz while nibbling on a retro bar snack such as potato chips with French onion dip or deviled eggs with bacon and chives. The lounge grooves to live music at least three nights a week, and the sleek patio accommodates patrons tempted to fire up a cigar.
Secret: Across the Pond
Located just north of Midtown near Clever Koi, the pan-Asian eatery that spawned it, Across the Pond zeroes in on drinks. The cocktail lineup changes constantly and, depending what you order, your bevvy might be enlivened by a splash of yuzu juice, sesame milk, or ponzu syrup. Rounding out the drinks selection are craft beer, sake, and wine, as well as Japanese whiskey served in traditional highball style, with soda water poured down a spoon. The bar’s tropical yet minimalist decor and short menu of sashimi and sushi—hello, spicy tuna hand roll with shiso leaf, daikon, and furikake!— make this a perfect destination for happy hour… or a nightcap.
By: Nora Burba Trulsson, AZ.AAA.com, March 1, 2019
New Permanent Immersive Exhibition, Music Venue, and Hotel — a first for Meow Wolf — to hit the Roosevelt Row Arts District
Meow Wolf is set for massive expansion this year with the opening of our second permanent location in Las Vegas, as well as the official unveiling of our first art ride in Denver. However, our creative footprint promises to take another innovative leap into the future with our latest announcement: a NEW exhibition and hotel concept in the heart of the Roosevelt Row Arts District in Downtown Phoenix!
Pack your bags for a Meow Wolf Hotel & Exhibit in Phoenix! Photo by Kate Russell
In partnership with True North Studio, and in the style of a completely new, mind-bending narrative world, our hotel and interactive arts venue will redefine and reinvigorate the hospitality experience.
You’ve always wanted to stay overnight at a Meow Wolf exhibit – soon you can!
By combining the Phoenix exhibit with a fully-operational hotel, Meow Wolf will create a truly immersive experience for all guests. The project will feature a massive, 75,000 square-foot exhibition area complete with a 10,000 square-foot music and performance venue. Our hotel will include approximately 400 rooms designed by local artists that explore all forms of overnight experiences, including: faux-glamping, capsule rooms, communal hostel environments, absurd luxury suites, and lodging inside of the art exhibition itself.
“Guests are always asking about staying overnight inside of our House of Eternal Return project in Santa Fe, so doing an intertwined exhibition and hotel just made sense to us.” said CEO and Co-Founder Vince Kadlubek. “Our partnership with True North Studio in Phoenix is a perfect opportunity to explore this wild concept. Our intention for this venture is to collaborate with the creative community in greater Phoenix to produce an authentic, local statement of expression which will bring further excitement and creative energy to the Roosevelt Row Arts District. This project is going to be truly monumental on so many levels.”
Meow Wolf Phoenix is slated to open in 2024
“Meow Wolf’s entry into the Phoenix market represents a cultural shockwave, and we are excited to partner with these amazing artists,” said Jonathon Vento, Founder and Principal Developer of True North Studio. “We are committed to the future of Phoenix as a great American city and understand the importance of a cultural economy. Meow Wolf’s presence will give Phoenix a spectacular boost in our ability to work with local artists and to attract and retain the kind of creative workforce necessary for success. The Meow Wolf Exhibition and Hotel will be the new epicenter for the arts, entertainment, and tourism in the State of Arizona.”
To mark the launch of our new partnership, Kadlubek will join Vento for a one-night-only screening of Meow Wolf’s critically acclaimed documentary, MEOW WOLF: ORIGIN STORY, at True North Studio’s collaborative space, monOrchid. The film provides a glimpse inside Meow Wolf’s inspiring kaleidoscope of creative collaboration, taking viewers on a journey through the meteoric rise of an art collective as it attracts the support of George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) and morphs into a multi-million dollar powerhouse in just a few short years. Following the opening of Meow Wolf’s instantly successful House of Eternal Returnin Santa Fe, we continue to set our sights on new exhibits around the world.
The announcement of Meow Wolf Phoenix is just the latest in a slew of new projects to enter our multiversal portfolio. Slated for later this year, Las Vegas will be the first city to experience what Time Out just named “the #4 Best Thing To Do In The World” when we open a new narrative exhibit inside a bizarrely-immersive shopping bazaar: Area15. Also underway are two projects in Denver: a third permanent installation inside a 90,000-square-foot space, as well as “Kaleidoscape,” the first ever artist-driven dark ride at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park. Most recently, Meow Wolf shared expansion plans to Washington D.C., which is slated to open inside a three-level, 75,000-square-foot structure located in the Fort Totten community in 2022.
About Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf is a Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment group that creates immersive, interactive experiences to transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration. The company’s first location showcases the THEA Award-winning, international sensation House Of Eternal Return where over one and a half million visitors have discovered a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, climbing apparatus, and surreal, maximalist & mesmerizing art exhibits along with a Learning Center and Float Café. The location is also home to a music venue, bar, and outdoor dining scene. In 2018, Meow Wolf announced plans for massive new permanent locations, in Denver,Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., and the world’s first artist-driven dark ride at Elitch Gardens.
About True North Studio
True North Studio is a community, entertainment, and real estate development collaborative based in the monOrchid, a landmark arts and mixed-use building in the heart of the Roosevelt Row Arts District in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The team is led by seasoned developers who think like artists and established artists who create like developers. True North Studio is focused on historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and urban infill. Projects include galleries, hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, creative offices, commercial retail, and residential.
Because the second location of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., one of the most awarded breweries in the state, opened on Monday, Feb. 18. The beer garden’s grand opening is March 1, but the public already can flock to the Roosevelt Row brewpub for a cold pint of beer.
In addition to offering a range of their own beers on tap and in bottles and cans, the new location will serve wines and cocktail on tap alongside a menu that highlights burgers made with grass-raised local beef.
Owner Jonathan Buford hopes the space will become a gathering place for the community: whether it’s for a quick lunch, a casual dinner or family-friendly gatherings on the spacious patio.
“We really want to be a ‘choose your own adventure’ place,” Buford says.
What’s the big deal with Arizona Wilderness?
Local beer aficionados likely are familiar with Arizona Wilderness. The brewery is based in Gilbert, where founders Jonathan Buford and Patrick Ware first began putting out wildly creative beers often made with local ingredients in 2013. In the first year, the pair threw six whole pecan pies into the mash to make their Picacho Pecan Pie Brown Ale.
A few months later, beer review website RateBeer.com named Arizona Wilderness the best new brewery not only in the country, but the entire world.
Since then, the brewery has become a mecca for craft beer fans. Thanks to collaborations with world-renowned brewers like Danish “gypsy” brewer Mikkeller, Buford says beer lovers often come to the pub from places near and far.
The downtown Phoenix location, however, will offer the chance for even more fans to get a taste of their deeply Arizona-inspired beers.
Austrian beer garden inspiration
And there’s space for quite a lot of guests at the new location. There’s seating for about 250, but Buford says the space can pack in up to 650 people at any one time.
A covered outdoor patio takes up much of the square footage, but there’s also a spacious open dining room inside. All seating will be community style, and guests will order their drinks at the bar and their food at a counter in the back corner of the interior.
A second outdoor bar off the patio — it’s made up of four shipping containers for extra cool points — will have the same number of taps as the main bar so guests don’t have any reason to go inside if they don’t want to.
Creating a comfortable, user-friendly outdoor space was a priority for Buford, though it took at lot of effort to rip up asphalt and replace it with handsome decomposed granite and natural desert landscaping.
He hopes downtown residents will get to know each other over a pint of beer.
“We got this idea sitting at a really amazing beer garden in Austria,” Buford says. “Everyone was out and they were talking. There was a roar of everyone enjoying their conversations and we said, ‘That’s what we want to bring downtown.’ ”
Burgers made with grass-fed Arizona beef
By day, Buford says, the brewpub will be a family-friendly place. Dogs also are welcome to enjoy a designated portion of the patio.
The food menu ties in with the brewery’s reputation for sourcing top-quality local ingredients. The focus is burgers, all of which are made with beef from Arizona Grass Raised Beef Company. The company raises its cattle on acres of Arizona ranch land before processing them at their own USDA plant.
“That’s one of the coolest projects I’ve ever been a part of — and I’ve been a part of some really cool projects,” Buford says. “(The burger) is going to be the heart of our kitchen.”
Other items on the food menu will include a Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich, pulled pork and, for late-night hunger pains, beer cheese with pretzels.
“We know what’s going on down here after 10 p.m.,” Buford jokes.
A third space for the downtown crowd
Buford hopes the brewpub will become a “third space,” the place community members go that’s not home or work.
That’s why the team made efforts to preserve the history of building, which most recently housed a wholesale florist but was once a private home in the mid-1930s. While digging up the asphalt to create the patio, Buford says the construction team even stumbled upon an old hand well.
“One of the things we’re super proud of is we kept the soul of this building,” he says.
There will be a small retail section where customers can pick up cans and bottles of Arizona Wilderness beers before heading home or out to a party. There also will be growler fills available.
Buford was inspired in part by the mural on the west side of the building. The mural, painted by Carrie Marill in 2012, is an homage to another artist, the late Margaret Killgallen. It’s something of a landmark in the downtown arts district, so Buford says it only made sense to install two large bike racks on the north and west sides of the building.
“We’re trying to send a message. To me, the dream is a pilsner on that patio. Maybe you rode your bike. It might even feel like a European experience.”
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
What: The downtown Phoenix beer garden is open for limited hours until Friday, March 1. Check social media for current hours.
The final First Friday of 2018 will feature an exciting expansion of more than 50 artists and vendors along 2nd and 6th Streets just north of Roosevelt Street, allowing thousands of visitors from across the Valley the chance to experience new artistic displays as the year comes to an end. New art and food vendors, as well as musical and dance performances, will highlight the additional street activations.
One of the most anticipated additions to First Friday will be on the corner of 6th Street and Roosevelt. V-Street, curated by Zen Nights Inc, is the first 100% plant-based and eco-friendly marketplace at Roosevelt Row. Visitors will find delicious, plant-based food vendors as well as local art and product vendors selling eco-friendly items.
On 2nd Street and Portland, the Pemberton House will be activated throughout the evening with live musical performances, including a live set from popular local band Foxheart from 7:30-9:00pm. The Phoenix Center for the Arts, located on 3rd Street and Moreland, will also have their art gallery open from 6:00-9:00pm featuring the work of local artist Patrice Bass.
“First Fridays on Roosevelt Row continue to be an incredibly well-attended and anticipated monthly art event for residents from around the Valley and beyond,” said Vermon Pierre, President of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation. “With this expansion on 2nd and 6th Streets, even more artists, performers and vendors will be able to join our community and showcase their work for visitors to experience and celebrate.”
“We are thrilled to bring V-Street to Roosevelt Row and provide options for visitors looking to enjoy plant-based food and products,” said Nadia Khalighi, founder of Zen Nights, Inc. “First Fridays provide a critical platform for artists and vendors to share their talents with Arizonans in a walkable, sustainable environment that brings people together. We can’t wait to be a part of it!”
AZ’s 100% nonprofit music festival announces eclectic lineup for the 16th annual celebration on March 1-3, 2019 at Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix.
M3F (McDowell Mountain Music Festival) is ecstatic to announce the lineup for the 16th annual music Festival held in Downtown Phoenix March 1-3, 2019. This year M3F brings top headliners to the Arizona music scene such as Odesza, Empire of the Sun and Umphrey’s McGee. The lineup features numerous national artists such as Kurt Vile and The Violators, Big Wild and Jungle. As an Arizona-based festival, M3F is also bringing back local talent that played at M3F last year including The Uncommon Good, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and The Noodles.
In an effort to remain true to its eclectic roots while evolving, M3F attracts music festivalgoers who are
interested in a diverse variety of genres by bringing unexpected sound pairings to the Valley. “What
really sets us apart from other music festivals, is our choice of artists year after year,” President John
Largay said. “16 years has been a great experience for me and the people of Wespac – to be able to
participate in community and culture at this level and watch it affect the resurgence of Downtown
Phoenix, to the promotion of music, family spirit and charity – it has been an honor.” Largay reminds us
that the overall Festival goal is “to continue to elevate Phoenix as a music and cultural destination as
well as generating revenue for our local economy, including local artists and small businesses, which are
the oxygen that feeds the heart of the city.”
This year, festivalgoers will get the chance to see the following national and local acts:
Empire of the Sun
The Hip Abduction
House of Treezus
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Toro Y Moi
The Uncommon Good
Young & Sick
Along with the music, charity is a part of the DNA that fuels M3F. From its inception, the Festival has
donated over $1,000,000 to local family-based Arizona charities. Last year, M3F donated $65,000 to
Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH), Smiles for Special Needs and Habitat for Humanity of Northern
Arizona. This year, M3F and Wespac Construction, announced that a portion of proceeds from M3F will
fund the PCH Music Therapy Program.
Tickets on sale at M3FFest.com. M3F offers a range of ticket options including 3-day General Admission
For tickets and to learn more please visit M3F online or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About M3F (McDowell Mountain Music Festival)
M3F is a 100% nonprofit music festival that was established in 2004 and quickly became a musical
destination for festivalgoers. This year, the Festival is celebrating its 16th year of attracting visitors to the
State with previous headliners such as Beck, Bob Weir, Kid Cudi, GRiZ, The Flaming Lips and more. In a
commitment to giving back, M3F has adopted a local mission grounded by 3 C’s – Community, Culture
and Charity. These 3 C’s fuel the Festival’s underlying dedication to local Arizona. In spirit of these
values, all of the proceeds from the Festival will benefit local, family-based charities.
Enjoy the sweet life with friends and neighbors as the community gathers for an afternoon of pie, storytelling, art, music and merriment at beautiful Hance Park on Sunday, Nov. 4 starting at 2 p.m. for the 9th annual Pie Social.
Bar Flies, the popular downtown Phoenix-based live storytelling series, will host a special presentation of Shoo Flies, the sister version of their narrative performance, at Pie Social. Attendees that afternoon will be treated to music provided DJ Shane Kennedy.
Erin Westgate describes her downtown Phoenix coffeehouse as an extension of her living room. A quaint house nestled in the coverage of trees.
Songbird Coffee and Tea House, near McKinley and Third streets, welcomes guests with a circle of lawn chairs, picnic tables and a green porch swing.
The shop has been in business for six years, marking its latest anniversary on June 23. Starting out in a warehouse just a block and a half from where it’s now, the local favorite has endured many changes over the years.
When Songbird first opened, it served mainly as a creative destination for artists, writers and graphic designers. The flourishing Phoenix arts district now has new neighbors: high-rise apartments and sprawling office buildings.
“When we first opened, this area was a lot emptier than it is now,” Westgate said. “It was this district where everybody was working really hard to make it and doing their own thing. This was the area to figure it all out… It was neat to be in the messiness of things.”
“It’s fun to have more opportunities around and see more people moving down here, but at the same time (downtown Phoenix) is changing.” Westgate said. “I hope it stays the arts district and not just a show. This area has so much soul, and I hope it stays.”
Through Songbird, her passion for gathering all walks of life in an intimate space is evident. Single tables align green velvet cushions, a bar top rims the front windows. Almost every spot requires this feel of shared space.
“I love introducing people. I wanted a place where people come to figure things out,” she said. “To be in the arts district where artists are trying to do their own thing… sit down, slow down and have a conversation with the person next to you.”
The community she serves is as important as where she gets her product from. Tea, coffee and gluten-free pastries are sourced from local vendors.
“It’s imperative that I have the ability to meet and talk to the people I work with face to face,” she said. “They’re invested in the same area, which means they know better what our customers want.”
Coffee: ‘It’s an art’
Westgate was inspired to open her own coffee house after working as a barista for a coffee shop in California, her home state.
“I worked at the Café Bar and I loved getting to make good things that started a conversation for someone.” she said. “Coffee is not just espresso, it’s an art. And I was able to meet so many good people … that changed my life dramatically.”
The former barista moved to Phoenix in 2010 and opened Songbird two years later. Since the shop’s opening, she has handled a steady process of rolling with the punches and navigating her way through change.
“This is such a transitional neighborhood and that’s probably the hardest part,” she said.
Westgate said the hardest part of being a small business owner has been the constant changing environment and learning that when it comes to business, you have to mean business.
“I was kind of naïve in the beginning to think that if I provided good service and a good product, everything would just workout,” she said. “I didn’t really think about the fact there will be people who don’t care about me succeeding or who really don’t want me to.”
When Songbird first opened six years ago, Westgate had a partner. Three years later, she became the sole owner.
“I think people are more likely to try and push around a woman than a man,” she said. “I learned a lot through that transition of losing a partner.”
Loyal customers, employees drive her passion
She leans on the support of her neighbors, employees and loyal customers to keep the beans brewing and coffee pouring.
When Songbird first opened, Westgate was not only an owner, she also was the sold barista and cashier. Soon, she realized she needed to hire some help to keep up with the demand.
“Hiring the first person was actually pretty painful,” she said. “It was like leaving the baby with a babysitter for the first time.”
Since then, her employees have become like family. She has had a low turnover rate, developing a special connection with her staff.
Songbird will offer 30 percent drinks all day on July 23. The coffee house also has started recycling and will be encouraging patrons to bring their own mugs.