New Sports Bar Varsity Tavern Opens on Mill Ave.

If you’re a fan of Mill Ave’s recently opened Rodeo Ranch, then head upstairs to a brand new concept from the same team. Reign Group, the Texas-based hospitality company and the team behind the country bar, has just opened their second concept Varsity Tavern. The new 8,000-square-foot venue is somewhere between a high-energy sports bar with can’t-beat eats and a where-to-be-seen nightclub with live music and bottle service. Located on the second floor in the iconic building on the southeast corner of 5th St. and Mill Ave., Varsity Tavern offers a dine-drink-play experience like none other. 

“With Varsity Tavern, we’re pushing the dining and entertaining limits on Mill Avenue,” said Josh Reagan, Co-Owner of Reign Group. “That’s because Varsity Tavern delivers more than what you might expect to find in downtown Tempe. The Varsity Tavern experience is going to be similar to what you might find in downtown Scottsdale in terms of DJs, light shows, live music entertainment and first-class bottle and dining service.”

For starters, the dining experience is an elevated take on feel-good food. Led by Executive Chef Albert Hernandez (former executive chef of Monti’s La Casa Vieja), the menu was created in partnership with Chef Robert McGrath (famous Valley chef and James Beard Award-winner). The menu features Texas-style food with Arizona flair. Standouts include a tamale pie, pot roast sliders, barbecue pork ribs, THE Sloppiest Sloppy Joe and, wait for it…funnel cakes. Even the most basic of items, boast eye-catching names like F’n Caesar Salad and Cute Lit’l Corn Dogs. They’re even serving up brunch on Sundays and Mondays with dishes like potted huevos rancheros, banana foster toast and a Big Benny. On the other end of the dining spectrum, the full-service bar pours up everything from craft beer, wine and premium bottle service to signature cocktails like spicy margaritas and frozen blueberry mojitos.

In between bites and sips, enjoy an artificial lawn, bar seating, outdoor entertainment with yard games and high-def TVs. The indoor-outdoor venue also has an outdoor bar and a DJ spinning most nights. There will also be nightly features and promos like Gold Fish Races on Mondays and Bada Bingo on Wednesdays. 

In addition to Rodeo Ranch and Varsity Tavern, Reign Group is planning a third concept to open later this year on the third floor, complete with a rooftop bar and lounge. Following that, a Texas barbecue concept is expected to open in 2019 on the first floor of the building adjacent to Rodeo Ranch.

Varsity Tavern is open Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight. 

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