Whiskey Row
(Peter Speyer/Special to the Tribune)

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row Restaurant in downtown Gilbert had a soft opening on a Tuesday – this particular day of the week was selected because it’s usually a slow day in the restaurant business.

“On Tuesday at 1 p.m. every single table was filled and there was an hour’s wait,” said Sean Frantz, marketing director. “We were quite filled up; it was a mix of families and kids and business people. It was a blast.”

This is the Valley’s third country-themed and entertainment-focused restaurant created by the Arizona entertainer, in collaboration with Riot Hospitality Group of Scottsdale. The other two are in Scottsdale and Tempe.

It was anticipated to bring a unique vibe to the Heritage District.

It does.

The 8,700 square-feet restaurant (three times as large as the one in Scottsdale) features a 4,600 square-feet outdoor patio outfitted with a retractable screen that offers shade for those indulging within in a game of corn hole or ping pong; a stage that could comfortably accommodate a four-piece band; a large dance hall that already is reportedly being put to good use; space for a deejay and two well-stocked bars.

While awaiting their order, patrons could strategize a game of Connect 4 or stack up some enormous Jenga blocks as well.

On weekends, live music plays.

“When we opened our first Whiskey Row three years ago, I never would have guessed we’d be three bars in, in three years,” Bentley said in a media release. “The Riot group and I have spent a lot of time making sure each Whiskey Row is our version of the perfect place to listen to music, watch a game or grab some great food and drinks.”

The menu offers gastro pub cuisine with sliders, salads, burgers and entrees such as Shrimp Boil and Beer Can Rotisserie Chicken.

This is the first Dierks Bentley restaurant with a kids menu.

The restaurant is geared to millennials, which is the norm in Scottsdale and Tempe locations, “but for Gilbert, we’re reaching a little bit older,” said Frantz, who has noted that families with young children find favor, too, in the trendy restaurant.

“We’re 100 percent coming in here respecting and knowing that this is a very family-oriented city. Not that there aren’t young families in Tempe and Scottsdale.

In the areas specifically that we’re located, people know that they are night life-driven,” he said. “For people to think that it’s going to be exactly the same, we don’t want them to think that because that’s exactly opposite what it’s going to be.

“Yes, we will have live bands and deejays, but it’s going to still be different. We have to realize that we’re coming to an area that is not used to a night life,” he added.

What of the design?

Whiskey Row, designed by Artie Vigil and AV3 design studio, has been created to reflect Gilbert’s agricultural roots. In keeping with trends and particularly in keeping with other restaurant designs in the Heritage District, such as Zinburger, the restaurant has the ambiance of an agricultural warehouse.

Ryan Hibbert, the CEO of Riot, said that the construction features “reclaimed woods and steel, with an emphasis on high ceilings and natural light, giving the restaurant the feeling of an old barn or trading post.

“The restaurant’s entrance and exterior widows face Gilbert Road, which really fosters connectivity to the lively, pedestrian-friendly downtown atmosphere, while also providing significant frontage for everyone that passes by,” he said.

Whiskey Row is at 323 S. Gilbert Road, in the southeast corner of Gilbert Road and Vaughn Ave. Details: call 480-476-8595 or visit dierkswhiskeyrow.com/gilbert-az.

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