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MOUTHING OFF

Beer today, gone tomorrow: The upscaling of LoDo continues, with a facelift of the venerable--and appropriately named--Terminal Bar now under way. The last time this watering hole at 17th Avenue and Wazee tried something new, owner Nancy Archer--herself an Aussie--succumbed to lower-downtown duenna Dana Crawford's suggestion that Archer cash in on the Crocodile Dundee craze by adding some Australian memorabilia and nicknaming her bar "The Billabong." This time, though, the place has closed for a complete remodeling, "from one end to the other," Archer says, inspired by a craze that should last considerably longer than Paul Hogan's career: baseball.

Even so, count on the Terminal to fight the trend that's turning many LoDo bars as plastic as your average batting helmet. For example, the upstairs rooms that rent by the week will stay, as will much of the Terminal's blue-collar charm (even if there will be a small patio). "I would like it to have the common touch," says Archer. "I don't want something I can't handle myself." But anyone who's sat through one of the Terminal's three daily happy hours knows that Archer and her crack staff can handle plenty.

Archer hopes to reopen on March 8, in time for all the St. Patrick's Day festivities that start the following weekend.

Keeping tabs on all the developments a few blocks to the north has the Ballpark Neighborhood newsletter hopping. Among editor Karle Seydel's recent scoops (lifted by Dick Kreck in a recent edition of the Denver Post): Stadium vendor ARA neglected to secure the licenses it will need to sell beer at Coors Field. Once the omission was discovered, a liquor license hearing was hastily set for February 27, the newsletter reported, and fast work by the Denver City Council could ensure that come March 17, "the ordinance may be adopted and signed (unlike Major League players for the 1995 Rockies)."

Scrambling to get it right before Coors does get going--and start pouring--is Lodo's Bar and Grill, at 1946 Market Street. It recently changed its name from Lodo Corral Steakhouse and dropped all pretense of being a Western-style restaurant; owners Chris Myers, George Mannion and Javier Juarez even took the cowboy off the sign and did a little redecorating to make the place feel more like a local hangout than a theme park. They've also revamped the menu--for the third time--and lowered prices again. Look for more pastas and fewer expensive steaks. "We felt we were starting to get identified with Morton's and Ruth's Chris," Myers says. "We didn't want to be that kind of place." No fear of that now that Lodo's dinners hover in the $5.95-$8.95 range.

Meanwhile, down the street at the trio's other restaurant, Croc's Cafe, weekends have gotten even livelier since Andy Mosier started cruising around the joint offering to blow margaritas down partyers' throats. Using a wine bong Myers made based on one used at Senor Frog's (which is owned by Juarez's family in Mazatlan, Mexico), Mosier can accurately shoot liquid into your mouth from about three feet away.

Maybe the Rockies could use him.

 
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