Blake Street Tavern takes a swing at a new location

The Ballpark neighborhood is in the middle of its annual spring cleaning in anticipation of the Colorado Rockies' opening day, just two weeks away. But this year, there's less to clean up, since the infamous Bash closed late last year. Also gone since last season: Lizard's, Blues on Blake, Club 303 and Theörie. While some of those spots are still available, work is progressing at Brothers Bar & Grill, a link of a Wisconsin-based chain that's moving into the former Theörie (and before that, Real World: Denver) location at 1920 Market Street.

Other big changes are in the works, too. After seven years at 2401 Blake Street, the Blake Street Tavern is moving a block south — to 2301 Blake, into a storied space that's held everything from 23 Parrish to Polly Esther's to Club 303. Chris Fuselier, the tavern's owner, says he hopes to have everything in place by mid-May. And that includes his spot's coziness, even though the new location will be much, much larger: 18,000 total square feet, compared to 12,000 at Blake Street's current home.

Right now, Fuselier's biggest priority is installing a kitchen, which will serve the same menu that's gained him such fans. He also plans on setting up a new version of the Tailgate Room in the space that was Club 303's VIP area (and, long before that, the Garage), where he'd like to bring in live music Thursdays through Saturdays. As for the 7,000-square-foot dance club downstairs, Fuselier's not yet sure what he's going to do there — that area may not reopen until September — but he's thinking about doing an '80s night on Fridays and Saturdays, similar to what Polly Esther's offered, and also using the space for special events.

On the other side of Coors Field, the Tavern Downtown (1949 Market Street) plans to debut its new rooftop patio on Thursday, April 1, a week before opening day brings the hordes to LoDo. Frank Schultz, owner of Tavern Hospitality Group, says the project has been in the works for at least two years, with construction starting at the end of the last baseball season. While the old patio had a 250-person occupancy and 3,500 square feet, the new patio can hold 650 people in its 11,000 square feet, which includes space above the next-door Cowboy Lounge (1941 Market Street), which Schultz bought in 2007.

The expanded bar — it can accommodate up to sixteen bartenders, rather than the six that would work the two smaller bars on busy days — basically wraps around the stairwell, so anyone sitting there can see people coming up the stairs. It sits inside a 4,000-square-foot covered area, which sports a new DJ booth. Schultz has also added restrooms upstairs and expanded the kitchen. Since Fat Tuesday daiquiris were a big hit, he's installing eighteen machines where six whirred before. And on really hot days, Schultz promises they'll kick on the eight mister zones that were recently installed.

Club scout: Once of Denver's best dives, Len & Bill's Lounge, at 2301 South Broadway, suddenly went dark two weeks ago — after fifty years in business. But then, 85-year-old Leonard Sachs, who ran the place and tended bar from 4 p.m. to close most days, has earned some rest. Jerry Morris, who owns the Dirty Duck Bar (4780 East Evans Avenue), had considered buying Len & Bill's, but when he figured out how much it would cost to renovate the space into a more upscale pub, he decided to pass. "You'd really have to upgrade this thing in order to condemn it," Morris jokes. Now the space is going back to the landlord, who will most likely rent it as a store. "Hopefully not a marijuana store," Morris adds. One block away, at 2479 South Broadway, the Cabin on Broadway has just opened in the former Old Tyme Drafts & Dawgs (and the Blue Walleye before that, and the Great Divide before that) space.

 
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