But by 2018, the neighbors were fed up with what had become an overly rambunctious spot...to put it mildly. And last August, the Hangar — which had really earned its spot on our Best Dive Bar list — was closed by the city as a public nuisance.
Now the space at 8001 East Colfax Avenue, which started out as a market almost a century ago, is ready to take off again, with new owners and a new name. Neil Adam and Lucia Rambusch-Adam, who live nearby in Park Hill, bought the bar at the end of December and plan to reopen it as a safe, friendly neighborhood spot, in accordance with a stipulated agreement worked out with city officials. They're partnering on the project with Tor Ericksen and Bilyana Boyanova, who will be operating the bar once it reopens as EastFax Tap.
Right now they're all working on cleaning out and cleaning up the place, painting the walls, stripping the 32-foot bar back to basics...and in the process revealing vintage red neon that lines the bar back. They'll be adding plenty of TVs, as well as purse hooks and plugs for phone chargers; big windows will open the room to the passing parade along Colfax. The outside will be cleaned up, too, with the patio fixed up and the outdoor murals covered over, per the agreement with the city.
“We are really excited about the changes we see coming to East Colfax, and were pleased to take the opportunity to be a part of it," says Neil Adam. "We're going to respect the history of the bar, but we also want to update it and create a place [where] the neighbors know they are welcome, can be safe and have fun."
They're not planning on anything more than the bare-bones kitchen required of a place with a tavern license, but are thinking about offering deals with nearby eateries and have already talked with food trucks about rolling over to this increasingly dynamic stretch of Colfax....one hungry for a good neighborhood joint.
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"We're excited," says Ericksen, who has decades of experience in the restaurant business. “We want to make a place where literally we and our staff know everyone’s name. We are going to create a laid-back spot where people want to come back often and bring their friends. Our goal is to have the bar be a meeting place where local neighbors will be able to enjoy themselves, have a beer, watch a game or listen to live music."
That live music will be coming from the space that was once a tiki bar; when it's not occupied by bands, it will be a lounge with cozy seating to augment the high-tops and community table in the main bar. The contents of the tiki bar have moved to the in-the-works Colfax Museum, at 6851 West Colfax Avenue, where founder Jonny Barber is setting up his own tiki corner. Former Hangar owner Lorie Thomas contacted Barber before the bar was sold, and the new owners donated all the old decor. "Nothing went in the dumpster," Adam points out proudly. And that includes the amazing beer-can bomber that once hung over the bar and is already flying high at the Colfax Museum.
Look for the EastFax Tap to be flying high by March 1, if not sooner. There will be new signage out front, as well as a doorman greeting guests and checking IDs. The hours will be 3 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with the bar pouring until midnight on weekends.
And that's the ’fax.