Cafe Society

Tavern Congress Park will replace Neighborhood Flix

Tavern Congress Park, a new bar and restaurant planned for the former Neighborhood Flix Cinema & Cafe inside the Lowenstein complex (2510 East Colfax), will be the next in a series of outlets run by Denver's Tavern Hospitality Group -- which also owns the Soiled Dove, the Cowboy Lounge and five other Tavern locations around town.

But Tavern group co-owner Frank Schultz also plans to include an events center that he can rent out for weddings, banquets, parties and other special events, which is why he is applying to have the Flix liquor license converted into all all-ages cabaret license that will allow dancing. A liquor license hearing is scheduled for October 30.

Nightborhood Flix, a combo restaurant/movie theater, closed in September 2008, less than a year after it opened. The Lowenstein project also includes Twist & Shout and a Tattered Cover.

"Can I do it with the liquor license there now?" Schultz asks. "Maybe, but it will be it a lot harder to make it work." Schulz says he's reached out to the four neighborhood groups in the area to address any concerns they might have and to work out a neighborhood agreement.

"Most of my customers at the other Taverns come from within a mile away," he says, adding that the Tavern Congress Park will probably be similar to Tavern Wash Park, with patio seating. But it will also have a separate entrance for the events center.

Schultz is also a fan of the Lowenstein project, the huge parking garage there and the other tenants. In fact, Twist & Shout owner Paul Epstein was Schultz's music teacher years ago when he was a student at Smoky Hill High School.

If Schultz closes on the sale of the building and is awarded the liquor license he needs, renovations will take a little over a year, meaning the Congress Park Tavern could open in time for the 2010 holiday season. "It's not a slam dunk," he warns. "Some days I wake up really excited, some days I'm scared shitless. But that's the way it is with all my projects.

"Now risk, no reward, right?"

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes