Distrito Gets Neutered: From Colorful and Lively to Brown and Boring, This Makeover Ain't Makin' Sense

Categories: Restaurant News

Before and after: Distrito dining area.
Two weeks ago, Old Town Whiskey, Jose Garces' upscale saloon inside The Saguaro hotel in Old Town, shuttered to be used as event space. But unbeknownst to Garces' fans, his modern Mexican restaurant just down the hall was undergoing an arguably worse fate: getting its cojones cut off.

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In what appears to be more or less a reverse makeover, Distrito has gone from colorful and lively to brown and boring. But, hey, at least there's the barbacoa. Nope, that's gone, too.

Before and after: Distrito bar
The sprawling space, once filled with an array of bright pink and glitter, as well as plaid and floral patterns on tables, seating, and walls, has been replaced by taupe paint and the wicker and leather furniture from Old Town Whiskey, a few potted plants, and wood tables with centerpieces involving stalks of wheat.

Laura Hahnefeld
Old Distrito graveyard
In addition, Distrito's marquee over the bar has vanished, the guacamole and tortilla stand is now a DJ booth (actually, it has been for a year), and the entryway, once filled with brightly painted Día de los Muertos skull masks, has been replaced by a ubiquitous piece of desert art.

Where has the old Distrito gone? For a glimpse of its past, one need only take a peek into the private dining area in the back. There, some of the splashy tables, chairs, and lounge cushions have been crammed together in what feels like more of a storage space than a place to eat.

So what gives with the nondescript hotel-restaurant look? For the answer, I went straight to the source.

Location Info


4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Ummm did you try the food? You should give the new items a try, they are fantastic. The new cocktails are amazing as well. We had several Mescal Mules over dinner and they were delicious. Maybe you should focus on food when you do reviews rather than decor. Actually, most people couldn't stand the original look. EAT there, it's much more relaxed and personal!

Jill Louise Christiansen
Jill Louise Christiansen

The owner still doesn't even give a reason why he did it. Pretty lame. He probably sold out to whomever is pulling his strings.

Mark LaPalm
Mark LaPalm

How sad. Designing to the lowest common taste.


@chefbigjon Hi chefbigjon. You may want to read the post again -- it isn't a review. I have reviewed Distrito and liked it quite a bit not to mention awarding it a "Best Of" in 2012 -- both of which make this remodel more disheartening.

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