Once home to O.P. Baur Confectionery Company in the late 1800s, Baur’s Ristorante and most recently, Le Grand Bistro, which closed last year, the building at 1512 Curtis Street has a long history. Now the Baur’s name is getting a reboot with Baur’s, Est. 1872 restaurant and its music venue, Baur’s Listening Lounge.
“We believe that Baur’s should be regarded as a Denver institution, and in this next reincarnation of it we’ve decided that Baur’s, Est. 1872 should be basically Denver’s go-to event center and be the place to go for events and dinner,” David Spira, who’s owned the building since 2004.
Spira, who formed the Music Appreciation Society (M/A/S) non-profit, says he wants the music programming in the Baur’s Listening Lounge to be interactive and to be determined by the members of the society. He says it’s similar to what Swallow Hill is doing but more eclectic.
“We’re promoting classical chamber music,” he says. “We’re promoting bluegrass and New Orleans music and jazz.”
Although the restaurant, run by proprietor Dory Ford, won’t be serving until next month, the listening lounge just had its first show with New Orleans-based pianist Jon Cleary last week. Justin Kauflin, the outstanding blind pianist who was featured in the Clark Terry documentary, Keep on Keepin’ On, performed last night.
In April, Baur’s listening lounge brings in New York-based jazz vocalist Catherine Russell and Bethany and Rufus with Brahim Fribgane, who perform Brazilian spirit music. On May 3, Baur’s hosts a bossa nova super group featuring pianist Jovino Santos-Neto, singer Maucha Adnet and guitarist Romero Lubambo.
While Spira says the M/A/S is going to eventually create a program for local musicians to perform at Baur’s, in the meantime they’re hoping to book two or three national acts a month if possible. The venue seats 150 for the bigger shows a salon are can accommodate 100 people or less for recitals.
M/A/S also offers a few membership levels that include priority seating, invitations to special events, rehearsals, auditions and sound checks, as well as discounts Baur’s restaurant and other participating merchants.