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The DL: Tucson awash with new downtown biz

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Downtown Lowdown

The DL: Tucson awash with new downtown biz

  • Unplugged will offer fine wines with a low-key vibe.
    Blake CollinsUnplugged will offer fine wines with a low-key vibe.

A new wine bar is opening in downtown. No, not Good Oak Bar, that place on the east end of Congress in the Rialto Block that specializes in Arizona beer and wine, with food from the kitchen of Diablo Burger and something of an East Coast, casual but authentic feel. That opened at the beginning of the month, and from all appearances, is thriving.

This newest place is Unplugged, opening Saturday 118 E. Congress. The folks behind the wine bar are most recently known for The Wine Depot, and, wow, do they know their wine. Owners Cyler Varnum and Frank Lietzau have decades of experience with and passion for the business (and an exceptional palate), but promise a low-key, non-threatening atmosphere at Unplugged.

Unplugged aims to bring high quality, old-world wine to downtown, but don’t want those who don’t devote time to the study of vineyards to feel unwelcome. They would be more than happy to teach Wine 101, explain the history and vintage of each bottle and why it matters. However, if the mood of your group casual, just a some folks out for a drink after work or dinner, that’s more than fine with them. The important part is to have a good time with good drinks. Unplugged will also feature a selection of beer, for those who are in more of a sudsy mood. More information about Unplugged can be found at

This is a great addition to the rapidly growing downtown scene. According to data recently gathered by the Downtown Tucson Partnership, more than 150 new businesses have opened in downtown in the last 60 months. Most of the newcomers are restaurants and retail, with arts and cultural venues, professional and high-tech businesses also featuring prominently.

The latest professional office to come downtown is CyraCom, a Tucson-based language service company. CyraCom has been called one of Arizona’s fastest growing job creators, with multiple offices across the state. Their newest office is in the historic Pioneer Building, another vote of confidence in a downtown that was long declared dead, but is now anything but. Restaurants Gio Taco, World of Beer, and Pizzeria Bianco are just of a few additional businesses already set to open by the end of the year, some within the next month or so.

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