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"Highfalutin of the clubs": Largest country bar in Tucson a rare investment

Whiskey Roads reopens at new location at Foothills Mall
The new Whiskey Roads is set to become the region's largest country bar and nightclub.
Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-06 14:41:51-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A local country bar and nightclub is reopening as the biggest of its kind in Southern Arizona.

After a four month closure, Whiskey Roads is re-opening in a new building part of the Foothills Mall north of Tucson, across Ina Road from its old location, which was formally a Macaroni Grill.

The new, much larger space will become the largest country bar and nightclub in the area. It will feature two bars, two patios, two DJ stations and two separate dining areas with dozens of TV screens.

Opening day is Friday, Feb. 11.

Co-owner and Tucson native Fernando Gomez says the space is about 16,500 square feet, with a capacity more than three times larger than the old location (980, up from 296).

"I think Tucson’s in for a big surprise and they’re gonna love what they see," Gomez said.

Gomez says the original plan was always to move into this larger space, but the business needed to build up a reliable customer base first. It did that since first opening in 2019.

The previous location closed four months ago in order for this transition to take place.

The new spot features a stage and dance floor about twice as big as their counterparts in the original bar. There's also separate green room near the stage. That makes it a more enticing venue for traveling and local country artists.

“I mean, people try to do what we do, but they just don’t go as big as we do," Gomez said. "We just like nicer things. We’re the highfalutin of the clubs.”

The club is an investment that the Tucson area does not see too often.

Large clubs of any kind have been hard to find on the north side of the Tucson area since the New West/Gotham nightclub on Ina Road was shut down in 2002.

Gomez believes one reason why is that the cost of opening one can be exorbitant.

For example, Gomez and his team told KGUN Friday that the rennovations to the new building alone cost more than $500,000. And that a typical insurance policy for a club of this size can be $40,000 or more each year.

Gomez believes that in this case, that investment was worth it. The bar even hired 20 additional staff members to help better manage the larger space.

“Everybody better get some rest, because we’re gonna be super super busy," Gomez said.