When Leigh Jones first moved to Denver a decade ago and was living in Park Hill, the Recovery Room, at 819 Colorado Boulevard, was her neighborhood bar. She went on to open several bars and restaurants of her own -- Brasserie Rouge and B-52 (both of which she owned with her then-husband); Atomic Cowboy; Dish; and, most recently (and successfully) Jonesy's EatBar and the Horseshoe Lounge.
Still, when she found out that the Recovery Room was back on the market, Jones and Horseshoe partner Margaret Moore decided to buy it from Chris Campbell and Mark Lane, who ran it for the last year.
Now Jones is in the process of transforming it into the Bar Car, which she hopes to open by next Tuesday, June 29. She wants to give the place the feel of both a Victorian railroad car and and an old Western saloon, so she slapped a coat of dark, eggplant-colored paint on the walls, painted the tin ceiling red and hung up some old brass chandeliers.
"Somebody told me they wouldn't have been able to afford that much brass back then," Jones says. "I'm thinking more like that train car the president rode around in, with lots of fringe and velvet and girls dancing. I'm not talking about the one you'd ride in where there's soot covering your clothes."
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She took the space over on June 21, and had a crew in to take out the old booths, cut them in half and run them along the side of the wall. The old wooden bar, which Jones says has "really cool flourishes, cornices and back-lit stained glass," is now highlighted, whereas before it was almost hidden. "I'm really excited to have that be more of the centerpiece of the bar," she explains.
The long, narrow space is ideal for a train-car theme -- and Jones thinks it's the perfect size all-round, since it will need just one bartender and one door guy -- and some Jonesy's fries to serve customers. "It's just nice and easy for us," she says.