Word of Mouth

Bill Ward has big plans for miniBAR

Bill Ward learned a hard lesson in Larimer Square, where he owned Below Bar and Slim 7: At most clubs, you only have a small window -- say, from 10 p.m. until closing -- when you can make money. But now that he's out of Larimer Square altogether, Ward's planning to open that window wide at miniBAR, the joint he opened at 222 Columbine Street a year ago.

Instead of opening at 4 p.m., miniBAR is now open for lunch, with a menu revamped by new chef Eric Olson. And Ward hopes to start opening even earlier, at 7 a.m., by the end of the month. MiniBAR's lounge-y environment is perfect for a coffee shop, he points out: They'll just open up the front windows so people can get coffee to go.

Within a few weeks, Ward will also be partnering with club veteran Mark Strazisar, who runs Sutra, to make miniBAR more of a European-type establishment. "It could be a really fun project that's different than anything else in town," Ward says. "It's a place where people can go lounge, listen to music if they want to, get on their computer. And as the night progresses, it usually gets a little louder, with a different type of crowd, until we're more of a club."

As for Ward's former spaces in Larimer Square, TAG's downstairs bar/dining room now occupies the former home of Slim 7. And Frank Bonanno's been looking at the Below Bar space, which Ward had tried turning into a gay bar back in April. "We weren't making the money we needed to down there," he says.