Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Is the Denver Chamber of Commerce getting into the bar business?

The Denver Department of Excise and License has received an application to transfer ownership of a liquor license at 1445 Market Street in LoDo. That's the old home of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse -- but it's also the building that houses the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. And, in fact, the license change request by 1445 Market Restaurant LLC is signed by Robert Blankenship, a Chamber exec.

So, now that Kelly Brough has taken over for Joe Blake as head of the organization, is the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce getting into the bar business?

No such luck, says Blankenship, COO of the Chamber.

Since an offshoot of the Chamber owns the building and leases out that restaurant space, it just makes sense to get control of the liquor license while the Ruth's Chris home remains in limbo. Particularly since in LoDo, new liquor licenses can be hard to come by -- and the space will be much more attractive to future tenants if a license is in place.

"Objections to this transfer must be based only on the character and reputation of the applicant," reads the notice sent out on November 19 to neighborhood organizations, which have fifteen calendar days to object.

But just in case the Chamber controlling a "standard cabaret" license conjures up frightening visions of businesspeople loosening their ties, kicking off the pumps and getting down after work, the application notes that there will be "no dancing."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun