After a six-year run, Casselman's Bar & Venue in the RiNo district is closing this Saturday. Bend, Oregon's 10 Barrel Brewery (owned by AB InBev) is slated to open a brewpub in the building. Casselman's remaining shows include Mike Ring tonight, a comedy game show on Thursday, January 21, and Stephen Pearcy, former singer for Ratt, on Friday, January 22. Pearcy's will be the final show at the 10,000-square-foot venue .
Casselman's talent buyer Elan Schwartz says the 1,200-capacity bar and venue could not sustain operations under the current conditions of the market and its Denver neighborhood.
"The whole RiNo district is kind of bar/brewery/restaurant-[focused].... It’s just turning into that whole little district, and there’s nothing wrong with that — business is business," Schwartz says. "But music venues are hard. They’re not the same kind business as throwing some beer cans at some hipsters.... It costs a lot of money to book these bigger names.
"And people aren’t paying for music like they used to anymore," he continues. "You can take your MP3 player and download any song for free. Believe it or not, it makes it harder to sell a hard-copy ticket for a fan of music when it used to be that people would be dying to go see, you know, Def Leppard. I mean, they’d be killing for those tickets. There’d be every kind of scalper on the street, and it would be just like the Broncos."
Schwartz notes that he and Casselman's owner Andrew Ranes have talked about possibly finding another spot for the club, maybe a smaller room with a capacity of closer to 700. "We just want to get into a building where we can sell it out and be successful," Schwartz says. "We’d love to do that. It’s definitely been talked about, but no plans have been firmly decided."
Over the past six years, Casselman's has brought in a number of national acts, including Warrant, Skid Row, Anvil, Lynch Mob, Too $hort and Raekwon, as well as hosting an assortment of local bands and nonprofit and corporate functions. The building was previously Shakespeare's pool hall; before that, it was a distribution warehouse for the May Company in the '40s and '50s.
In the near future, Schwartz, whose Bands 4 Bands Entertainment has been booking shows at Casselman's for the last five years, will be talent-buying at other venues like the Stampede and Buffalo Rose, where he's bringing in Drowning Pool on February 18.