The Vine re-opens here with lots of wings, screens

Manager Trent Robertson and Assistant Manager Margie DiFiore are running the new Vine Tavern & Eatery in Ahwatukee Foothills. (Geri Koeppel/AFN Contributor)

Everyone who had a connection with the Vine Tavern & Eatery on Apache Boulevard said their farewells to the popular watering hole near Arizona State University’s Tempe campus that poured its last drinks on July 23.

But now, Ahwatukee Foothills is welcoming a new, more grown-up version of the college favorite at 3820 E. Ray Road, Suite 30. It opened Friday, Aug. 12, and a grand reopening is planned for this Friday, Aug. 19, with free swag from beer reps and a one-time-only special.

“We’ll do our famous apple pie shooter for $1 for that day and that day only,” said Trent Robertson of Mesa, general manager for the Vine in Ahwatukee. They’ll still be on the drink menu after that, he added, but for $2. The days of $1 drinks for which The Vine on Apache was known have been left behind in fuzzy memories only.

Robertson, Assistant Manager Margie DiFiore and the entire staff from the Apache location—except for the security, which they say isn’t needed in Ahwatukee—came to the new location.

They’re also hiring more servers, food runners, hostesses and bussers.

Robertson and DiFiore say their goal is to provide a straightforward, friendly neighborhood sports bar with no gimmicks and great service.

“By the end of the first month, we’ll be calling people by their first names,” Robertson said.

The menu is the same at both locations of the Vine, featuring their popular wings in 18 flavors (on special every Tuesday for $12.99 a dozen) as well as salads, sandwiches/wraps, burgers, pasta and entrees like grilled salmon, street tacos and hot roast beef.

There’s also a low-carb platter and a kids’ menu. Most prices are in the teens, with nothing over $18.99.

DiFiore added that the Ahwatukee Vine will have more of a family feel, similar to the other location of the Vine on Elliot and Rural roads.

Also, the drink selections cater to a more adult demographic than the one near Arizona State University, “which is exciting for us, because all college kids wants to drink is PBR and vodka tonic,” DiFiore said.

The Vine in Ahwatukee has an extensive bar selection, including 24 taps with a variety of domestic and craft brews along with an assortment of bottled beers, seltzers, wine and cocktails.

Also, it carries local products from places like PHX Beer Co., San Tan Brewing Company and State 48 Brewery. Pints will run $4–$6.

Sports are a main focus as well, with 34 screens indoors and out.

“Football Sunday’s going to rock and roll here, that’s for sure,” Robertson said.

They might also add breakfast only on Sundays and a trivia night, though they’re not sure which day of the week. A happy hour will run 3-7 p.m. daily with discounted drinks and select appetizers.

The space has room for more than 200, including an expansive patio, which is sure to draw crowds when it cools off.

Sorry; no dogs are allowed right now because they don’t have the permits. “We will revisit that issue later on,” Robertson said.

The interior includes new tables and a rebuilt center U-shaped bar that’s always been there since the time it was Teakwood Tavern & Grill. They also removed the additional bar from the former Angry Crab Shack, and custom booths will be installed along one wall.

Longtime Ahwatukee residents might recall the Vine Tavern & Eatery had a location years ago at 4855 E. Warner Road, but it closed in 2005. It’s now home to Philly’s Sports Grill.

The original Vine opened in Iowa City in 1970 as an Irish pub, according to the history on the website for the location in south Tempe.

Current owner Joe Kennedy bought it in 1983, and he opened the first Arizona location near ASU in 1986. The one on Elliot Road opened in 1992. A fourth Vine in Coralville, Iowa, opened in 1998.

Robertson said Kennedy sold the Apache location for development, but he wasn’t sure what will go on the site. A City of Tempe spokesperson said no plans have been filed yet.

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