Bill Ward learned a hard lesson in Larimer Square, where he owned Below Bar and Slim 7: At most clubs, you only have a small window -- say, from 10 p.m. until closing -- when you can make money. But now that he's out of Larimer Square altogether, Ward's planning to open that window wide atminiBAR
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, the joint he opened at 222 Columbine Street a year ago.
Instead of opening at 4 p.m., miniBAR is now open for lunch, with a menu revamped by new chef Eric Olson. And Ward hopes to start opening even earlier, at 7 a.m., by the end of the month. MiniBAR's lounge-y environment is perfect for a coffee shop, he points out: They'll just open up the front windows so people can get coffee to go.
Within a few weeks, Ward will also be partnering with club veteran Mark Strazisar, who runs Sutra, to make miniBAR more of a European-type establishment. "It could be a really fun project that's different than anything else in town," Ward says. "It's a place where people can go lounge, listen to music if they want to, get on their computer. And as the night progresses, it usually gets a little louder, with a different type of crowd, until we're more of a club."
As for Ward's former spaces in Larimer Square, TAG's downstairs bar/dining room now occupies the former home of Slim 7. And Frank Bonanno's been looking at the Below Bar space, which Ward had tried turning into a gay bar back in April. "We weren't making the money we needed to down there," he says.