Lou’s Bar & Grill: Honoring a Champion of Golf and Business in the Valley of the Sun

New Clubhouse at Papago Golf Course features eatery in honor of the late Lou Grubb

The back patio at Lou’s is full of exciting games and relaxing fun.

Papago Golf Course opened for public play in 1963 with a Billy Bell-designed golf course that only gets better with age. One thing, however, has been missing from the experience in recent years – a clubhouse reflecting the caliber of the golf course. Fortunately, all of that has dramatically changed with the new clubhouse anchored by Lou’s Bar & Grill.   

Lou Grubb Clubhouse at Papago Golf Course
Construction of the new Douglas Fredrickson-designed clubhouse was completed and opened in the fall of 2018. The clubhouse – aptly named the Lou Grubb Clubhouse – was funded by a large donation from the Lou and Evelyn Grubb Foundation – a fund at the Arizona Community Foundation – assisted by their son, Dan Grubb, on behalf of the Grubb family. As a well-deserved tip of the hat, the restaurant is named Lou’s Bar & Grill.

“The new clubhouse and restaurant at Papago is a great way to continue and commemorate my father’s passion for the game of golf and giving back to the community,” said Dan Grubb. “Beyond the honor of naming the restaurant after him, my father would appreciate that it’s designed to be an inclusive place for everyone to enjoy, in addition to golfers. Thank you to the team who put everything together to make this happen.”  

The Partnership Pays Off
Indeed, the unique public/private partnership – the driving force behind Papago’s revitalization – between the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University and the Arizona Golf Community Foundation reflects the diverse community the new clubhouse is intended to serve.   

Led by the Arizona Golf Community Foundation, the partnership worked together to conceptualize, secure funding and carry out the project. Their efforts crowned Papago with a worthy amenity that will act as a social/recreational anchor for neighboring communities and businesses as well as restore this venerable facility to its rightful place as the Valley’s focal point of golf. It also bolsters the long-term financial viability of Papago Golf Course in an environment where, in many cases, municipal golf is just getting by.     

Who’s Lou?
Lou Grubb made the trip from Long Island to Arizona in 1945 to seek relief from chronic respiratory issues. Soon after arriving, he landed a job as caddy master at Phoenix Country Club where he met Read Mullan, who hired Grubb as a salesman in 1949 at his auto dealership. This marked the beginning of an automotive career that spanned decades with the soft-spoken founder of Grubb Automotive often personally delivering anything but the hard-sell in his tranquil and melodic television commercials.   

“A good business deal has to be fair to all parties, or the process fails,” Grubb once said. “In the long run, it is in the best interests of a business to ensure that a transaction is fair to the customer, the manufacturer, the worker and the owner.”

The way Grubb conducted his business earned the respect of the public to establish one of the most trusted and successful brands in the Valley of the Sun. Lou’s Bar & Grill is a testament to Grubb’s sense of a fair deal and a genuine commitment to the community. 

“I’m fortunate to say that I’ve known Lou and Evie (Evelyn) for decades,” said Mike Conner, Senior Vice President of Operations for OB Sports, management firm for Papago Golf Course. “Not only is their charitable golf tournament still going strong after nearly 50 years, the new clubhouse at Papago is an incredibly generous gift that will serve golfers, families and friends for generations to come.”

Lou’s Bar & Grill
The restaurant itself features jaw-dropping views of the iconic Papago Buttes to go along with spectacular, down-to-earth food including Mahi Mahi tacos, incredible pizza and mouth watering flat iron steak frites fit for anything from a post-round meal to a family style sit down. For happy hour, try the Mai Tai or the R&B Old Fashioned to go along with a host of other hand-crafted cocktails, draft beer and wine. 

“Lou’s is the perfect place for anything from happy hour gatherings, watching the game with friends, family dinners or special occasions,” said Mike Conner, vice president, OB Sports – the management company responsible for day-to-day operations at Lou’s. “We want everyone who comes to Lou’s to feel invited and comfortable while they enjoy their meal.”

Lou’s also will host special events and weddings. The dining room and patio offers ample space for small-to-medium-sized groups and the adjacent enclosed event hall, Evie’s Pavilion, will cater to weddings and larger groups when it opens later this month.  

Next time you belly-up to the bar at Lou’s Bar & Grill, raise a glass to toast Lou and Evelyn Grubb for lives well lived.