We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeremiah Gratza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeremiah, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Community, 100%. If it wasn’t for our wonderful Melrose neighbors we would not be as successful as we are. When one of our security guard’s daughter needed brain surgery, the community came together to help raise over $5,000 for her surgery! In turn we try to give back as much as we can as well. Last November we hosted a Drag Cornhole Tournament where we were able to raise $1,500 for the Human Rights Campaign and when we were forced to close our lounge we deiced to offer free toilet paper with every to go and delivery.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Thunderbird Lounge is located in the historic Wagon Wheel Building constructed in the 1930’s on 7th Avenue just north of Indian School which was once home to the Wagon Wheel Bar and is currently home to Restaurant Progress and the Melrose Pharmacy. Inspired by the late 1970’s and our love for mid century modern design, the interior is done in a color palette of orange, yellow, and brown (ironically the elementary school colors of the owners) and is complete with jukebox, cigarette machine, and retro video games. We have been named: “The Best Bars in Phoenix Right Now” by Thrillist, “Phoenix’s Top Drinking Destinations” by Eater, & “Best New Bar” by Phoenix New Times. As well as written up by: USA Today, Washington Post, & The Kelly Clarkson Show!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First we’d grab an espresso at Copper Star, get a Five Spot at Mat’s Big Breakfast or Commuter at LGO, go to the Desert Botanical Gardens, then drive over to Glendale grab a sandwich at Captain Bills & play some arcade games at Castles N Coasters, then grab a pizza at Dino’s, and get some drinks at Thunderbird Lounge. The next day go up to the Mogollon Rim and hang out by Christopher Creek, then drive over to Prescott, stop by Superstition Meadry, and have some drinks on Whiskey Row.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First of all we love our wonderful Melrose neighbors; Restaurant Progress, Short Leash, Copper Star, Belly, Modern Manor, Retro Ranch, Stacy’s, Boycott, etc. As well as our friends who own awesome bars in Phoenix like; Gracie’s, Dirty Drummer, Linger Longer, etc.
Charles Barth and Melissa Fossum