No Anchovies, the popular Main Gate Square pizza and sports bar, could be opening a second location in the old Cactus Moon as part of a project that includes a country music nightclub.
But the project, being spearheaded by veteran nightclub operator and developer Kirby Bond, hinges on getting a liquor license for the site at 5470 E. Broadway.
The license application is expected to go before the Tucson City Council on Feb. 12, where it could be met with some opposition because of Bond's past ties with the troubled Marana nightclub New West and Gotham.
"I have heard concerns from the neighborhoods around there because the guy does have a track record," said Ward 6 Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik. "The New West was shut down several years ago because of some shootings and gang activity that caused (Bond) to lose his license for five years. That's some serious stuff."
Bond held the liquor license for New West and Gotham, a cavernous club that his family opened as the Wild Wild West in 1993. The club at 4385 W. Ina Road was half country bar, half rap and rock club.
Bond and his partners closed the club in early 2002 after a string of violent incidents that included a deadly fight following a rap show in summer 2001. Bond said he was not managing the club at the time of the incidents but agreed to close the club and forfeit his Arizona liquor license so that the building's owners could open Bedroxx Bowling in the building.
"The times had changed and we decided it was impossible to run a 30,000-square-foot club," he said. "You got to remember when I got into the business in the 1980s you had Gilley's and Billy Bob's (Texas). The bigger the better. But times have changed and that is not the focus anymore. … The reason you don't see a 30,000- or 40,000-square-foot club anymore is that it's impossible to police that size of a place."
Bond said his plans for the 12,000-square-foot Cactus Moon spot include devoting two-thirds of the space to a country-themed nightclub that will be open three nights a week, and the remaining space to the restaurant, which will be open daily.
No Anchovies manager Jason Whitlock confirmed the restaurant is in talks about opening a second location. But he said "nothing is set in stone" at this point.
Kozachik met with neighbors and Bond earlier this week to discuss the plans. One young resident spoke about crime concerns with the bar, but no one else outwardly opposed the plan, Kozachik said.
Kozachik said he has suggested that the building's owners, Larsen Baker, include an addendum to the lease agreement that would allow them to evict Bond should any trouble arise. George Larsen of Larsen Baker said he is working on the addendum.
Bond, who has opened 24 bars and restaurants in Texas and New Mexico, said the addendum is similar to provisions already included in state liquor laws.
He said he is prepared to address the City Council's concerns, "but I'm not going to fight my way back into Tucson."
"If Tucson wants me to show them what I can do, then great. Otherwise, Texas has been very good to me," said Bond, who lives in New Mexico.
If the license is approved, Bond hopes to open in August.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at email@example.com or 573-4642.