Sudhir Kudva and two business partners have taken over the Orange Cat Studios underground-arts space at 2625 Larimer Street, and hope to reopen it as the very aboveground The Matchbox by the end of February. Kudva, who also owns the Squire Lounge, says the spot — which suffered a fire two years ago — also looks like a matchbox.
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The place has been getting an overhaul — including new bathrooms — over the past few months, but the tin ceiling and exposed brick are still intact. The back end of the building has been demolished, and Kudva says they'll be putting a patio, beer garden and bocce ball court in that space, to help make it a casual neighborhood lounge. The bar will have local beers on tap, such as brews from Great Divide and the brand-new Denver Beer Company. And while the Matchbox won't be a martini bar, Justin Anthony, another owner, is a big cocktail fan, Kudka says, so it will serve unique cocktails that aren't super-expensive.
While the owners have applied for a cabaret license, they're not going to push music hard, because they're already surrounded by such music-heavy venues as Casselman's, Meadowlark and the Larimer Lounge. But the owners all have strong ties to the non-profit community, and they're going for the license so that the Matchbox can host fundraising events.
Club scout: Although The Boulder Draft House (2027 13th Street in Boulder) won a silver medal for its 44 Pale Ale at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival, that wasn't enough to keep the brewpub afloat; it closed January 1 after a two-year run. The 6,500-square-foot space had previously been home to Redfish Fish House and Brewery; next door, the former b-side Lounge space at 2017 13th Street is still vacant after a year. In Denver, Gallery 22 (821 22nd Street), which opened a year ago in the former home of Muddy's Coffeehouse, Club Ra and the Loft, recently went dark.
Close to a year after buying Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom from Jay Bianchi, the venue's owners have upgraded it by completely refinishing the floors as well as the bar at the Other Side next door; the sound booth has been moved from the balcony to the floor, making it easier to get the sound dialed in. In celebration of the venue's eighth anniversary, and the first with new owners, the Motet will play the best covers from its Halloween shows — including Talking Heads, Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder and more — on Friday, January 28. On Saturday, January 29, the Motet will play a set of Earth, Wind and Fire songs, with a thirteen-piece band featuring a trio of lead vocalists, four horns, two guitars and percussion.