The sign posted by the door at 3602 East Colfax Avenue reads: "Bar Closed. Remember the Alamo!" But few dive-bar lovers would remember this Alamo, the first piano bar on Colfax that opened back in the early '40s. After that, the space became Mr. Von's Alamo, then the Monroe Tavern and, finally, the Bulldog Bar. And now, on Friday, March 5, it's slated to reopen as Lost Lake Lounge.
Matt LaBarge, co-owner of popular South Broadway spots hi-dive and Sputnik, is turning the place into a cabin-style lounge. "I'm just kind of loosely following what's already there," says LaBarge, referring to the room's wood interior and wood-burning fireplace. But he's also removing some of what's already there, including the Bulldog's TVs, beer signs and ESPN SportsCenter banners. LaBarge, who spent a lot of time at Mr. Von's Alamo in the early '90s, says Lost Lake will be more subdued than his other two spots. "It's a cool, dark lounge loosely reminiscent of the older days," he says, "but certainly the music and attitude will be a little more forward-facing. I am kind of basing this one off some older clubs in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles."
Lost Lake will become a piano bar on Sundays and Mondays, and while the pianist who'll play on Sundays can do standards and classics, he might mix it up with indie rock from the last decade — maybe some Radiohead and Strokes, LaBarge says. Starting in April, Lost Lake will bring in local acts for monthly residencies on Thursdays; the bands may not play every week, but they'll curate the nights. And Mike Howard will spin records on Tuesdays.
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With his Lost Lake concept, LaBarge may have found himself another hit.
Club scout: When it opened last December, Mix Music Lounge (1320 15th Street) looked like it might offer live music most nights of the week, but the place has been remixed to focus on DJs, with Ryan Dykstra's Lawn Chair Lounge on Thursdays featuring different DJs spinning house and electronica. Other changes include a new DJ booth that rises out of the stage and a reserved-seating section that fits up to twenty people.
And there are some changes up the street at 1515 Restaurant (1515 Market Street). Owner Gene Tang has put a new bar in back that changes color. He's also scaled back the live music he'd been booking to Thursdays only with the band Ray Ray, and now has DJs spinning Fridays through Sundays. The spot also has new all-day bar specials, including $4 Long Island Iced Teas, $3 well drinks and $2 drafts of Bud, Pabst and Coors. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., the bar offers $3 You-Call-Its, a deal that doesn't include all premium alcohol but does include Absolut, Jameson and Jägermeister.
Back in January, I wrote about how the former Snake Pit location at 608 East 13th Avenue would soon become Beauty Bar, joining a lineup of nine stylish saloons across the country. But owner Noah Ray McMahan has run into numerous construction delays, he told me last week, and is just finishing his last investor negotiation. As a result, he's now shooting for an opening date in early May. If he's lucky.