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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson bar gets even plusher

    Renovations continue at Plush, a night club on the corner of 4th Avenue and 6th Street, on Feb. 6, 2010.  Plush is trying to expand on their reputation for being a live music venue by creating a relaxed atmosphere.
    Renovations continue at Plush, a night club on the corner of 4th Avenue and 6th Street, on Feb. 6, 2010. Plush is trying to expand on their reputation for being a live music venue by creating a relaxed atmosphere.

    Plush just got a little more Tucson. Walls lined with 90 local band’s T-shirts, sewing materials woven into window coverings and pieces of old bottles melted in an in-house kiln — all prepared by the Plush staff and T-town artists — will define the club’s new look after Tuesday’s grand re-opening. The big kicker: you no longer have to be 21 to get in.

    Plush, known as a hotspot for live music, put its summer plans to renovate the club into action — and has just opened its new multilevel club interior to crowds of all-ages, especially those at the UA.

    The renovations began with a new sign, a replacement of the multicolor sign that, according to Event and Marketing Director Cathy Rivers, had many wondering whether Plush was a gay club. But the final renovations closed down the nighttime spot for close to three weeks, allowing for recycled materials and local artisans to make their mark on the club.

    “”We’re a really mixed clientele from old to young,”” Rivers said, adding that when the club first opened, they had a strong presence with the UA. Plush is trying to return to that heritage.

    By making the club available to all-ages, Plush faces some new challenges with Arizona liquor laws. One such law requires a barrier between areas with and without alcohol in venues. Plush wants to strike a balance between the law and the comfortable atmosphere hinted at in their name.

    “”We’re trying to welcome all ages without using a chain-link fence,”” Rivers said. Final plans for the barrier have not been set.

    Aesthetically, the club has taken on a more homemade feel.

    “”I feel like I’m in a big yard sale,”” Rivers said of the club during construction. The look was made possible by salvaged pieces of the old bar, along with thrift store finds and hard work by the staff, according to Rivers. Other aesthetic renovations include purple velvet partitions between rooms, new wooden benches and an interactive lighting piece that responds to movement.

    The establishment is made up of three separate buildings. The oldest was constructed in 1908, and each subsequent part has been added to, removed from or combined with the existing base over the following century.

    “”It has been a learning curve over the past 10 years and hopefully the new layout will make bar service easier and faster, and the music venue used to better advantage for the musicians who play throughout the week,”” wrote Maebelle Reed, owner of Plush, in an email. The renovation plan has been in the works for years, according to Reed.

    The “”loads of character”” the building has makes the space fun, Reed wrote, but “”also can make logistic issues for efficiency of service and use.””

    Recycled materials accompany a new raised area, with more bar service for patrons, as well as the addition of cappuccinos to Plush’s drink menu. A new food menu is also on its way, but is not ready as of Tuesday’s grand re-opening.

    “”We’re mainly known as a live-music venue,”” Rivers said. “”But we’re trying to be more than that.”” Rivers is planning to reach out to the UA School of Music to allow beginning players to have exhibitions and performances at the venue. During the first week of its re-opening, Plush will host a graduate school mixer, featuring a night of speed dating, followed by drinks on Plush’s two patios.

    “”We’re just trying to get more involved, for students to come down,”” Rivers said.

    Knitting nights, at which visitors can weave their own patterns into decorations, and more exhibits by performance artists are both part of Plush’s goal to welcome a diverse crowd.

    “”The biggest change is that it will be much more comfortable,”” Rivers said. “”Better service, better drinks, it will have a much more social atmosphere … you won’t just be in a bar knocking back booze.””


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