Downtown Tucson delights: New locations to eat, drink, be merry in 2022 | Subscriber



Miguel Lopez, with Two Brothers Useful Man, works on what would be the new 27-foot granite high bar within the former Unbiased Distillery, a part of the transforming and growth of HighWire Lounge.




The oldsters on the Tucson Conference Heart spent the COVID-19 pandemic renovating and upgrading its venues, from putting in new seats and sound enhancements at Tucson Music Corridor to increasing and enhancing the assembly rooms and parking garages on the Conference Heart.

Downtown at Resort Congress, the previous Copper Room is being renovated to create the jazz membership and agave/wine tasting room, the Century Membership, which is able to debut in January when it hosts a number of occasions for the HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Pageant.

A block west, the house owners of HighWire Lounge are within the technique of increasing their downtown footprint on a grand scale, taking on the shuttered Unbiased Distillery subsequent door and the adjoining previous Drawing Studio house in a transfer that can elevate its standing as an leisure vacation spot for food and drinks.

As we welcome 2022, we’ve circled again to among the people downtown who made candy lemonade out of the pandemic’s bitter lemons to see what the brand new yr will convey.



Ethan Grauberger of the Massive High Seating Co. installs finish caps on the brand new seating on the Tucson Music Corridor.




Tucson Conference Heart

260 S. Church Ave., tucsonconventioncenter.com

Employees spent the higher a part of the pandemic making $65 million value of upgrades to the TCC campus, which incorporates the conference heart, Tucson Music Corridor and Leo Wealthy Theater. The work included much-needed upgrades to the Music Corridor, from new lavatory fixtures to new seats and carpet. They even cleaned the brick inside.

The historic fountain within the Eckbo Plaza outdoors the Music Corridor additionally received some love; for the primary time in years, the water was flowing.

The mission additionally included including as a lot as 20,000 sq. toes of assembly house close to the ballroom and south exhibit corridor within the TCC and renovating the restrooms on the smaller Leo Wealthy Theater, residence to the Arizona Mates of Chamber Music and its fashionable Tucson Winter Chamber Music Pageant held every March.

TCC Basic Supervisor Glenn Grabski stated there’s nonetheless work to be achieved together with ending the assembly rooms, which he anticipates might be achieved in February, in time for the 2022 Tucson Gem & Mineral Present Feb. 10-13.

“We’re not completed, but,” he stated final week, however “I might say the heavy lifting is previous us.”

Grabski stated the TCC continues to be engaged on the Lot C parking storage, which may very well be prepared by April. In November 2020, it opened the 380-space parking storage in entrance of the Tucson Enviornment, subsequent to the six-story, 170-room DoubleTree by Hilton Tucson Downtown Conference Heart resort, 280 S. Church Ave., that opened in Could.

Grabski stated with the enhancements, he’s seeing extra curiosity from artists eager to guide Tucson Music Corridor. A number of acts have already got been booked into the two,289-seat venue for 2022, together with the Marshall Tucker Band, which is bringing its fiftieth anniversary tour with Dave Mason on March 19.

Coming in 2022: Jazz nice Dianne Reeves, Jan. 23; Ballet Tucson’s “reFresh Winter Live performance,” Jan. 28-30; Arizona Opera presents “Carmen,” Feb. 5-6; comic Jo Koy “Humorous is Humorous World Tour,” Feb. 25; Chicago, March 1; nation singer Justin Moore and Mates, March 12; comic Tom Segura, March 24; Guatemalan singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona “Blanco y Negro Tour 2022” (Black and White), March 27; Latin and reggaeton star J Balvin’s “José Tour 2022,” April 22; Celtic Girl’s “Postcards from Eire,” Could 3; “Completely happy Collectively,” July 14; and Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, Dec. 3.

HighWire Lounge

14 S. Arizona Ave., highwiretucson.com

If all goes in keeping with plan, house owners of HighWire Lounge, Tucson’s downtown vacation spot for drinks constituted of spherified tequila droplets, cotton sweet and different types of molecular mixology, might be taking issues to the subsequent degree simply in time for Valentine’s Day.

The bar’s house owners, Nicholas Eggman and John Hardin, have taken over the Unbiased Distillery subsequent door, increasing HighWire’s dimension from 1,200 sq. toes to a whopping 7,500 sq. toes of indoor and out of doors house.

The plan is to show the brand new constructing into their essential bar and restaurant space. It comes with an enormous kitchen which HighWire will share with its neighbor and landlord, Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market.

A full menu might be obtainable till 10 p.m. earlier than the late-night munchies menu comes out. The main focus might be on shareable plates.

“As a substitute of burgers, we’ll have sliders,” Hardin stated. “Mini-pancakes, mini-doughnuts. Stuff that can fill you up, however in case you and your folks every ordered a special plate, you would have slightly of this, slightly of that.”

Eggman stated HighWire had lengthy outgrown its unique house, situated across the nook from Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery on East Congress. They have been already toying with the concept of relocating earlier than the pandemic hit.

As soon as Unbiased Distillery introduced its closure, Highwire made its transfer.

“It wasn’t the very best time, however we knew we had to determine a strategy to lock this in,” Eggman stated. “When issues received again into regular, we have been going to want the house.”

Along with the restaurant facet, the expanded HighWire may have a 27-foot-long, granite high bar, with 5 stations; three of them to your customary cocktails and the opposite two for craft beer, molecular mixology and faucet cocktails.

Hardin stated the bar might be arrange in order that bartenders received’t need to take greater than two steps to achieve any of the substances they want.

“Folks need craft cocktails, however they don’t need to look ahead to craft cocktails,” Hardin stated. “We hope to be one of many quickest bars downtown.”

As soon as the restaurant is up and working. HighWire might be working with Johnny Gibson’s to show what was as soon as the previous Drawing Studio house, dealing with South Sixth Avenue into an all-singing, all-dancing occasion heart for weddings and different particular events.

“Johnny Gibson’s would be the retail, HighWire the nightlife and leisure, and the occasion heart might be extra about neighborhood,” Eggman stated.

Eggman and Hardin plan to have the expanded HighWire open by the primary week in February. The unique house and courtyard proceed to function, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-midnight Sundays.



Clayton Lull of Aztec Flooring lays out flooring within the new Century Room at Resort Congress, 311 E. Congress Avenue.




Resort Congress

311 E. Congress St., hotelcongress.com

The historic downtown resort, residence to the hip Membership Congress and its Membership Congress Plaza out of doors stage, accomplished the primary section of an bold $750,000 renovation mission final summer time. That work included increasing the usable house on its out of doors plaza, the place live shows have been held since October 2020.

Resort Congress expanded the plaza stage and put in misters and a retractable cover for shading that permits it to take full benefit of the plaza even within the excessive warmth of summertime.

“We’ve simply actually enhanced our plaza venue in a number of methods, and we’ll proceed in 2022 with an upgraded sound system,” stated David Slutes, Resort Congress’s leisure director.



Javier Gonzalez, left, and Aaron Candlish, of Arizona Cupboard Improvements, work on the brand new Century Room at Resort Congress, 311 E. Congress Avenue. The Century Room is changing Copper Corridor and can grow to be a jazz membership and a mescal tasting lounge.




With COVID transmissions on the rise nationwide, Slutes stated extra artists are opting to carry their live shows outdoors.

“We simply really feel most individuals and the individuals who come right here really feel extra snug on the surface plaza,” he stated.

A centerpiece of the renovation mission is constructing out the two,200-square-foot Copper Corridor close to the foyer and creating the Century Room, which may have a jazz membership on one finish and an agave/wine tasting room on the opposite. The house will not have an entrance off the foyer. As a substitute, patrons will enter off Congress Avenue.

Slutes stated they’re working feverishly to complete the work in time for the 2022 HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Pageant, which is able to embrace a number of after-party occasions at Congress. The primary occasion booked into the Century Room is Arthur Vint & Associates on Jan. 19.

Coming in 2022: Tucson singer-songwriter Gabrielle Pietrangelo joins Howe Gelb and Bekah Rolland for her first solo efficiency in Tucson for the reason that pandemic, Jan. 2; Dillinger Days, Jan. 15-16; Downtown Jazz Fiesta with Kendrick Scott, Jan. 17; English post-punkers Disgrace, Feb. 15; Tucson rock duo Birds and Arrows, Feb. 25; legendary Brit rockers Trendy English, March 26; and singer-songwriter Chris Smither, March 29.



Monica Flinn, proper, on the household’s El Charro Cafe in Tucson, circa Nineteen Sixties.




El Charro’s Centennial

A number of places together with the downtown flagship at 311 N. Court docket Ave., elcharrocafe.com

Tucson’s El Charro Café kicks off its yearlong a hundredth anniversary celebration with the opening early subsequent yr of The Monica, an homage to El Charro founder Monica Flinn. The 4,500-square-foot restaurant with a sprawling 2,500-square-foot patio on the primary flooring of the Hexagon constructing at Metropolis Park will function culinary creations from a few of Tucson’s notable cooks and meals personalities together with baker Don Guerra.

It will likely be the second enterprise with Guerra and El Charro’s guardian firm Si Charro. In early January 2021, Si Charro and Guerra opened Barrio Charro at 3699 N. Campbell Ave.

The Monica is a nod to the traditional American pantry and buffet-style eating halls whose menus change relying on what’s within the pantry.



New lighting fixtures and wallpaper are in place as work continues to get the brand new restaurant, The Monica, able to open.




Si Charro President Ray Flores stated The Monica, at 40 E. Congress St., has been within the works for a number of years however got here collectively in the course of the pandemic as a strategy to spotlight not solely the Flores household’s place in Tucson’s culinary panorama, however the efforts of different native cooks and restaurant operators.

Coming in 2022: The opening kicks off a yr of occasions main as much as the September anniversary of Monica Flinn opening the unique El Charro Mexican restaurant in 1922. Some highlights embrace teaming up with Dragoon Brewing Co. on an El Charro cerveza of the century brew, making a commemorative century salsa and collaborating with Mexican tequila maker Codigo for a particular 100-year-old tequila.

El Teatro Carmen

380 S. Meyer Ave., fb.com/TeatroCarmen

Over the summer time, Stratford Artworks, an area nonprofit run by Herb Stratford, bought El Teatro Carmen downtown within the hopes of bringing the historic theater again to its former glory.

That dream continues to be just a few years from completion, however Stratford, the person who spearheaded efforts to convey the Fox Tucson again to life, stated no less than a part of the property could be accessible for reside music and movie inside the subsequent six months.

The empty lot simply south of the 2 buildings that make up the theater, on the nook of West Simpson Avenue and South Meyer Avenue, is a part of Part 1 of the renovation course of and might be simpler to finish, Stratford stated. His aim is to carry reside live shows and movie screenings on the location.

“We’re not speaking an enormous quantity of infrastructure,” Stratford stated.

Startford stated the complete mission acquired a lift earlier this month, when the Pima County Board of Supervisors agreed to buy Teatro Carmen from Stratford Artworks and make investments greater than $1 million into its restoration.



Herb Stratford, president of Stratford Artwork Works, at Teatro Carmen, 380 S. Meyer Ave. Stratford Artworks purchased Teatro Carmen with plans to return it to a performing arts house.




Stratford Artworks will keep on to see the theater via the method, then run the operation as soon as the Carmen is full.

“The county understands that we’ve a sure set of abilities to get the job achieved,” Stratford stated. “We aren’t being displaced. As a result of they’re investing public {dollars}, they need to personal the asset.

“There may be some funding that we have been unable to go after as a result of the property needed to be held publicly. The acquisition has really opened some doorways for us.”

Past the fundraising and completion of Part 1, Stratford stated his nonprofit will proceed to hunt out first-hand accounts and photographs from individuals who hung out there, notably in the course of the many years that it served as an Elks Lodge for African American members.

“We need to be sure we’ve the chance to rejoice the distinctive cultural heritage of this constructing,” he stated.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected] On Twitter @Starburch.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Homosexual at [email protected]

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