August may be a monster month for the Rialto Theatre, but its biggest event of the summer happens this week.
On Saturday, the venue will host the grand opening of its own bar, dubbed R Bar, in the Cadence student housing building next door at 350 E. Congress St.
The space, which held its soft opening last weekend, comes in at just over 1,000 square feet with a mezzanine, patio area and an elaborate steel depiction of Southern Arizona on its main wall.
The metal mural was conceived and created by the local design duo, Gary Patch and Darren Clark.
“We always try to create spectacular imagery,” Clark said. “For R Bar, we wanted to make something unique to Tucson. Something that said who we are, where we came from, what we’ve built upon and what we’ve destroyed.”
Among R Bar’s offerings: An expansive beer and wine selection, including a rotating list of 10 beers on tap. A full craft cocktail menu is available, courtesy of Rory O’Rear, one of downtown’s bartending elite.
Food from Gio Taco, located in the same Cadence complex, will be served.
“We like what Gio Taco does,” said Curtis McCrary, executive director of the Rialto. “They are our neighbors. We didn’t want to mess around with a kitchen. It made total sense.”
McCrary said that, more than anything, R Bar will serve as an expansion on what’s offered to theater patrons and another draw to an already bustling entertainment district.
“It helps establish downtown and the surrounding areas as a destination,” McCrary said. “There is more opportunity created by more activity. Everything grows.”
R Bar officially opens at 8 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m-2 a.m. daily after that. Info at facebook.com/rbartucson.