When Star Bar, at 2137 Larimer Street, was slapped with a liquor-code violation late last year for serving a minor, it had to close from January 1 to March 1. But it didn't reopen after that punishment was up, and the future looked dim for the last surviving saloon from the days when this area was Denver's skid row.
But new owners took over the place — building and all — in mid-March and hurried to get it reopened on Friday, April 2, in time for baseball season. According to one of the new owners, real-estate broker Ken Himel, the previous owner, who'd had the spot for fifty years, kind of let the bar get away from him at the end. But Himel, real-estate developer Jonathan Bush and Justin Lloyd, former regional general manager of West Coast operations for ESPN Zone, plan to take a more hands-on approach. "It's still going to be a little bit divey," Himel says, "but it will be clean and safe as opposed to downright dangerous and dicey."
They plan to make it a true neighborhood bar for a rapidly changing neighborhood. "We figured it was mature enough to where it needs a neighborhood bar, because I don't think it was a neighborhood up until three or four years ago," Himel says. "So now we're going keep a lot of the character."
They're also keeping the name, the bar, the pool table and the carpet, which came from the Regency Hotel. And they gave the bar a major cleanup.
"It will be a really fun place," Lloyd promises. "Very casual, with cheap drinks. A good, old-fashioned neighborhood bar, and completely different from anything else that's around here."
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Sounds like a shining Star.
Club Scout: After almost six years, Tryst shut its doors this past weekend and is moving south — way, way south, to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Owner Paul Piciocchi plans to put a "new, improved watering hole" in the former Tryst location at 1512 Larimer Street, in Writer Square. "I've always wanted to have a place down in Playa," he says, "and I thought Tryst was a good match down there. Tryst has had a great run in Denver, but I felt like it was time to revamp it a little bit. The opportunity came along, and I thought it was a good idea to take care of both at the same time." And that's not all Piciocchi is taking care of here in Denver: At the end of 2009, he opened three venues — Rack & Rye, Mix Lounge and the Drink — in the former Alto space, at 1320 15th Street, just down the block from the old Tryst.
The music's been silenced at Jazzmatazz, the jazz club that opened in November at 1612 East 17th Avenue, right next door to Limón. "Pardon our growing pains," reads the message on the club's website. "Jazzmatazz Lounge will be temporarily closed! Please watch for our return." We will.
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On Thursday, April 15, Numerous Productions will launch Showtime at the Roxy, a weekly night inspired by Showtime at the Apollo, with a performance by St. Louis-based rapper J-Kwon. The promoter plans to feature live local and national acts at The Roxy, 2549 Welton Street, every Thursday night. "We hope to put many local acts on the right path to their dreams and throw a mean party at the same time," says Numerous partner Antonio Oteo.