Scottsdale Bar AZ/88 is closed for a makeover. What to expect when it reopens

If you’ve been to the heart of Old Town Scottsdale lately, you’re no doubt aware of the major construction work on the east side of Main Street. It is a huge project to redesign the area known as Scottsdale Civic Center. Renderings show luxurious urban landscaping reminiscent of areas such as Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter. It’s going to be chic.

But navigating around this gated development that’s now just dirt and digging equipment is pretty clunky, especially for confused visitors asking, “Where’s AZ/88?”

The good news is that this popular destination is currently undergoing a renovation of its own.

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Construction is underway at AZ/88.

Mr P-Body

Apart from construction detours, AZ/88 is often difficult to find for first-time visitors. For the uninitiated, AZ/88 is a contemporary bar with attractive glass architecture, an inviting patio and unusual modern art installations that rotate all year round. The name is a simple reference to Arizona and the year 1988 when it first opened.

Customers love the overflowing martinis, simple and consistent bar menu, and unique bathroom mirrors. In short, it is a staple of Arizona for locals and visitors alike with a unique atmosphere that anyone aged 21 or 71 can enjoy.

With all the hassle, this renovation is certainly not a bar rescue. Still, AZ/88 customers can get ready for a new look with the unveiling on Tuesday, September 27.

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AZ/88 will soon have a brand new bar and new tiles in the interior space and patio.

Mr P-Body

There will be a brand new bar that has always been the center of attention for both the guests and the business. They sell a lot of food like any popular restaurant, but the official name and logo is ‘AZ/88 The Bar’.

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The Pornstar Martini at AZ/88 comes with a shot of champagne.

Tirion Morris

As part of the $600,000 plan, the cocktail bar was completely demolished for a rebuild. It will soon be bigger, faster and brighter. Dale Jodoin was CEO for the past 32 years and now President.

“We thought now was a good time to remodel as the Civic Center prepares to upgrade our area with many concerts and festivals planned,” says Jodoin. “For our bar, we wanted to make it bigger to increase capacity and more functional for faster drinks service.”

Enter Don Carsten, a prolific commercial designer known for his work on five Mastro’s restaurants, including the City Hall location and at least 40 other establishments.

“The back bar for the bottles will have updated lighting and the stainless steel aesthetic will be replaced with some sort of white quartz for a cleaner look,” says Carsten. “The bar will also have four high tables, as well as a pair of long communal tables that can seat eight or ten people. With marble studs and waterfall edges, they will compliment the contemporary, open and white design of AZ/88.”

He should know. The designer has been a regular patron of AZ/88 from the start. He describes the venue as “half a fishbowl” because it has two sides of full glass, from floor to ceiling. Patrons waiting for access on the south side walkway, which Jodoin notices is also getting an upgrade, can already see who’s inside.

“It’s always about people watching and seeing who’s there,” says Carsten about the atmosphere in the bar. This observation may contribute to the design decision to remove the small foyer glass wall of the entrance and replace it with a low wall. Because of this, customers waiting for seats will feel more of a part of the energy, especially on weekends.

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Construction is underway at AZ/88.

Mr P-Body

“On the entire terrace and interior, all Italian floor tiles will be replaced with new ones and new chairs and bar stools will be installed,” says Carsten. “We are also replacing bathroom sinks with innovative Bradley brand designs.”

If a lot of this cosmetic work sounds like they’re just “doing it for the Gram”, Jodoin clarifies: “Another reason for this renovation is to address some 30 years of wear and tear. So when all the work is done and we open again we don’t want customers to expect the place to be practically unrecognizable, that’s not what we ever had in mind.”

AZ/88 is scheduled to finish construction on September 26 and reopen the following day. Don’t worry – the bathroom mirrors will still be there.

AZ/88 The Bar

7353 Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale

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