Beauty Bar Closing, Owners Exploring New Options

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Since opening five years ago in Capitol Hill, the Denver Beauty Bar has been home to various weekly dance nights, like Lipgloss and Motown Thursdays, and hosted such high-profile talent as Prince Paul, Victor Duplaix, DJ Nu-Mark, the Smiths' Andy Rourke, and Love and Rockets/Bauhaus guitarist Daniel Ash. But now the owners have decided to close the dance club on Saturday, April 4, and co-owner Mike Barnhart and his partners are working on potentially doing something else with the space.

“We just felt like it’s been a great five years,” Barnhart says, “and we kind of want to end on a high note and explore other options.”

When the Denver Beauty Bar opened in June 2010 in the former Snake Pit location at 608 East 13th Avenue, Barnhart says, there were seven other Beauty Bar locations around the country, including the original spot in New York, which opened in 1995 in a four-decade-old salon, keeping most of its vintage glory intact, right down to the hair dryers.

Although Dallas and Chicago opened Beauty Bars around the same time the Denver location opened, some others have closed in the past five years, including Austin, Portland, San Diego and Los Angeles; during that time, another Beauty Bar opened in Brooklyn.

Barnhart said the Denver Beauty Bar had the biggest interior space of all of the locations.

“Because of ours being a bigger venue, we got a lot of feedback about that,” Barnhart says. “It was the newest at the time, so everyone was really impressed with how glittery and sparkly it was compared to the other ones, where the glitter had been knocked off the walls over the years. It was really nice to hear from people who had visited other Beauty Bars — just about how good of a job we did on this one.”

Barnhart says he noticed a lot of new faces over the last five years, but he didn’t really see a change in clientele.

“I think our core clientele has always remained a very mixed crowd, which is kind of what Capitol Hill represents, and Denver in general. I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed a change in Capitol Hill; I’d say more that I’ve noticed a change in Denver and Colorado as a whole. When we opened five years ago, during the recession, we had a lot of people coming in from other major cities that have Beauty Bars and saying they just moved here because it’s so cheap, and they showed up not knowing anyone and saw a Beauty Bar was here and came over here.”

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