The Sail Inn in Tempe to Close in June
For the past decade or so, the unique-looking logo of Tempe live music venue The Sail Inn has depicted a jaunty little schooner gliding off into the sunset. And, in a cruel twist of irony, it's appropriately symbolic of what's about to happen to the popular dive bar and rock haven.
tempearizonadailyphoto.blogspot.com The Sail Inn: 1990-2006 and 2009-2014.
Gina Lombardi, longtime owner of The Sail Inn, has revealed to New Times that the venue will be closing at the end of June after more than 20 years of serving as a go-to venue for the Tempe music scene.
"My heart is bleeding about it," she says. "I've been really trying to keep my chin up and say to myself, 'We've had a really good run.' But inside, I'm saying to myself, 'This is my baby. I've put so much of myself into here.'"
Lombardi says that The Sail Inn will shutter on June 29 due to the new property owner, who purchased the 1.34-acre parcel and the building itself last year, wanting to redevelop the land. According to the City of Tempe's website, it will eventually host multiple restaurants (possibly either new locations of Culinary Dropout and/or The Lodge), as well as a coffee shop, fitness studio, and retail space.
"Big developers have taken over the Sail Inn and it's going to become a restaurant," she says. "If the developers hadn't bought it, The Sail Inn would keep on rolling."
The Sail Inn's impending closure, which will take place on June 29, will serve as the closing chapter in the venue's long, colorful, and unusual history. Lombardi originally opened the bar, which is located along Farmer Avenue a few blocks west of downtown Tempe, back in 1990 when the property was known as Last Chance Lounge.
She ran it for 15 years and hosted thousands of local and touring bands, particularly those of the rock, pop and jam band variety. While Grateful Dead tribute act The Noodles were practically synonymous with The Sail Inn, as they held weekly jam sessions at the bar on Sunday afternoon, it also regularly featured recognizable names from the Tempe music scene from 1990 onwards.
Lombardi wound up selling the property for $1.5 million in 2006 to a local investor, who remodeled it into a gaudy nightclub called Trax. It didn't last long, closing in 2008, which opened the door for her to revive The Sail Inn in 2009.
"Trax failed miserably and since I loved the old Sail Inn so much, I leased it and brought it back."
And it once again became a preferred destination for Tempe bands and musicians.