But left out of the action were game arcades such as Jourdan Adler's three 1Up Arcade Bars on Colfax Avenue, in LoDo and in Greenwood Village. Despite having sent in his own variance request, Adler says he's still sitting at home and unable to open his establishments in any significant way.
"It's been rough," he states. "But I waited until the Gilpin County variance went through because I thought that would be a green light for us."
Adler notes that he could open his arcade bars under the new bar guidelines, but he would have to turn off or remove all of the arcade games. "To come into the 1Up and look at 150 games all turned off — it's like being in a graveyard," he adds, noting that drinks are not really the main draw even in the best of times. "We sell fifty-cent shots of Mad Dog, and our cocktails all have three ingredients — and one of those is ice."
Adler's proposed variance includes several restrictions that he would follow as a business owner, including requiring employees and customers to wear face masks, limiting the capacity to 25 percent (or a maximum of fifty people), turning off or removing enough games to allow at least six feet between each game, monitoring and sanitizing each game between uses, and providing sanitizer, wipes and gloves for customers who wish to use them. The arcades would also enforce rules that would discourage mingling, competitions and game sharing between people who didn't come in as a family or group. He's hoping for a quick turnaround on the variance approval, because it will take him about two weeks to get up and running.
"July's kind of our breaking point," Adler continues. "I can squeeze out July's rents, but then I have to get open, and that might mean moving out games, renting a truck and finding storage space, which will take time and planning."
To help get his point out, Adler has changed up the marquee at his flagship 1Up Arcade Bar at 717 East Colfax Avenue; it now reads "Casino$ but no arcades. Let us turn our games back on." His point? That gambling is a big revenue generator for the state, but his small-time operation doesn't have much pull.