When Phil Villotti and Ray Rodriguez took over the Atrium Bar & Grill space at 554 S. Broadway, they gave the place a much needed overhaul and reopened as The Bar in September, 2011. But after a year and a half run, the pair have closed the spot, which offered a wide assortment of entertainment options beyond just comedy and live music. According to Villotti and Rodriquez, it was just time to move on to something different.
Villotti and Rodriguez offered this impassioned explanation:
"Why are you closing?
The question keeps being asked as to why The Bar is closing and simply put, it's our choice to do so. The ability to know when its time to cut loose is key to success in other ventures. Would we have liked to see our business thriving? Of course. However in the end it is only a business. It is a blip. They come and go. We walk away from The Bar knowing we ran it the way we chose to, made some solid personal connections and learned the true importance of family, friends and commitment.
We are smart guys and will always make money. What you cannot get back is time spent with people who support you all through your life -- not just during the peak phases. It has been a great couple of years, but it is time to move forward and concentrate on other endeavors.
What are some of your fondest memories of The Bar?
When we decided to move to Denver and open The Bar, we wanted to do so in a way that we could extend our belief in charity, community, and fun and entertainment for/with others.
The name was simple and so was the concept: Come in, enjoy, feel safe and have one damn good time. And overall, we really accomplished that goal. In our short time we were recognized by all outlets of media in town, Westword's 2012 Top 10 Best New Bar, Westword's Best of Edition for Megan Nyce's "My Teenage Angst" and so graciously Out Front's Power Edition Most Influential Award. We are truly humbled and grateful for such recognitions. We are most proud that in our brief two years over $20,000 was raised for different charities and causes, and we think that says something for a small business with few local contacts.
We honestly believe in charity and giving back to a community that serves you. We hosted or held fundraisers for the likes of the Colorado Springs fire victims, organizations such as ICRME, The Center, Denver Children's Advocacy Center and personal need issues for a funeral and hospital expenses.
Our immediate community is not the same as many others...we have friends from all walks of life and orientations -- we enjoyed bringing that to a small property where people can meet and hopefully branch out to something new or different. All too often so many people become mired in their "group" and never get to experience anything or anyone more.
Ours was a place open to all for free expression and opportunity to meet someone potentially new and different from themselves. We love variety and that's what we gave: burlesque, live music, poker, bingo, comedy, opera, drag and a roast or two. In a sense, The Bar became an art house of sorts for performers.
We offered a venue for creative people to experiment and then, in some cases, for others to lift ideas. The best compliment in the world is mimicry, so when other well known venues would follow on what we were doing we just smiled, because in all, they could never pull off what we and our friends were doing. In retrospect, perhaps we should have opened a performance venue. Who knows? That could well be our next adventure. To some it up....we had a lot of fun."
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