When it comes to neighborhood bars, cleanliness and professionalism usually aren’t the stand-out qualities. However, tucked away by a laundromat and fried fish shack, Louie’s Pub excels on both fronts.
Louie’s Pub is located at 746 E. Fort Lowell Rd., near First and Fort Lowell; although the intersection doesn’t have the same notoriety as Grant and Alvernon, it comes close. While Louie’s facade doesn’t feature a shiny sign, you notice the polish as soon as you step inside.
First, the bartender immediately greets you. If you’ve met, they greet you by name.
Second, you notice how clean the place smells. It’s not that the place smells like Fabuloso or some other cleaning agent; there are no “dive bar smells” (I’ll spare you the examples). It’s both refreshing and relieving.
As your eyes adjust to the darkness of a bar (assuming you are stepping in from daylight), you see Tucson bar staples such as U of A decor and pool tables. However, you don’t have to look hard to see that the place is spotless—from the bar tops to the air vents.
Louie’s Pub opened mid 2017, yet they’ve already won reader’s choice awards for best bar two years in a row. Bartender Samantha Comeau also won best female bartender. However, the superlatives don’t end there. Exceptional service can be expected from the entire staff at Louie’s.
Even if owner Louie Lazos is already in a conversation with another guest, he’ll say hi to you too.
“By the time you leave you’re going to know the entire bar,” Lazos said. “It’s just that environment. Everybody embraces everybody that comes in.”
Good vibes extend beyond the greetings as well. When it comes to music, hip hop and country music coexist in peace.
“It goes from Cardi B to Lizzo to Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson,” Lazos said. “It’s just such a diverse group, but it all works. Everybody respects everybody, and everybody has a good time.”
Louie’s Pub seamlessly transitions from morning into night. During daytime hours, a mixture of retirees, construction executives, and blue-collar workers unwind and relax with their drinks. As night approaches, the younger crowd begins to pour in. On Saturday nights, a DJ often keeps the night bustling.
While a pint of beer is a classic daytime choice, the michelada and scorpion bowls have a following. As it turns out, Lazos worked at Kon Tiki for 18 years.
“So many people knew me from over there too, and if they asked me for a scorpion, why would I not make them a scorpion,” Lazos said. “Especially if I made it for them for 18 years.”
In addition to the fruity tiki scorpion bowls, Louie’s Pub also features a signature shot called Kiss My Chili. The ingredients are secret, but they come in an assortment of flavors such as watermelon, peach, and mango. The sweet, sour, and spicy shots go down easy; try not to get carried away.
While the bar has a lively scene on the weekends, it isn’t the type to draw in binge-drinking shenanigans. In fact, Louie’s quickly made a positive impact by providing a safe comfortable space for the neighborhood.
Just over a year after opening, Tucson Mayor (at the time) Jonathan Rothschild stopped by to present Louie’s with a City of Tucson coin.
Lazos attributes his success to his wife Yvette Lazos and doing what makes sense to him.
“In my 18 years of being in this business, I’ve met a lot of amazing people, a lot of great people,” he said. “And I just think that when you treat people well and you give them great customer service, they remember that. And they follow you and they support you because of all the years that you did treat them so well.”
He also mentioned the possibility of opening a location on the east side; if you want that to happen, make sure to let him know in the comments below.
Louie’s Pub is located at 746 E. Fort Lowell Rd. Operating hours are 9 a.m. – 2 a.m. daily, including holidays. Keep up with Louie’s Pub on Facebook.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...