Former Palomino going Prime

Palomino was one of the first restaurant closures of 2008, and one of the most high-profile all year. It shut down exactly a year ago -- after a ten-year run -- because the corporate owners forgot to renew the pony's lease at 1515 Arapahoe Street.

But now the long-rumored new tenant for the space is finally surfacing: There's a sign in the window announcing a liquor-license application hearing on February 2 for PrimeBar Denver -- and this time, it's going for a license that will allow patron dancing.

The contact name on the application is Roger Greenfield, who represents a group out of Chicago.

This Prime is not to be confused with Maxim Prime (although we were plenty confused when we first saw the sign). Maxim Prime is a chain started by Jeffrey Chodorow, founder of Maxim magazine, which was reportedly looking at the Il Fornaio space on Wazee Street last fall.

When the Maxim venture was announced in October 2006, Chodorow said he hoped to have fifteen passionate steakhouses open within the next two years. But so far, there's just one in Atlanta, although the Maxim Prime website lists four restaurants coming soon -- in New York, San Diego, the Dominican Republic and Denver.

But while PrimeBar and Maxim Prime could result in Denver having two duelling Primes, at least they won't be competing with Prime 121, the steakhouse at 121 Clayton Street that closed a few months ago. And now Maxim Prime has sole claim to the first half of its name: A couple of years ago the Paper Tiger strip-club bar at 1196 South Santa Fe Drive had changed its name to Maxim -- but a chat with the mag's lawyers convinced them to change the name again. Currently, the club has a sign outside that simply promises "Topless" and that day's specials.

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