When Soda Jerk Presents started booking punk and hardcore shows in 1997, its main venues were Club 156 on the CU-Boulder campus and Tulagi's. Since then, company, headed up by owner Mike Barsch went on to book shows at the Raven and Rock Island, before buying The Cat, and for the past four years, Soda has been running its two other clubs, the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs and the Marquis Theater on 20th and Larimer, which was previously the short-lived second incarnation of Brendan's.
Now Soda's honcho Mike Barsch is taking over the former Club Bash space at 1902 Blake Street, and dubbing it the Summit Music Hall. While he plans to bring in the same kind of acts that the Black Sheep and 300-person Marquis brings in, the 12,500 square-foot Summit, which can hold over 900 people, will host bigger acts.
"It'll be a lot of what we currently do," Barsch says. "We'll just continue to do what we do. There are a lot of acts that we work with that sell out the Marquis, and we've taken them to Cervantes or the Gothic or Boulder Theater. The feeling, really, was that rather than go into other people's venues and do shows, we're going to own and operate our venue."
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While Barsch plans on opening the front part of the venue this weekend, he says it might still be another few months before the main room is transformed into what was one of the Denver's biggest hip-hop clubs for a decade into a live music venue. Barsch says the main room will be totally redone, a new stage built, a PA installed and lights pulled down and reconfigured.
Barsch also plans on having a green room for the bands in the back corner with a staffed bar. "I think it's cool and kind of unique," he says, "because most venues just kind of throw everything down in the dressing room."
Before housing Bash, the space was originally the Blake Street Baseball Club, sort of an indoor replica baseball stadium, and then the LoDo Music Hall, where Universal and House of Blues booked shows.
"We're putting it back as a venue," Barsch says. "I feel that there's a real need for that in LoDo because everything else around here is either bars or dance clubs. It definitely has its niche in downtown."