(Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Casa Video & Film Bar Celebrates 40 Years in Tucson

July 14, 2023
By Matt Sterner

Working at a video rental store back in 2004 was one of my favorite experiences in life. That said, there’s something very special and nostalgic about walking through the doors of Casa Video and Film Bar. Immediately, you’re greeted by one of the familiar faces behind the bar before wandering around the many aisles and grabbing some popcorn and a cold beer, wine, or non-alcoholic beverage.

You feel welcomed as if you’re entering a friend’s home — someone’s casa.

(Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

“Where else can you have a pint of Harland’s Japanese Lager, while feasting on The Curry Pot’s finest and watching ‘Rad’ on one of the many big screens after you just rented ‘Pearl’ on Blu-ray?” said Robert Blum of Casa Video. “We wouldn’t be here without the love and support of all our members and fans.”

On Friday, July 21, the video rental store and craft beer taproom are celebrating a big milestone: its 40th anniversary.

a room with a book shelf filled with books
(Photo by Hannah Hernandez)
This is 40

The owners of Casa Video and Film Bar — brother and sister, Gala and Ray Mellenberndt — first opened the shop in July 1983, at 1925 E. Grant Rd., now home to H.Q. Nails Spa. In 1985, they took over just one of the spaces at 2905 E. Speedway Blvd. (its current location) and as the other businesses left that location, Casa expanded.

a sign above a store in a brick building
The original location on Grant Road (Photo courtesy of Casa Video)

Once they heard that the building on Speedway was up for sale, they purchased the property. Then, in 1999, they closed down the Grant Road store.

Casa Video had already become such a well-known treasure that Blockbuster even attempted to purchase the store back in 2000. Luckily, the owners stuck to their roots and chose to keep Casa a Tucson staple. They never responded to the offer.

Casa Video has gone through a few changes since then, like partitioning the building so other businesses could set up shop (Marvelous Vintage and Kira Kira). Still, the video shop has at least 50,000 movie titles in stock to accompany its 20 beers on tap and hundreds of bottles and cans in the coolers. Plus, Casa has been a big supporter of local food trucks and has arguably one of the most up-to-date calendars in Tucson.

(Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Every day of the week, there’s the opportunity to get a free rental, too.

On Sunday and Thursday, you can get one free “Family” film rental, all one-day rentals are good for three days on Monday, it’s two-for-one rentals on Tuesday and Wednesday, and, if you fill up a growler with beer or cold brew from Yellow Brick Coffee, you’ll snag a two-for-one rental.

They always have a movie or TV show on, too, whether it be behind the bar or near the shelves of movies both upstairs and downstairs. With the addition of the taproom, which opened in December 2016, it’s easy to get absorbed into whatever is playing on the multiple TV screens and nearby conversations about films — discussions I’ve either started or eventually wiggled my way into.

(Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

I find myself at Casa Video nearly every week (I actually wrote a portion of this article while sitting in the taproom). I mean, with the hours of operation being 10 a.m. – 1 a.m. every day of the week, it’s a go-to not just for me but for the Tucson masses.

Did you know they’re also open 365 days a year? Yep, fans of beer, movies, and good times, rejoice – they’re even open on holidays.

(Photo by Hannah Hernandez)
40th Anniversary Party

As mentioned earlier, Casa Video and Film Bar has a big birthday party planned on Friday, July 21, at 7 p.m.

Actually, the team has been celebrating all year and, most recently, this month, but the big shebang on July 21 will include ’80s movies beginning at 10 a.m., the classic film “Can’t Buy Me Love” starts at 7 p.m. (it was filmed in Tucson), and the food truck CowPig will be making its first appearance in the Casa parking lot starting at 6 p.m.

They’re also currently selling limited-time 40th anniversary merch so be sure to grab a piece before it’s all gone.

The team behind the scenes of Casa Video would love to see you on Friday, July 21, and if this is your first time stopping by, bring your dearest friends and family along with you. Heck, if you decide to go alone, don’t worry about it because you’ll definitely feel like you’re home.

Casa Video and Film Bar is located at 2905 E. Speedway Blvd. For more information, visit casafilmbar.com and follow the video store and taproom on Facebook and Instagram.

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