The Matchbox celebrates its first anniversary tonight

When Sudhir Kuva and his business partners took over the Orange Cat Studios underground-arts space at 2625 Larimer Street last year and transformed it into the Matchbox, Kuva was concerned about how a non-music bar would do in an area with three live-music venues within a block.

But now he says that things have gone better than expected for the Matchbox, which will celebrate its first anniversary with a party starting at 8 p.m. tonight.

With some help from neighbors and the folks at Denver Patio Ride, which brought several (and sometimes as many as five) rides by the bar a day last summer, the Matchbox has built up a steady stream of regulars. "We're very pleased with how the neighborhood and the community has embraced us," Kudvir says. "We're just really thrilled with where the neighborhood is going."

While Kudvir says the anniversary party, which includes $5 infused vodkas, is a way to say thanks to the people who have supported the Matchbox over the last year, he's also looking ahead to the future. Starting next month, the spot will feature a bartender on the back patio Fridays through Sundays, serving such summery drinks as sangria and strawberry daiquiris made with fresh puree.

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