Cafe Society

Rename the Blake, win a $1,000 bar tab

When the Blake opened last October, owner Jimmy Calanni planned to unlock his two-story space on the weekends, booking in live music acts, entertaining drinkers on the main level with flat screen TVs and maybe, if he felt the market was right, introducing dueling pianos.

Now, though, the bar is getting a new concept and a new name -- and with the changes, it's offering a chance to score a $1,000 bar tab.

"We got some new investors involved, and they're trying to go in a different direction," manager Liberty Kimball explains of the switch. "We don't want to compete with the night clubs any more, so we're going toward the neighborhood bar with good food, a good vibe and good atmosphere."

Specifically, the Blake is introducing a Ukrainian and American menu, serving specialties like varenyky (pierogies), holopchi (cabbage rolls) and kielbasas, alongside typical American bar food, like soft pretzels and burgers. The space itself will get a bit of a makeover, too: a stage is going in downstairs where, Kimball says, the bar will host live music and comedy; the upstairs is being tricked out with arcade games and a pool table. What's more, the spot will now be open every day for lunch, dinner and drinking.

The staff will begin rolling out the changes this week, though Kimball says there's no firm date set for completion.

In the meantime, the Blake is searching for a new name to fit the new concept -- and it has turned to Denverites to find it. It's offering a $1,000 bar tab to the person who suggests the moniker that sticks. So far, it's received nominations like The Mad Uky, Bulba's, The Bloated Kossak, American Kossak and Korruption -- but Kimball says the prize won't be rewarded until the owners receive a perfect match.

To send your own suggestions to the crew at The Blake, send an e-mail to [email protected] or track them down through Facebook.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk