Sports, Burgers, and More at Gentle Ben’s

Bryan Staniloff
December 2, 2022

Gentle Ben’s is a sports bar/restaurant and bar located in Tucson, Arizona at 865 East University Boulevard. Opening in 1971, Gentle Ben’s received its name from a university professor in a contest who thought the manager looked like a character from the show “Grizzly Adams”. Since then the restaurant has been making great food and award-winning drinks for university students, tourists, and locals in Tucson. Gentle Ben’s serves burgers, fish, chicken, salads, and a lot of unique drinks which have gotten a lot of good reviews online.  

What do you see when you first walk inside?                                       

Gentle Ben’s is a go-to restaurant for a lot of college students and tourists. When you first walk in, you’re welcomed by a server who shows you to a table that’s likely within watching distance of a sporting event on one of their many HD TV’s. They also have a really cool open-air patio right on the Boulevard. Another bar is located upstairs on the second floor where there’s a dance floor and a total nightlight vibe.

 Gentle Ben’s Future Adjustments 

A ton of their drinks have gotten great reviews including “Great fun, amazing vibe, decent food, extensive booze list and students enjoying the good life. What more do you want ??” Gentle Ben’s has also taken a lot of criticism online along with their many good reviews like not having enough food or drink options. However, their manager says they plan on starting to change their menu every few months starting in 2023 that will give people more options to choose from and give the restaurant an even better reputation. This will make an impact on Gentle Ben’s main customers, University of Arizona students and people who want to watch sports. This is why they have a lot of bar food options like nachos or chicken wings and drinks that college students would like.

According to the manager Alara Mossberger, some other food options are the western burger that has a good combination of barbeque sauce and bacon that brings in customers. One more amazing food option they serve is the phoenix burger that comes with a blend of guacamole and mushrooms. I personally order the western burger and caesar salad because of the meat and barbeque sauce combination, the consistently medium cooked juicy meat, along with well done thick cut french fries that comes with it.

Some popular drinks that also brings in a lot of people from outside Tucson consists of the Beargarita that I got the first time I eat there. This drink comes with Herraadurra tequila which makes it more of a mexican drink. It was specifically made in Jalisco Mexico in 1870 which makes it a very well known drink internationally, especially in Mexico. This drink is unique because it has fresh lime juice instead of store bought sweetened lime juice as well as agave syrup. Other classic drinks that I’ve seen a lot of people order are their mojito blended in with simple syrup and lime juice or non alcoholic drinks like coke or sprite that I get sometimes when I eat there. In addition to those drinks, they have a wine from California called Macmurray Ranch Pinot Noir that the menu says tastes like dark cherry and vanilla. 

Customers From All Over

 Additionally, Gentle Ben’s also tries to bring in customers with aspects of the restaurant that don’t have anything to do with food that include lighting as well as music that creates a welcoming atmosphere for students. The last few times I’ve been here I’ve really understood how great Gentle Ben’s atmosphere is and how lucky students are to have a restaurant like this so close to campus. 

Gentle Ben’s also brings in a lot of tourists outside of Tucson because of its family vibe. When I went there I could see a lot of families like an older couple I saw who said they had never been to Tucson before and wanted to try it. When you walk in you also see mothers and fathers with their kids laughing and enjoying themselves. Whether it’s a family of young children or a mother and father visiting their kid who goes to the University of Arizona, Gentle Bens is a great place for families who are visiting Tucson. Furthermore, it gives tourists and new students somewhere casual to see what the food is like. 

The outside seating also gives customers a nice dose of what Tucson nightlife is like as students, locals, and tourists flood the Boulevard just inches from the patio railings. Since it’s right near campus, a lot of former and current students will come to watch University of Arizona football games, basketball games, and baseball games. Sometimes after a big win from a University of Arizona sports team, they will serve drinks for ninety nine cents each. There’s also a ton of people, including tourists, who come here to watch professional sports, especially when there’s a rivalry soccer game between the United States and Mexico. it gets very loud and competitive.  

In Sum

After living in Tucson the last three months, I see why Gentle Ben’s is so popular. It’s a great place to watch sports, get closer with current friends, and make new friends. The University of Arizona is a big school with a lot of different restaurants and places to eat nearby. However, Gentle Bens is a Tucson landmark that residents have been loving for years. From the food to the unique drinks, there’s definitely no restaurant in Tucson like Gentle Ben’s.When you look around you can see people talking, laughing, having delicious food and drinks, watching sports, and making college friends they might know the rest of their lives.  


Bryan Staniloff is from Canada and is a first-year student at the University of Arizona.