Jul 25, 2022 - Food and Drink

ASU faithful say goodbye to The Vine with sing-alongs and apple pie shots

A woman holding a large beer under a sign that says "The Vine."
Jessica at The Vine on Saturday, the Tempe bar's final night. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

I went to say goodbye to The Vine on Saturday, its final night before closing its doors after 36 years.

ICYMI: The Vine confirmed to Axios Phoenix earlier this month that the beloved ASU watering hole at Rural Road and Apache Boulevard was sold to a developer who planned to demolish it.

State of play: The bar's last night was every bit as nostalgic, hilarious and heartbreaking as you might expect.

  • Hundreds of people — from current students to folks who haven't been inside a classroom in four decades — crammed inside every nook and cranny of the A-frame.
  • They led sing-alongs to "Friends in Low Places," took videos of their last apple pie shots (still only $1!) and hugged their favorite security guards on the way out the door.

Was the floor sticky? Yes. Did the beer sort of taste like the taps hadn't been cleaned in 36 years? Yes. Was it still hard to say goodbye? Also yes.

I asked a few longtime patrons to share their favorite memories at The Vine.

  • Kirk Larson said he had his second date at The Vine, on March 30, 1989, with the woman he would be married to for 22 years. He came from north Scottsdale to see the booth — the first one on the left — one last time.
  • Jeff Cayton said he'd been coming to The Vine since it opened, when he was a freshman at ASU. As a Delta Tau Delta fraternity member, he pretty much lived there, where the booze was inexpensive and no one cared that he was underage.
  • A couple, who (understandably) didn't want to be named, went into (too much) detail about how they conceived their first child in the men's bathroom in 1986. They said they went back on Saturday night to confirm that the stall hadn't changed but promised me they did not reenact anything.

Our thought bubble: I'm usually not one to bemoan change, but there's something so sad about downtown Tempe losing the institutional gathering places where generations of ASU students made bad decisions.

Besides Casey Moore's Oyster House, are there any iconic bars left?

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