When Char's Has The Blues reopens next week it will have a new name — Char's Live — and an updated look, but the bar's new ownership hopes to preserve the same inviting atmosphere many of its longtime regulars enjoyed for decades.
When the pandemic first hit Arizona, Char's Has The Blues closed and was subsequently put up for sale. Now, the 2,245-square-foot music venue is scheduled to open on Friday, Feb. 4 at 4631 N. 7th Avenue, near Seventh and Highland avenues in central Phoenix.
For new owner David Cameron, a real estate investor in the Valley, buying the local staple may not have been in the cards initially, but ultimately turned into a serendipitous opportunity.
In a phone interview on Friday morning, Cameron recalled visiting the Melrose District a few years ago after purchasing another property in the area, when he noticed a bunch of cars outside a business late into the night, and he was curious about all the commotion.
"This whole area was packed with cars, overflowing, and I had to see what was going on," he said. "So I'm in my shirt and my gym shorts and my baseball cap"
"I went in and sat down at the bar. And I was sort of out of place with what I was wearing, but I could tell that energy in that room was very exciting," he said.
As he left, some lady apparently asked him what brought him to Char's that night. "I'm new to the area and looking for a job," Cameron recalled.
Months later, someone showed him an Instagram post that Char's Has The Blues was up for sale, and after some research and number-crunching, Cameron decided to buy the building with a couple of other investors.
Since then, the team has been renovating the space, bringing areas up to code, and giving it a fresh look ahead of the grand re-opening.
"It's all brand new: new bar, new equipment, new seating, new flow," said Cameron. What's not changing, the dance floor, the neon, and the historic photographs.
Next door, Cameron said there are plans to build a food truck park of sorts, but when that will ultimately happen is a few months out. He wants to make sure the community wants that and would support it.
And it's one of a few projects that Cameron said he has in the works. He's keeping the details secret for now, but said Tempe, near ASU, is an area that he is keenly interested in.
When it opens, Char's Live will be open daily, 5 p.m. - midnight (until 2 a.m. Thursday - Saturday).