The last Dirty Drummer almost closed — until the co-founder's daughter saved it

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 1:43pm
Updated: Friday, February 24, 2023 - 6:50am

Audio icon Download mp3 (14.43 MB)

The Dirty Drummer Restaurant & Spirits sign
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Sign welcoming guests to the Dirty Drummer in Phoenix.

Dana Armstrong grew up in sports bars. It wasn’t the most typical upbringing, but it was one filled with fun thanks to her dad, the late Frank Armstrong. He was the co-founder of the chain of beloved Valley sports bars called the Dirty Drummer, which had more than a dozen locations by the mid 1980’s.

But in 2018, the last location of the Dirty Drummer was set to close — until Dana stepped in to save it.

She joined together with business partners Adam Smith and Tom Bernard to buy out the remaining owners of the bar and renovate it to its former glory. Today, it’s becoming a fixture of the Phoenix bar and music scene, with a stage added to the amber-lit space.

The Show sat down with Armstrong at the bar there to talk about taking over the business and restoring it to match her childhood memories.

More stories from KJZZ