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In Da Club

Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

It was fun while it lasted. Less than a year after it opened in Lone Tree, in the 20,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Holoworld, the Avalon Events Center has gone dark. But owner Michael Cadwell, better known as "Caddy," swears that the club, which Westword named Best Dance Club for Dancing in the Best of Denver 2004, will be back soon -- albeit at a different, as yet undetermined address -- and with the same amenities that brought the crowds to the 'burbs.

Turns out the folks behind the homegrown Rio Grande Mexican Restaurantchain saw Avalon's building as a place to serve its giant, potent margaritas to faithful suburban fans, and "made us a ridiculous, stupid offer that we couldn't pass up," Cadwell says. So his crew "backed up a semi -- actually a huge Ryder truck -- and shrink-wrapped all the furniture, lights and sound equipment." Now that's all sitting in storage until Cadwell finds the right spot -- ideally, a place with an existing liquor license, rooftop patio and a smaller, sub-club area for Avalon's non-event nights.

Rio Grande had been trying for close to a year to find a spot in the Lone Tree area where it could put its sixth Colorado restaurant. The Avalon building was purchased by Pat & Mike Lone Tree, LLC, which is leasing space to the Rio, and though the purchase price was undisclosed, the Colorado Real Estate Journal reports that Pat & Mike secured a loan of $3,075,000 on May 24. Everyone at the Rio is "super-excited about opening up down there," says our contact at the LoDo incarnation, calling the area "an energy center drawing people from Highlands Ranch, Centennial and Parker." Renovations begin this week; plans call for completely overhauling the interior, adding a mezzanine and two patios, and doing some exterior finish work. Rio Grande will occupy a little over half of the building; the rest will be rented out. Expect an opening in late November.

Cadwell hopes that Avalon will be back in business long before that -- within 120 days, in fact. But in the meantime, his company, Anthem Media, is keeping plenty busy, filming concerts for pay-per-view and other clients, and producing the talk show It's Happy Hour With Dave and Michelle, starring former Bronco David Diaz-Infante, Michelle Beisner and onetime Avalon booker Matt Need. Anthem's also behind the free July 9 performance by Blues Travelerat the Celtic Tavern.

On June 25, the Jazzy Bean will host the Santa Cruz River Band, featuring Michael Ronstadt (Linda's brother) -- but owner Nancy Wyckoffpromises that the ambitious show doesn't signal big changes at the cozy coffeehouse in Firestone. Wyckoff, her daughter Rhonda Frenzel and friend Sandy Tigner got into the Bean business eighteen months ago as a labor of love, choosing a spot in the new Safeway plaza as the ideal place to create an intimate java joint that serves live music on the side. A month later, Starbucks debuted in the same plaza.

Wyckoff cringed at the time, but Jazzy Bean is doing just fine today, with quality acts -- jazz and otherwise -- playing every weekend, book clubs and youth-science events (scientist Tigner is a director at Geneva Pharmaceuticals) on the schedule, and plans for an all-day music festival later this summer. And, of course, the Bean makes delicious drinks, such as the frozen "Dizzy Gillespie Toffee Tune," plus smoothies and bargain-priced kids' fare. Someday those drinks could get even more delicious, if Wyckoff is able to secure a license that would allow her to serve alcohol on performance nights. As it is, music flows until all hours. "We don't stop until people are ready to go," she says.

 
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