The End of an Era in Old Town: Geisha A Go Go is Gone Gone

Restaurants come and go in Scottsdale; it’s a way of life in our ever-changing city in an ever-changing state, even more so since Covid. That said, some closures stand out, not only because of the time that they have been in the scene, but also because they gave the sense of being an institution, of something that was too much of a standard to go away. And that’s where we find ourselves after reading recent news.

While known as a great place to get sushi in the desert, Geisha A Go Go has mostly been known as a happy hour and late night mainstay for a solid 17 years in Old Town. That is soon to be no more however, as it recently announced that it shut down for good last weekend.

“The Sun is setting on this girl as the property is being developed in the near future and our lease draws to an end,” the company announced via social media and email newsletter. No further details were given. The restaurant not only became known for being one of the relatively few places to get sushi in Old Town, but also as a highly popular karaoke bar at night

A whole generation of people of a certain age, perhaps those that went to Arizona State and desired an occasional night out in Scottsdale, or young professionals who wanted to live in Scottsdale, made their way to this establishment. It became a go-to place for a happy hour pre-game before a club night out, or a place for a bite before the rest of the night gears up/;
Ultimately, while it was a good place that found a solid niche, at some point you need to stand out in a hyper-competitive hospitality market in Old Town in order to continue to thrive for such a long time. It is an industry that demands adapting tactics in order to stay relevant. And while others shifted tactics to stay ahead, Geisha A Go Go stuck in its lane, with an interior that is closer to Durant’s than what else is found in the area. It became a relic in an area that doesn’t reward nostalgia.

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Perhaps. That staying consistent and sticking to your guns with a strong niche can make for a good business for a long time, but that shifting with consumer trends is also somewhat necessary in order to stay relevant for a longer period. Geisha A Go Go was good at the former, less so the latter.