Local businesses celebrate now that the Sixth Avenue underpass has reopened

May 27, 2022
By Matt Sterner

"Thank you to all of you for keeping our spirits up."

Come one, come all. For some, it’ll be like taking a trip down Memory Lane if they’ve been avoiding a certain section of Sixth Avenue, all due to the road construction, of course. For others, it’s a sigh of relief due to the fact that the underpass and the intersection at Seventh Street are once again open to traffic.

EXO Roast Co. and Tap & Bottle

Just a few days ago, construction crews packed up barriers and roadblocks, allowing thirsty visitors to easily park along Sixth Avenue for a coffee, beer, or just for the heck of it. It’s been a while since folks have had the chance to drive through the underpass, so there’s no need to question their plans.

However, the local businesses in the vicinity are likely the most excited about the progress of the new roadway named “Downtown Links.”

The tunnel and intersection closed last August and the construction was expected to be finished by March of this year. Sure, it’s a little late but let’s look beyond that and celebrate with the businesses that made adjustments, powered through the emptiness, and had fun over the last few months.


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A post shared by Exo Roast Co (@exoroastco)

EXO Roast Co.

The shop that had a front-row seat to the work that’s literally breaking ground around the area, EXO Roast Co., was gifted back its parking spots, new sidewalks for more foot traffic, and plenty of extra smiles.

EXO Roast, which is across the street from Miller’s Surplus at 403 N. Sixth Ave. is one of the many that stuck it out during the pandemic and is now open daily from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. On top of that, the crew opened a brand new location found on the other side of downtown at 196 W. Simpson St.

EXO Roast Co. Photo courtesy of EXO Roast Co. on Instagram

“This calls for a celebration,” EXO Roast Co. shared on Instagram.

Also, don’t forget that the Crisol Bar, every Thursday, is hosting agave spirits tastings at the Simpson location. Go ahead and expand your knowledge on mezcal in a comfy atmosphere.

Tap & Bottle

Next door, Tap & Bottle is awaiting your order at 403 N. Sixth Ave. #135. The taproom had been serving to-go only during the earlier part of the pandemic and reopened the indoor seating a year ago this month. Although, road construction put a damper on things a couple of months later.

There’s parking along the street, a new concrete ramp and stairway near the entrance, and they’re open from noon – 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, noon – 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and noon – 11 p.m. on Thursday – Saturday.

“A huge thank you to all of you for keeping our spirits up during construction and for continuing to support all the local businesses on Sixth Avenue during all of this,” Tap & Bottle shared on Instagram.

EXO Roast Co. and Tap & Bottle Photo by Isaac Stockton

Plus, as a reminder, Tap & Bottle North is 7254 N. Oracle Rd. has been slingin’ brews daily and the west side location, Westbound, is a great spot to enjoy a brew or cocktail in the refreshing breeze.

The Royal Room

There’s a lot to say about The Royal Room at 450 N. Sixth Avenue. From the stained glass that ignites the interior with an array of colors, to the royal room that’s been inspired by the home featured in the film The Royal Tennenbaums, it’s been great to see the business rolling with the ebbs and flows of roadwork.

At first, Sixth Avenue appeared to be closed to traffic at Sixth Street, but soon enough, visitors learned that you can still travel past the barricades — there’s even a convenient parking spot directly in front of the bar if you look hard enough.

The Royal Room Photo courtesy of The Royal Room on Instagram

“We’re so stoked that Sixth Avenue is back open,” said Ian Stupar, owner of The Royal Room. “But we’re even more stoked on everyone that has come and made The Royal Room what it’s become. Thanks so much to all of you that have come and been here along the way. Love ya, mean it.”

The crew is behind the bar serving up drinks from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. on Sunday – Thursday and 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Grab yourself a signature bucket hat while you’re there, too.

Anello & Crooked Tooth Brewing Company

The local pizza joint at 222 E. Sixth St. and brewery 228 E. Sixth St. have had their challenges over the last few months, too. For instance, parking in the alley found on Arizona Avenue hasn’t always been an easy mission to accomplish.

With the surrounding streets wearing big bandages on their boo-boos, the pair have dealt with even fewer parking spots during the makeover. However, those days are getting better and the beer on tap and pizza slices are yummier than ever.

Crooked Tooth Brewing Company Photo courtesy of Crooked Tooth Brewing Company on Facebook

Crooked Tooth Brewing Company is open from 3 – 10 p.m. on Monday – Thursday, noon – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon – 10 p.m. on Sunday. Anello is noon – 9 p.m. on Tuesday – Saturday.

John Henry’s

Last but not least, you’ve got to pay a visit to “Bar.” That’s what the sign says on the outside of the building, at least. Though its regular visitors know it’s John Henry’s at 117 N. Sixth Avenue —   some still like to call it Bar just for fun.

With the underpass reopening, it’s much easier for wanderers to find themselves in the AC-chilled, art-filled, and welcoming bar near Pennington Street.

The Bar is open 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. on Wednesday – Sunday and 4 p.m. – midnight on Monday and Tuesday.

More changes coming to the area

With all of the changes that the city has been through over the last couple of years, it’s wonderful to see local businesses overcome the odds and power through the rougher days of the Downtown Links construction. Plus, as construction continues on the road, a historic building is getting a bit of a facelift as well.

Sixth Avenue construction Photo by Isaac Stockton

Corbett Lane is shaping up to be an “old school” burger joint, beer garden, five pickleball courts, and 188 parking spots. You read that correctly, there’s going to be 188 parking spots.

Read our April 2022 article “Burger joint, beer garden, Latin fusion concept & more coming to downtown Tucson.”

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