Tempe's Gringo Star Street Bar Opens Today -- Here's a Sneak Peek at its Art and Arcade Games

Categories: Visual Art

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Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
The neon sign inside Gringo Star Street Bar in Tempe during its soft opening Wednesday night.
When members of the college-aged party brigade or recent ASU grads looking to celebrate their milestone stroll into Gringo Star Street Bar this evening (and in all likelihood they will), they'll encounter a few things that are a bit foreign to the Mill Avenue nightlife scene. Namely, arcade games, skeeball, and street art.

Gringo Star, which officially opens to public consumption today and tonight, boasts all three of these in abundance, and Jackalope Ranch was allowed a sneak peek at the place on Wednesday during its soft opening.

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Four different artists, all of which are either local residents or Valley natives, created murals and other large pieces that cover most of its wall space inside the 6,500-square-foot bar/restaurant/nightspot, and anyone familiar with metro Phoenix's arts milieu will undoubtedly recognize some of the names involved.

JB Snyder's mural inside Gringo Star.

To wit: Painter and muralist JB Snyder transformed a cinder block wall behind seating near Gringo Star's rear bar with one of his signature stained glass-like multicolored creations crisscrossed with kinky black outlines.

And much like at exhibitions like the Artcade Show this past February or on buildings like The Dressing Room along Roosevelt Row, Snyder's efforts are in close proximity to cohort Sierra Joy.

Sierra Joy's painting near the bathrooms of Gringo Star.
Overlooking a pair of communal sinks outside the restrooms, toward the front of the establishment, is a tall rectangular piece by the female painter that -- like many of her works scene in downtown Phoenix -- depicts craggy mountain peaks and glowing orbs hanging in the sky above, which in this case, uses a palette of blue, orange, and white.

She also created an irreverent and colorful hopscotch path in blue and yellow that's right next to Gringo Star's collection of arcade games, in case any patrons want to re-enact the childhood game between drinking and Mortal Kombat 3.

Hartley Rodie, one of the bar's managing partners, told Jackalope Ranch that when Gringo Star's proprietors decided to include street art as a part of its décor, both Snyder and Joy were on their short list of locals to feature.

"We definitely wanted a local touch in here so those are the two artists we immediately thought of when we started to do some research," Roadie says.

The Sierra Joy-created hopscotch pattern at Gringo Star.


Location Info

Gringo Star Street Bar

501 South Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: General


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