About three years ago, 15th St.Tavern had to close up shop as the building that housed the bar was slated to be demolished. Since then, Mykel Martinez has been looking for a place to resurrect it. He found a space on Park Avenue West, only to be denied a liquor license, and then he got in a nasty motorcycle accident just as he was closing in on a space on South Broadway.
Now Martinez, Kris Sieger, another former 15th St. Tavern owner and 3 Kings Tavern owner Jim Norris have teamed up to take over the former legendary gay bar Triangle at 2036 Broadway. The trio is planning to reopen the joint as The Rockaway Tavern on July 23.
"I guess this could kind of be a resurrection," Martinez says, "but it's not really. The places Jim and I have owned before, we've walked into them as operating the bars, but this is ours. We're gutting it. We're putting our floor plan down. It's our ideas. It's our baby."
They're in the process of the renovating the spot, which Martinez thinks has been vacant for the last six years, and plan to knock some of the bricks in the front wall to make way for garage door windows, as well as putting in a stage and re-doing the downstairs.
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As expected, Norris and Martinez agree that Rockaway Tavern will pretty much have a 3 Kings-meets-15th St. kind of vibe and plan to bring in similar acts that have played both places. They'll be shooting for national acts as well.
"There's plenty of room in Denver for this kind of stuff," Norris says. "It just makes Denver a better stop. Every band can come to Denver now. Anybody on tour ... lots of people are getting missed getting booked because ... who wants to play Aurora, ever?"
Norris says he knows all about pretty much every aspect of running a bar from everything except being a musician. "To me, that's the mystery part," Norris says. "I know all about retail. I know all about promoting and every single part but the being a musician part," which he thinks is needed to have that true perspective.
That's where Martinez comes in. As the guitarist for Black Lamb and Grease Machine, he says, "One of our main focuses is going to be treating the bands really well and paying them like they should be since they're the ones that bring the people in."