Thursday, February 8, 2007

Mr. Lucky's - Phoenix, AZ



I found this rather amazing roadside sign off of Grant and 37th Ave. by accident in the Phoenix area. Although it is one of the better signs I have seen, I don't necessarily recommend going down there to visit it. As I drove near it a couple of maniac gentlemen with stolen goods and frightening dispositions where attempting to hitch-hike right next to the place, so I took these pictures from the car. Attempting the find some information I found a "review" of the place, which is really a summary of what it was like being "one of [the] 25 cocktail waitresses to open [in] 1966". I will copy her experience here:

"I worked at Mr. Lucky's for over a year. This place was the most exciting night club that I had ever worked and I have worked a few. I was a customer on many occasions. We had country music upstairs, and rock downstairs with the best entertainment. I remember serving entertainers such as Waylon Jennings, Charlie Pride, Glen Campbell, Ray Price and many others. Our club had the best entertainers in town as far as I was concerned. I worked upstairs all of the time. I loved the country entertainment and enjoyed watching the guests having such a wonderful time, dancing or sitting at their table. Many were cowboys with their western hats jeans and boots. I loved to watch them dance. I worked the cocktail hrs. from about 4 til 6. At that time we had the GO GO dancers and theirs feathers and bikinis and pastees, (nudity was OUT then) We had a dancer, named, Halley. People came from all over to see her dance. In the afternoon, many times a group of young cowboys would come in with their big hats, dirty old jeans, (even their guns, checked in @ door), just off the range, to watch the entertainment. They would leave and come back later, in their best western and hats and dance the night away. I think that I am lucky to have those good memories of Mr. Lucky's and the people who worked there. I am sure that there have been many changes since I left, and I am sure for the best. Mr. Lucky's was The place to go for entertainment. I haven't been to Mr Lucky's for many years but if I ever get back to Phoenix, this is the first place I would like to visit."

Poor lady, I imagine the changes theret are fairly dramatic in comparison to when the likes of Glen Campbell used to play there.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Mr. Luckys has gone downhill. I served in the army in the 80's, and flew to Phoenix from Hawaii to be in a wedding for some good friends of mine. We went to Mr. luckys one night during our stay in Phoenix and had a great time! I was hoping to get back to Phoenix soneday and looked to see if Mr luckys still was there. I was happy to see that it was, but now unfortunately I am not sure if it would be a good idea. Thank you for the info. I will alway remember the night I had there. Great time!

ryan said...

AMAZING SIGN!!!! i take pictures of old signs too, also motels, liquor stores, houses & apartment buildings from the 50s/60s

Megan said...

I came across your blog tonight after talking to my husband about the good times I use to have at Mr Lucky's when I was a kid. I remember the Halloween costume contests, line dancing, the all you can eat fish and chips Friday nights,the talent contests, and of course the bull riding! I loved that place.Of course after 9pm anyone under 21 had to leave. I thought it was cool that it was open to family, and they had family nights. It is sad they had to close it down. That area wasn't that bad "back in the day" either. as a 4th generation AZ native, I know a lot about the state and it is sad to see parts of it go downhill.Anyway...I miss the good times and good people at Mr Luckys. I am now over 21 and would LOVE to have been able to go there today.

Ruthi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruthi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruthi said...

Hi, I worked at Mr. Lucky's for 27 years and was there when the doors closed. After talking to a friend of mine in NC (about Mr. Lucky's) tonight, I found this blog and decided to write.

The stories I could tell--the fun we had working there, the people I had met--I was honored to be apart of the history of Mr. Lucky's. After seeing the change in the area, I was very sad to see the club close. But life goes on.

Ruthi

Anonymous said...

ITS OPEN ONCE AGAIN but with difrent music its no longer country or rock they now play spanish music...

Anonymous said...

sorry that you had that expierence im hispanic and have spend many nights at MR LUCKYS dancing the night away its actually one of the best dance clubs in phx with Mexican music. maybe not you taste but not for ppl to be talking this way about it. back in the day it was country music and maybe different but you also have to look at the way the world it self has been changing. there are bums, thieves, and losers everywhere not just on the corner of MR LUCKYS jess

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lucky's what a place I started goignt here as a child and then as time went past I worked there for a year it was the best place to hang out and have funI have some great memories of that place and made some great friends also. I was glade that was able to bring my children there for fish fries and the contest. I am sad that is closed now all we have is these bars that call themself country bars. I wish it would be open it was a great place. Thanks for the memories

michael said...

I had never been in there until i was old enough to enter legally. I had heard stories about it from familly who had been there so one night some friends of mine and i decided to go i had such a good time, the next day i applied for a bouncer position and was fortunate enough to get it. it was only part time on the weekends and i worked a regular day job, but looked forward to friday and saturday nights there, it wasn't really a job it was a great time i got paid to have. looking back now i tell my kids and friends who never had the opportunity to experience it,the anticipation when a country concert was playing that night wondering if they would show up and play, was awsome!!. the fun and great times i had, always makes me smile, when i think about it, i am very sad that it has gone but will never forget J. David, Jaylon and the rest of the people i worked with or i should say partied with because that is what it really was.

Sharon said...

I, too worked at Mr. Lucky's, a couple years back in the 70's. I remember you Ruthie. I loved, and miss, the Fish Frys. I met my first husband there and he and I have laughed over that in recent years. Ahhhh, the memories.

Kent said...

I was a barback at Mr. Lucky's back in 1979 through 1980 and it was one of the most memorable times of my life. I worked with some of the most able bartenders (Jeff Pittman, where are ya Bud?) and we partied every night like it was 1999. The music was hot, and the babes were even hotter. Oh, to be 25 and behind the bar at Mr. Lucky's again!

mickey said...

Wow talk about memories, I grew up in Lucky's My mom worked there for 10 years, and Ruthie oh how I miss you and everyone there, I can remember going in when I was only 6 years old, picking gum off the bottom of the tables...for my mom, running up and down the ramp...finally becoming of age, I worked there as well...My mom Bonnie and the crew Ron...(we miss you still!! rip) Arnie, and Steve... cant forget Tom Blanchard and Craig my fave!!! Now Im 42 and moved on , but I would love to go back and see how others have been. Sharon your name comes up , and my mom talks about you fondly, Patti and Stacia....we were truly a big family....My mom being single and us girls being almost raised on fish fry...could always call and ask, " Can I talk to my mom" everyone would know who we were...without asking...I miss J David ...can remember ,down stairs and the bands all to well, Asleep at the Wheel and others...We girls sang on Fri. with J David, and did a few shows of our own...So for now , Hope everyone is doing well....
mickey and mom (Bonnie)

mickey said...

ponderosaminiatures@rraz.net this is for sharon and ruthie if you ever come back here....
Mickey and Bonnie :)

annonymous said...

Ahh the memories of Mr. Lucky's a true honkytonk not a bar! I fondly remember Ruthi, Jay & rhonda, watching Jaylon grow up and hangin with the boys of Western Bred! You never knew who would walk in and jam with the band, the fish frys were great, and I remember watching Jordan Sparks singing in the kids contest at the fish frys. Boy do I miss those good ole days!

Anonymous said...

IN'80& '81 CLIFF & ME ROLLED INTO PHX. SELLING SOLAR WATER HEATING DURNING THE DAYS AND STARVING, WAITING FOR THE CHECKS TO COME IN. DROVE UP TO MR. LUCKY'S AND ASKED FOR JOBS, WE TOOK ON THE DOWNSTAIRS CROWD AND REMEMBER PUTTING UP ALOT OF CHAIRS BEFORE GETTING TO GO TO THE SUB SHOP FOR A HUNGRY MAN'S SUB!!!ALOT OF AFTER HOURS PARTIES NEEDED SECURITY SO WE HUNG IN THERE, WHAT A SPECIAL PLACE IT WAS..... CHARLIE C.

Anonymous said...

It's really cool to hear all the stories about Mr. Lucky's back in the day. Unfortunately I wasn't around then because I would have loved to have been a part of that history.

I however have an interesting twist to Mr. Lucky's history. When it was decided that it was time to close the doors, a group of nine Gringos decided to buy the place and convert it into a Mexican nightclub. It was a no lose venture given that the surrounding neighborhood had all but turned Spanish speaking and Mr. Lucky's reputation for being a great live music venue. We truly felt that by bringing the legendary Mr. Lucky's from the brink of certain destruction and converting it to something that the new community would embrace was the best for everyone.

Well, we succeeded in refurbishing the structure and rebranding the establishment but we were unable to make it work because we were white men in a Hispanic world. So almost a year to the day after we opened the doors to the new "Senor" Lucky's, we sold it to it's current owner. I hear they are doing a good job and hope to visit there again someday. I'm sure nobody will know who I am but I'll know that for a year, I was part of the long and honorable Mr. Lucky's history.

debbie mcgee said...

Debbie McGee said- I got on the last years of the good years 1998-2003. I enjoyed them and will cherish them. Cliff and Donna and others will missed you dearly. I am in the Palestine area now with Gary Buttolph again trying to ride out this crazy life. J. David cheers to you and everyone. I had many happy dances there!

Jaylon Shane said...

I actually grew up in Mr. Lucky's. My name is Jaylon. J. David Sloan is my father and we owned Mr. Lucky's from 1988 - 2004. Even before we bought the club, my dad was a performer there. I thank you all for you fond memories of Mr. Lucky's. Our family put our entire heart and soul into making that place what it was. I can tell you that my found memories are of the people, friends, and music. Hi Ruthie! We did sell the club in 2004 because the area was sliding to a different demographic. I am still running sound for Western Bred and J. David has joined the band back full time and we are having a blast. He is the bands new bass player. REALLY! Of course he is still singing and playing the fiddle too. For those of you who want to hear "New Box of People" again go to www.WesternBred.com and see where the band is playing. We don't play every night like we did at Mr. Lucky's so please check the schedule online.
Anyways, I again want to thank you all for those of you who supported us for all of those years. Mr. Lucky's was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame a year or so ago. You can go to mrluckys.com and see the video! Mr. Lucky's success was greatly due to the entertainment of J. David Sloan and ALL of the talented musicians that graced our stage. It saddens me that it is gone because there was and never will be another place like it again. I've seen other places try the same stuff (fish fry, Live music, bull riding, and so on) but it is just not the same.

diana said...

my name is Diana, I worked at Mr. Lucky's in the late 70's. (1976- 1980)Some of the best times no doubt. The crew I worked with kicked A**. The best set up for service I have ever worked. patty (PJ) cheryl, sylvia, Dee Dee (RIP) sharon, Corky, Ron (RIP) steve, tom, manny, jeff ...just a few i remember. Worked mostly downstairs, always had quality live entertainment. Definitely good memories

Crystal said...

I worked @ Mr Lucky's for 3 years downstairs.I remember you Ruthie,Toy,Corky,Craig D,Craig C. Tommy @ the import bar.Have lots of crazy stories.Remember the court jester costumes? I still have mine.can't believe I was that skinny.J david was always nice.i'll miss the old place. Crystal.

Anonymous said...

I have never had the opportunity to go there back in the day, but luckily for me, my parents decided to take a trip to Phoenix to do some Christmas shopping back in 1983, and had a grand ol time at Mr. Lucky's... and that is how I came to be. It closed down right before I turned 21, so I never got to experience it how they did. I am glad to read all of these stories, I wished I could have seen it in all its glory! I now drive by it daily on the way to and from work.

Christie said...

I didn't work there but I did party there....I met a man there who later became my husband. J David Sloan was a very good friend of my Dad & Mom's. They would come home from there telling us what a good time they had and the people they had met. It's sad to know that Mr. Lucky's is no longer but all the good memories live on.....My husband passed in "85" and J. David Sloan sang "Amazing Grace" without music at his funeral. And for that I am forever greatful. I have since remarried and moved away from Phoenix but I sure would love to know how J. David & his family are doing.

woodenships11 said...

I just stumbled across this site. Ruthi from Detroit, I was there when you met Carl and later married him. I went there to apply as a floorman but I was too small (6'2, 210) and Steve Matherly asked me if I would be interesting in bartending. I started at well #3 as Big Bill's barback and the rest is history. Steve, Arnie, Ron C.,Tom B., Mike Anderson Stacy, Bonnie, Big Patty (LOL), Mary Ann, Phil Flores, and a cast of hundreds. The band. What a treat to be able to work and observe J. David, the GREAT Ivan Greathouse, Dave Hearn, Joey Trujillo and see how when name acts would come thru and try to hire some of these guys away. I'm still close with Big Bill and we often wax nostalgiac about those memorable moments. Unforgettable. I love you all.-Fred R.-

xiphos said...

The memories of this fine establishment will never fade. Thank you so much to everybody that worked or partied there. It was truly one of a kind.

Tee or Theresa said...

define times at mr lucky's it was 1990 1992 I was only able to show for after hours , the bull riding so many friends would ride Dj,clint,Robert,mike ext.. Never forget the little young looking clown...... Ok the name I foget.. But a place to go that was safe was nice for us kids .. Remember we would stand in line and pull the tags off someones pants always one of the many friemds.. Wish for them fun times, and great friends back... This place was a dream for me thank u for great times...

Anonymous said...

I was in Mr Lucky's once, in early 1978. I was moving from Philly to LA. Stopped off in Phoenix to visit with some girls I knew back home. They had just moved there a few months before. We went to Mr Lucky's one of the nights I was there. I remember that the parking lot was still dirt. The upstairs was country, downstairs rock. Hoyt Axton was going to be playing there soon. All of the intersecting roads were then still on the surface. I think Grand or Indian School now has a pass over. I remembered feeling old in the place, even though I was 25.I was back again in 2007. I think it was closed at the time. I remembered it being much bigger than what in fact it was.

lynn said...

mr. luckeys was the only place you could bring the kids till 9 pm. eat fish fri or stake sat night. j- david and western bread band 5 nights a week to bad there is no place like that now. woudint go there now you could get killed lynn

Sally said...

WE came to town in 74. That place was my 2nd home. And 4 of my kids worked there at different times. My mom, kids & grandkids went there. For many years I went every night that they were open. Jay also came and sang a special song when my son James died. I met my husband there. The fanastic days there are hard to put in words. But too say nothing could be better.
The book The Experience even has 4 pages of going to Mr. Lucky's. So wish it was still there.

ricky cleary said...

I loved mr luckys back in 2000 till 2002 i rode bulls there i would drive with my dad and buddys from heber az just to ride i was in high school so i couodnt go into the bar but im glad i was there at all wish this place still existed all i have now are good memories and my bullriding tapes thank u mr.luckys

KissedByCari said...

Mr Lucky's was like my second home! I loved the dancing, the music the fish frys and the Halloween parties! The night my divorce was final, J David announced it and pointed me out... I don't think I sat down the rest of the night, LOL. I remember you Michael...miss you.

KissedByCari said...

I used to live at Mr Lucky's on the weekends.. had so much fun. I loved the fish frys, the music, the Halloween parties. The night my divorce was final, J David announced it and pointed me out! I didn't sit down the rest of the night, LOL. Micheal, I remember you, but I can't remember the name of the other bouncer at the time. Miss you guys!

xuniltoor said...

I was a young airman at Luke AFB in the early 80s and man I can tell you I had the time of my life. I never found such a magical place again. I am sorry it closed but it was a different time then. A wild ride.

Lora said...

I worked at Mr Lucky's in the early 90's and remember the crew made me feel right at home, I was a young girl from Oklahoma that had moved to Arizona! after moving back to Oklahoma I often thought of the girls like Ruthie and Marti and remember how nice they were. I loved the way Mr Lucky's had two floors one country and the other one rock-n-roll! Sorry to here that it has closed down. It will be forever in my heart! Lora (Kerns) Ridenour

-Ace Baker said...

I played Mr. Lucky's in my rock band "The Next" a couple of times in 1983, downstairs. We were one of agent Sammy Mai's touring bands.

I'll never forget the club, and I have great memories of the band house too. It was just some apartments nearby, but the girls sure seemed to know where it was, and would just show up. Great fun.

Sandy Best, wherever you are, thank you for a wonderful time. I'll never forget you.

Anonymous said...

I was stationed at Ft Huachuca in the early 60's and would go "TDY" to Phoenix quite often. Thenb you could stay at a motel on Van Buren and hit "Mr Lucky's" in the evening. Moved back to Phoenix in the late 80's amd I believe it catered to the Spanish crowd then and subsequently closed. Sure was a great bar in the 60's.

Scott said...

I worked at Lucky's for the last year it was open. I was the doorman for the first few months for the downstairs club, Noches Cuernavaca @ Barba Azul. After about a month, J David moved me to the front door upstairs then behind the bar. That year was easily one of the best and most influencial of my life. I also met Dawn, my wife and mother of my two children while working at that bar. We even had Western Bred play at our wedding. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss that club and the people who, even in it's final years, made that club the legend it was and deserved to be. I never forget the kindness shown to me by J and his whole family nor will I forget the nights out in the bullpit after we closed down the club.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a Lee Harper that may have spent time at Mr. Lucky's in late 1962. If anyone knows him please send me an email at wvwinston@gmail.com, thanks.

Skip said...

I worked at Mr. Lucky's for about 10 years, I started as a barback and left there as the Manager. I moved to San Antonio where I continue to live now. I met my wife there while I was tending bar 7 downstairs; I spilled a slow gin fizz down her white birthday dress and she must have liked it because she came back the next night for a lifetime of such abuse. I now have three great grown kids along with two grandchildren that I adore. I hope everyone that was there at the time I was has similar success stories to tell.
I certainly miss all my friends and co-workers from that time period; I was there from the early 70's thru the early 80's...What a way to grow up...Love you'll and enjoy your lives...Only identified as Skip ;-)

Anonymous said...

I worked as a bouncer at Mr. Lucky's summer and fall of 1979. We were students at Universal Technical Institute, one of my two roommates was also a bouncer.

Graham Central Station opened that summer and as I remember some of our Mr. Lucky's bouncers left for a $1.00 per hour raise being offered by Grahams.

I remember going to after hours parties with the bands at the townhouses / condo's that were owned I think by the Mr. Lucky's owners and hanging with the bands all night on weekends.

I was kind of hanging out, seeing the waitress from I want to say Switzerland / Sweden who used to work most of the same shifts I worked, she was really cute.

We used to live right up the street from Mr. Lucky's so it was easy access. As I remember drinking age for beer and wine in 1979 was 18 and hard liquor 21.

I can't say for sure I remember to many people as those were hard partying days and nights.

I used to alternate working the upstairs and downstairs floors and loved the all you could eat fish fry on friday nights.

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Susan Ferguson said...

My name is Susan. I worked at Mr. Lucky's late '78 early '79. I started downstairs and was moved upstairs shortly. I loved working there. Although I'm not sure I ever got the ordering sequence down. The bartenders were very patient with me. My biggest regret was that at 19 I was irresponsible and didn't show up to work without calling one night and it cost me my job. I kicked myself often. I remember Ruthi, Sylvia, Bonnie and a few more that I don't remember all the names. Good times for sure and awesome people to work with. I was one that ended up at Graham Central Station, it was fun but it was no Mr. Lucky's. After many years I returned to Phx for a vacation and went to Lucky's and low and behold Ruthi was still there! Awesome.. I am glad I got to be a part of it just sorry I messed up and wasn't there long enough. I am 53 now and in a box I still have my uniform, the little red skirt with the gingham peasant top. Silly but I still smile when I come across it.

Sassynsweet said...

I snuck into Mr. Lucky's at the age of 16 (with the preacher's daughter no less) in 1967. Was there the first night J.David sang there and "fell in love" with him. He was and remains an awesome performer.

I dated one of the doormen for over 3 years and, when a new man carded me a few years later he laughed and then nearly had a heart attack when he was told I just turned 21 the week before. He was 23 when we started dating and I was jailbait. Oh the good old days...lol.

To sum it up, Lucky's was my "home" for over over 20 years and we went often even after that till we moved away in 1996. I met my husband there and my two best friends are still around and still close.

As far as the fish fry, every Friday we were there and I took my son there every week for 4 years till we moved. We also had the banquet for Manzanita Speedway there on a Saturday night and it was awesome.

J. David, we love you and are so glad you are with Western Bred on a regular basis. Hope to get out to see you soon after we come back to town.

Paula

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Anonymous said...

None of you may know me but my older brother and sister use to go to Mr.Lucky's every weekend but the reason why the club was closed is because in the kitchen a fire broke out and burned it down.

Anonymous said...

HELLO MR. LUCKY LOVERS!

I just discovered this site and am warmed by all the memories here. Before I post my story, I want to invite all of the posters who read this and who have either worked or had real experiences at Mr. Lucky's to contact me please. I am putting together a book on Mr. Lucky's. It is my 4th book, by the way, and I have also worked on a couple of movie scripts, including RAISING ARIZONA. My email address is laurenzigeno@gmail.com. Thanks.

I worked as a reporter for the Phoenix Gazette and People Magazine in the 1970s and 1980s. My sister and her friend were hired as cocktail waitresses at Mr. Lucky's, the hottest honkeytonk in Phoenix. Not even MaGoo's or J.D.'s Riverbottom could top it. I became good friends with Waylon Jennings and partied with a wonderful musician named Ray Corbin who died tragically after being shot by a pilled-up girl friend when he tried to break off a relationship with her.

I really would appreciate some people 'in the know' getting in touch with me. I think an incredible book can be developed that will do justice to the memories of an era and a night club that will go down in history as one of the best. Thanks. Geno.

Anonymous said...

Oh so many memories...Friday night fish fry..dance contests for the kids, back later to dance all night for the adults. I loved to visit both upstairs and downstairs as you could count on great bands in either place. My Lucky's was THE place to go. Afterhours...then out to breakfast. Those were the days! J David or Bill Hallock or the many bands that passed thru..it was always a good time.

Anonymous said...

I also worked and loved every minute I spent at Mr. Lucky's....I was a doorman , barback,bartender and a manager....it changed my life.... I moved on to become successful as a nightclub consultant all over the United States and had ownership in a casino in Las Vegas ....all because I started out at The King of Clubs...I am retired now but I wish I could do it all over again...
Smitty

Chrissy V said...

What awesome memories... My friend Linda and I went there weekly and enjoyed meeting all of the wait staff, bartenders and bouncers... my personal favorite was Steve the bartender..I had such a crush on him.. where is he now?? What ever happened to Hope our favorite waitress??

Anonymous said...

I started going to Mr Luckys in 1989. I was stationed at Luke AFB and my job there was pretty miserable. However, I could always count on being at the club by early evening to get a pool table and play til closing time if I was on my game.

Had a lot of fun there and drank my troubles and paycheck away, though not enough to get nabbed by the cops on the way home.

I met my wife there. We hit it off immediately. Sadly, we divorced but I'm sure she still remembers how and when we met.

I have traveled all over the country since those days and though I can remember faces, I cannot remember any names save for J. David's. Every weekend, his cover songs and originals were outstanding and welcome in my frustrated world.

I would get there shortly after dinner time and get my first beer, rack up a game of eight-ball and keep on going til closing. I seem to recall that playing pool there was my escape from many things, while also enjoying the music and to this day, I have to listen to country music when playing pool.

I preferred the table over on the right side, right next to the bar as you walked in up the ramp.

Finally, I think the only thing I miss about Phoenix is that signature honky-tonk and that excellent band. The crowd was a genuine country crowd with real people and no posers or dudes.

I've been to places in Texas that weren't that good or that real. Maybe someday the demographic will come back to its original state but even if it doesn't, Thanks J. David for providing such a great place to hang out and relax.

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