25 September, 2020, 15:44

The End of World of Beer in Downtown Tucson is Near

The end is near for World of Beer in Arizona, as all three locations have been purchased and will be replaced with another beer-centric concept.

Multiple sources close to the deal say that Scottsdale-based Square One Concepts, Inc.will announce the deal within two weeks. Square One owns and operates six current concepts, including Old Town Scottsdale’s Wasted Grain, Bourbon & Bones, and Crab & Mermaid, as well as Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, which has three locations in Scottsdale, one in Chandler, and one in San Diego.

Square One also owns Pacific Beach Shore Club and Bootlegger, both in San Diego. WOB and Square One representatives have not returned requests for comment.

Sources say Square One will introduce a new craft-beer concept in the Tucson, Tempe, and Gilbert locations. Members of the WOB staff from the Tucson and Tempe locations, who asked not to be named, said their jobs will be retained.

Following its opening in November 2013, the Tucson World of Beer has seen five general managers and has hired and replaced more than 100 staff members. Known for its huge international and local craft beer selection — with more than 550 rotating options — complaints abounded about unknowledgeable staff, high beer and food prices, and long waits for service during busy times.

Unlike the majority of the Tampa-based WOB locations, Tucson was one of the first to offer in-house food options. While incorporating a kitchen was a novel idea at the time, it ultimately failed during busy times. Given WOB’s location underneath The Cadence Student Housing, the kitchen could not incorporate a proper ventilation system necessary for open grills and fryers. The current kitchen uses two Turbo Chef commercial high speed ovens and closed deep friers.

With the three Arizona closures, 11 WOB locations have closed in the past year. WOB opened its first location in Tampa in 2007. The Tempe location, which opened in 2012, was the furthest west for the company when it opened in 2012. The Tucson location was the lowest grossing location in Arizona, and stopped its weekday lunch service six months ago.

Ty Young is a freelance writer and former bartender at World of Beer and Old Chicago in Tucson. He also consults with local restaurants and bars about beer selection and menu pairing.