Things don't look too sweet for Sugar House, the swingers club that Scottie Ewing opened in 2007 after selling Denver Players, a hip hooker business. A broken window in front is covered with plywood, the door is locked up tight, the voicemail box is full. Its closure (for now) ends another wacky chapter in Denver history.
Sex marked the spot.
Ewing, a former pro ski racer with a very varied resume (as revealed in this 2006 Westword cover story), had opened Sugar House at 1395 West Alameda Avenue after landlords in northwest Denver objected to the very-adult, and unauthorized, activities in the storefront he'd rented there (read more in our 2007 story "Exhibitionists!"). By contrast, Ewing was very upfront regarding his new enterprise, tagging Sugar House with the motto, "If sexy offends you, stay home," and pressing on with plans over neighbors' objections."The whole philosophy is that you gather people with similar interests," he explained just before the club opened. "There was no place for people with this lifestyle or with those interests to have a default place to meet."
After that, Ewing kept a relatively low profile until last spring, when he was revealed as the source of the accusations that Michael Hancock, then running for Denver mayor, had allegedly been a customer of Denver Players. The story broke just a few days before the run-off election, creating one of the wilder weeks for local journalism, with Ewing reporting that his computer had been stolen and reporters poring over Hancock's phone records. But Hancock, who denied the accusations, won the election handily, and the story went away...except for a few occasional hiccups on the web and talk radio.
Ewing went away, too. By the end of summer, he no longer owned Sugar House, having sold it to a manager, Kelly Bailey. And late last year, he left town altogether, landing in California while he makes plans to open a Sugar House in Las Vegas.
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Now Denver's Sugar House, which had added a weekday, G-rated alter-ego of the Alameda Grill, could be gone for good. In February, Bailey was served with a notice of a liquor-license violation -- allegedly serving to a minor -- and she recently received a letter from the Denver Department of Excise and License, ordering her to "appear to show cause why the temporary permit to operate a hotel and restaurant class liquor license issued to Khameleon Group, LLC, doing business as Sugar House, 1395 West Alameda Avenue, Denver, Colorado, should not be suspended or revoked for alleged violations of the Colorado Liquor Code as stated in the February 2, 2012 Amended Order to Show Cause in this matter."
That hearing has been postponed, because a witness -- a police cadet who appears to be part of the underage issue -- has a conflict with the scheduled March 16 show-case hearing. But in the meantime, Sugar House/Alameda Grill is locked up tight.
Another chapter closed.
Is John Hickenlooper following in the footsteps of gaffe-happy Joe Biden? Read about it in "John Hickenlooper's bloopers prove he's vice presidential material."