After two months of renovations, Club 404 will officially reopen today as the Denver Wheel Club 404. The watering hole that Jerry Feld bought back in 1951 is now in the hands of Craig and Andrew Caldwell, and Brad Evans, the designer who also keeps the Denver Cruisers rolling, has transformed the place into a hipster hangout with a bicycle theme that still has the great, divey atmosphere of the original.
Not that Club 404 was the original tenant of this space. During renovation work, the crew uncovered a reproduction of "Hep Hounds," a painting by Constance Depler Coleman that dates back to the bar's days as the Red Lantern; that scene gets star treatment as a mural in the cleaned-up, stripped down (to brick) bar area.
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And the updated name also harkens back to the past: In the 1890s, when this city had more velocipedes than people, Denver actually had a Wheel club, Evans says. And if this Denver Wheel Club 404 does well, there could be others popping up -- the logo was designed so that the 404 can be replaced with another location.
But for now, getting all the work down at 404 Broadway has been enough. For the past week, people who've stopped in to check on progress were welcomed to stay, and the spot has been getting raves from regulars who parked themselves at new bar seats at the same old bar. "This is a landmark that only a fool would lose," Evans assures fans of Club 404. "We've done our best to keep the original feel to the place... You'll be surprised!"