Tuesday, July 16, 2019

'Panic' on the Streets of Tempe!

Every time I think I'm romanticizing my teenage years, someone from my past sends me photos (or video) to remind me it really was like a New Wave "90210," as evidenced by these unearthed pics from our old after-hours hangout. Panic City is where everyone would go to see and be seen -- and to inhale sliders after a night of dancing at Graffiti's, Tempe's hottest nightclub in the 1980s!

Owner Tom Frank, who went on to play a role in opening more than 84 restaurants including three in the Mill Avenue area, recalls:
"Panic City opened in 1986 for only about 2 years. When I am doing a speaking engagement, from time to time, I bring up the story about how my little (post-apocalyptic) restaurant, designed for college students who were either drunk or stoned, was badly impacted by the introduction of Ecstasy (MDMA) into the culture. Apparently, hunger is not one of the side effects of the drug. It certainly hurt my late-night sales coming over from Graffiti’s."
The night Andy Warhol died my friend Chantal and I were at Graffiti's -- which would be destroyed in 1990 by the fire next door at Stan's Metro Deli -- so it's kind of always been like hallowed ground for me.

Mr. Careless Whisper on the right here is Michael, who would be handpicked to be the face of The Gap in Europe a few years later!

Suffice to say, Old Town Tempe isn't what it used to be.

And here's a photo of my college boyfriend, Derek, in his Panic City T-shirt.

Exterior via Tempe History Museum


Stephen said...

Looks like a fun place.

Rix said...

Well that looks like the someone went through my mid 80's closet and hair styles.

Unknown said...

I was s dj at Graffitis in the 80's and greauented panic weekly.

Unknown said...

I ate at Panic City back then. My friend and I absolutely LOVED it! We would get the deep fried calzones and fries at least twice per week. And on Tuesdays it was buy one, get one free. Great memories of that yummy & fun place.