May 5, 2023 - Food and Drink

Goodbye, Armadillo Grill: Requiem for a trivia night bar

An excavator sorts through rubble in a fenced off site next to a sign that says Brenda's Inferno.

Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

I was driving down Camelback Road on Tuesday and witnessed a heartbreaking sight — Brenda's Inferno, formerly known as the Armadillo Grill, was being bulldozed.

Flashback: Armadillo's Inferno, as I'd taken to calling it after its name change in 2020, was my weekly trivia night spot for many years.

  • My team, dubbed the Blue Comet, started going in late 2016 after our previous trivia venue lost its liquor license, and it became our Wednesday night home.
  • It was a standing engagement where you didn't bother to let people know you were coming. You texted only if you couldn't make it.
  • We were such regulars that the bar automatically reserved our table each week, the servers knew our orders by heart and we had a collection of running jokes with the quizmaster.

Why it matters: A friend invited me to join the Blue Comet's weekly outings when I first moved home to Phoenix from Utah in 2008. For the next 12 years, trivia night was a big part of my life, and now represents a bygone era of great memories.

  • Even though trivia night became a victim of the pandemic, and parenthood ensured our weekly ritual wouldn't resume, it was still sad to see our bar being demolished.
  • I stopped to snap some photos of its leveling and lingered a few extra moments, watching the excavator sort through the rubble and thinking about all the good times we had there.

1 last hurrah: The Blue Comet reunited in 2021 for a final trivia night before Brenda's Inferno closed its doors forever.

  • Sadly, our pre-pandemic dominance didn't carry us to victory one last time — we took second place, if memory serves — but we had a great time and were even lucky enough to get our favorite server.
  • We probably still have a few hundred dollars' worth of gift certificates left over from our many trivia night wins.

Meanwhile: Armadillo Grill (as I'll always remember it) may be gone, but Team Trivia lives on.

  • There are plenty of locations in the Valley; so if you're into trivia, check it out sometime.
  • My bar trivia nights are mostly behind me, but that doesn't mean we’ll never reemerge again.

What's next: Check back Monday for some news about what's moving into the spot at 1902 E. Camelback Road.

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