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Photos: Squire Lounge opens after renovations

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Drunken throngs gathered on East Colfax last night to celebrate the return of the Squire Lounge. While the Squire had a reputation for being one of Denver's diciest dive bars, it was nevertheless beloved, even if many of its regular patrons would schlep over to 7-Eleven instead of using the Squire's bathrooms. It wasn't the nicest place and sometimes homeless people sitting outside would shout at the patrons, but the Squire had cheap drinks and a great staff. It was the ideal environment for what was once called "the meanest comedy open mic in America."

But times change, and so has the Squire. Owner Sudhir Kudva partnered with X-Bar's Steven Alix to remodel the space. "This is basically the same Squire, except it's cleaner," Kudva says. "That balance will be a big deal to us going forward." And if last night's crowd was any indication, the Squire 2.0 will fit right in with the changing character of Colfax. Keep reading for more from Kudya, as well as photos of the new and old Squire.

See also: Squire Lounge to close for renovations -- will the classic dive go upscale?

Westword: How long did the restorations take?

Sudhir Kudva: The renovations took a month and a half. They went pretty well; we're about 95 percent done.

Did you discover anything cool about this old place while you were tearing it up?

We uncovered a mural of dancing girls that dates all the way back to1932. So right now, we're trying to figure out how to match 100-year-old paint -- which is difficult, to say the least.

So the history of the place is important?

Totally. Everything that we put the new drywall over was cinderblock. Everything else, except the floors, is original. We exposed the original tiles on the ceiling and the original brick walls. We're trying to make it more like a restoration than a renovation. We want to keep as much of the original building as possible.

What did you focus on changing, then?

We also cleared it out so there's more space. We took out a lot of the dividing walls and the false ceiling. We also got rid of the pool table. While it looks much bigger now, the only new space we gained is where the old bathrooms were. We took out those old bathrooms and now that's going to be the stage area for Tuesday night.

More before and after photos:

Keep reading for more photos of the new Squire's opening night:

Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.

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