McCormick's and Jax remodeling projects leave LoDo high and almost dry

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Something's fishy at the corner of 17th and Wazee streets, where both Jax Fish House and McCormick's Fish House & Bar have renovation projects under way. Jax, which just celebrated its sixteenth anniversary on this particular corner in LoDo, closed after the end of service New Year's Eve for a massive remodel that will include expanding the bar into the dining room; the menu will expand, too, with lunch being added for the first time. The restaurant should be open again for dinner on January 18, with lunch following three days later.

Ironically, Jax's remodel is now coinciding with the renovation of the bar at McCormick's, across the way in the Oxford Hotel -- a project that was originally on the books for summer 2011. See also: - Renovated Cruise Room and McCormick's dining room are decked out for the holidays - Jax Fish House named one of the best seafood retaurants in the country

"The Corner Bar is under renovation as of today," says manager Tim Pence, who adds that the plan is for the work to be done by next weekend -- which happens to coincide with the start of the National Western Stock Show, on January 12.

"We'll keep the same lines," he says, but this first major upgrade in the 25-year-old bar's history will involve replacing all the furniture, as well as the bar top and much of the bar shelving. The historic stained-glass piece that had been at the back of the bar will be reinstalled on the far wall of what had been the Crystal Room, which will now be a more "exclusive" bar seating area.

But seafood lovers won't be left entirely high and dry in the meantime. While the work continues, the McCormick's dining room -- which was also renovated this fall -- will keep its normal hours. And the legendary Cruise Room, which got its own facelift this fall, will be open all day while the Corner Bar is closed, serving McCormick's renowned happy-hour deal from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays (and 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday).

And although the late-night happy hour, like the original Cruise Room floor, is now a thing of the past, the bar will be pushing the Tuesday "Shrimp and Shuck a Buck" special, with oysters on the half-shell and shrimp a buck each, from 5 p.m. until close on Tuesdays.

Watch Cafe Society for updates on both the Jax and McCormick's remodeling projects.

A version of this story first appeared on Cafe Bites, our electronic newsletter on Denver's drinking and dining scene that appears in e-mail inboxes every Wednesday. Find out how to subscribe here.

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