Here’s How North Phoenix’s Furious Brewing Company Will Honor Joe’s Grotto Legacy
When the Furious Brewing Company debuts at the former home of Joe’s Grotto later this fall, it will have some DNA from the now-defunct North Phoenix rock bar and concert hall running through its veins.
Steve Goodman, co-owner of the new brewery that will open at 13831 North 32nd Street, # 32, says Phoenix New Times they reused several elements of Joe’s Grotto’s 25 year history while renovating the property over the summer.
The venue, which was operated by owner Joe Grotto from 1994 to 2019, has hosted hundreds of metal and hard rock concerts over its quarter-century, including local and touring artists like Alice Cooper, Flotsam and Jetsam, St. Madness, Otep, N17 and LA Guns.
“Joe’s Cave was an epic part of Phoenix [music history] for years and years, “says Goodman, a former guitarist with the local metal band Dominion of Pain of the late 90s and early 2000s.” It was important to me as a musician to ensure that we can preserve part of this heritage while bringing something new to the neighborhood. ”
This includes saving a pair of large mirrors covered in stickers from local hard rock and metal bands that graced the northwest wall of Joe’s Cave for years. Goodman says the mirrors are still in their original location and will be framed by a section of black wall with a beverage railing built in the front.
âIt was a big deal for us to keep him. These mirrors are a story of music in the valley and all the bands that have played [at Joeâs Grotto]. My band played there at one point and our sticker is buried somewhere in there as well, âsays Goodman. âWe left them aside so that all these groups could still be talked about and remembered. People can sit at the bar and play Where’s Waldo? with their favorite metal bands.
Goodman says various guitar picks (and even a wand or two) they found during the renovation of the property will be lacquered on top of the drink rail in front of the mirrors.
The brewery’s co-owners, which also include Chef Lindsay Gordon (formerly of Helluva Brewing Company in Chandler and Tempe’s Cotton & Copper), also use wood from the huge stage inside the main hall at Joe’s Grotto for build various two and four-person tables all over the place. Goodman says this is another way to take his hat off to the history of the place and “it wasn’t because we couldn’t afford new tables”.
âAs a metal fan, I saw Avatar, Static X, Motograter and all these awesome bands playing on this stage, and we wanted that mojo to be in everything,â he says. âSo the table where you drink beer is where Wayne Static was standing when he was playing here, which seemed like a good idea. ”
Goodman says the wood from the stage was also used to create planks on the Furious Brewing Company bar and a giant Arizona state wooden artwork that hangs on the wall.
Despite the property’s long history as a venue, Goodman says live music will not play a significant role in the future of the Furious Brewing Company other than hosting an occasional acoustic ensemble by local musicians.
âWe’ve been asked a lot about this, but we’re not going to be a concert hall,â he says. “If time and space allow, we have no problem having small [performances], but we don’t want to become another place with full bands and get super loud. The neighboring neighborhood is fed up with the noise after being faced with concerts until the early hours of the morning for over 20 years, so we try to be respectful of that.
This isn’t the only departure from the property’s history as Joe’s Cave. The owners of the Furious Brewing Company have completely transformed the 5,000 square foot space since signing a lease in early June. Black painted walls were avoided for exposed breeze blocks. The side room welcoming a second floor will become a living room with sofas and coffee tables. And most of the walls facing 32nd Street have been replaced with large windows offering views of the nearby Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
âOpening it all up and putting all those giant windows back inside allows for a perfect view of the sun setting over the mountains,â says Goodman.
They also built a small in-house brewing system to create a couple of signature drafts at the start – including a West Coast IPA, Misty IPA, and a California Common – with plans to expand their faucet line to the to come up. (âDue to the pandemic, it has been difficult to get hold of a large brewing system,â Goodman says.) There will also be a kitchen, which will eventually serve up the Furious Brewing Company’s version of the âbarbecue centric. ‘Arizona’ created by Gordon and smoked with locally sourced white oak.
Goodman says he hasn’t spoken to Grotto, who has booked rock and metal gigs at 44 Sports Grill & Nightlife in Glendale since July, about any changes they’ve made. (Phoenix New Times could not reach Grotto for comment.)
“For the most part, Joe’s Grotto was very dark, and I can understand why [Joe] did it since you want to make it as dark as possible for the shows, âGoodman says. âWe had to cancel all of this because we wanted our brewery to be welcoming, airy and bright, visually the exact opposite of what Joe’s Grotto was. At the same time, we try to keep some of the most recognizable pieces from his previous one. [identity] therefore part of his inheritance will live on.