Nearly four years after Matt LaBarge took over the former Bulldog Bar at 3602 East Colfax and transformed it into the Lost Lake Lounge, he has sold it to Larimer Lounge owner and AEG talent buyer Scott Campbell. Campbell, who officially took over the space yesterday, says one of the reasons for buying Lost Lake was to book the overflow from the Larimer Lounge during busy months, such as March and April (during South by Southwest and Coachella) and October and November (during the CMJ Music Marathon) when there are a number of bands touring.
"You have a situation like the last weekend in March where we have a ton of bands that want to come through that weekend and all my clubs are all booked," Campbell says. "So it would be nice to have yet another club to offer to bands that are coming through in those very busy timeframes."
Given Lost Lake's proximity to the Bluebird Theater, one of the venues Campbell books for AEG, he's already used the bar as a meet-and-greet spot for some bands that have played at the Bluebird, and he plans to still use the space for that purpose, as well as for acts who might want to have after-parties. Campbell said the last time the Sword played the Bluebird, they had an after-party at Lost Lake, and BoomBox hosted a meet and greet there. When Built to Spill last played the Bluebird, frontman Doug Martsch did a DJ set at the Lost Lake after the band's gig.
Campbell has recruited Tony Mason, who worked at Larimer Lounge prior to booking shows at Herman's Hideaway, to be Lost Lake's general manager, as well as handling the booking, production and marketing. Campbell says they'll bringing in local and touring acts and host DJ sets as well.
"The cool thing about the Lost Lake," he says, "is that it already has a built in kind of crowd there because of where it's located. It's kind of a cool part of Colfax. It does get some after-show traffic from the Bluebird."
Campbell, who was the talent buyer at 15th Street Tavern for six years before opening the Larimer Lounge in 2002, says the Lost Lake reminds him of 15th Street, and that the Lost Lake has a similar vibe as the now-defunct music venue.
While a whole lot won't be changing with new ownership, Campbell says he plans to make some small changes to make the space a lot cooler, like possibly making the outdoor patio bigger and maybe installing a garage door or two in the summer.
After many nights of hanging out at the Lost Lake, Campbell told LaBarge a few years ago that if he ever wanted to sell the Lost Lake that he he'd be interested. One of the reasons LaBarge, who sold the Hi-Dive last year, wanted to sell the Lost Lake was that he wanted to get out of the live music business. "It just wasn't doing the numbers I wanted it to do," says LaBarge, "and I didn't really put in the effort to booking the shows."
As far as what LaBarge's next venture is, he's not entirely sure. "I don't know what my next project is exactly, but I think I want to stay with more food and less totally dependent on bands and live entertainment," he says. "So I'm not really sure. I've got a few ideas in mind, but nothing solid yet. I'm going to spend this time now kind of scoping out some spaces and throwing around some concepts to some other people and see what we can put together."
While LaBarge says the former Rockbar location is one of the places he could be interested in, there are also some other areas and buildings that may be also in the running. "Hopefully," he says, "by the spring I'll have some stuff put together to launch a new venture."
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