Three new bars and restaurants are coming to Tempe’s Mill Avenue

TEMPE, AZ — During the day, Anoche Cantina will function as a modern canteen with food, drinks and a buildable margarita bar, while Six40rty will have sliders, lawn games and a sports bar atmosphere.

At night, both will transform into high-energy nightclubs with DJs and bottle service.

Both concepts are part of Ascend Hospitality Group, a black women-led hotel group based in Bellevue, Wash., east of Seattle. The group owns and operates nearly a dozen restaurants in Washington, Oregon and Utah.

Anoche Cantina and Six40rty will be the group’s first concepts on the Arizona market.

Anoche Cantina is set to open in the former El Hefe space on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe, near 6th Street, and Six40rty will open in the former Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row space on Sixth Street, across from Snakes & Lattes (El Hefe and Dierks closed Tempe sites in 2020).

It’s unclear exactly when the two concepts are expected to open, but “hiring now” banners have recently been installed and social media accounts have launched.

In an email to ABC15, Erin James, head of marketing and media for Ascend Hospitality Group, said they weren’t ready to announce their opening times yet, but would when they were.

According to the website, the two nightclubs hire all positions, from bands and DJs to chefs, managers, promoters, servers, bartenders and cooks.


Despite some recognizable closures in recent years — El Hefe, Whiskey Row, Ted’s Refreshments, Rula Bula’s Irish Pub, Gordon Biersch — the Downtown Tempe Authority, which promotes and defends businesses in downtown Tempe, said more businesses would open in Tempe in 2021 than closed — 43 openings versus 13 closings, according to their market report.

Comparatively, in 2020, DTA reported 37 business closures and 13 openings, and in 2019, 22 businesses closed and 27 opened, according to the report, which was shared with ABC15.

Another ongoing project is the renovation of the former Rula Bula space. Rula Bula closed in 2021 after it was unable to reach an agreement on a new lease with Florida-based Wexford Developments, the building’s owner.

Julian Wright, who has opened a host of downtown businesses including Pedal Haus, intends to open three concepts inside the former Rula Bula space, according to Wexford.

One of those will be a second location for Sake Haus, a Japanese bar and restaurant that Wright is also opening in downtown Phoenix (former Dressing Room PHX space).

Wright confirmed the project to ABC15 in a text message. The other two concepts have yet to be announced.