Longtime drinkers, never dread: There is a whole lot to really like about the recently renovated Pete’s Satire Lounge, which will celebrate its grand reopening at 1920 East Colfax Avenue on Saturday, April 16. Which is since 24-year-previous Alex Barakos, grandson of Satire namesake the late, legendary Denver restaurateur Pete Contos, turned his eye to his family’s virtually sixty-12 months stewardship of the bar as he plotted out style possibilities for its potential.
Frequent patrons will discover that the Satire’s elevated eating area has been leveled, virtually. It now sits even with and flows naturally to the bar area. Not that any individual at any time drank up there. Gone are the oft-overlooked diner booths, which had been mounted when Contos tried to pivot the Satire from community watering hole to sit-down restaurant in the course of a 2009 remodel. Barakos changed them with snug, if spartan, high-tops that can fold up into the wall to build a dance flooring.
That will not be the 1st matter regulars detect, although. That honor goes to the ornate black-and-crimson paint career that snakes to and by means of the previous dining region. Previous Denver acolytes will love that its structure normally takes inspiration from the Satire’s original wallpaper, which Barakos found immediately after taking sledgehammer to drywall. The initial things wasn’t in fantastic plenty of form to help you save, but the paint is a clear, thoughtful stand-in — and history buffs can look for out a preserved sq. of the aged wallpaper that Contos experienced framed by the bar on the Satire’s thirtieth anniversary in 1992.
Stroll just previous that plaque and beneath the watchful eye of a framed portrait of Contos and you’ll close up in a activity room, previously the erstwhile Mexican restaurant’s very long-deserted smoking section. No need to stress about any lingering cigarette stench: Barakos accidentally broke as a result of a layer of drywall during the transform method only to come across some large stone bricks. He chiseled them out from a long time of smoke stains, spilled drinks and other sordid history to outcome in a area that’s as trendy as you’d be expecting from your normal dive bar fix-and-flip — but with the advantage of a long time of Denver background powering it.
In it, you will find “something for everyone,” as Barakos places it, including a Beatles-themed pinball device (picked for the reason that Barakos liked playing the Beatles Rock Band online video sport as a child), a dartboard and a shuffleboard table. Potential additions may possibly consist of a foosball table, a chessboard and whatever other “fun, drunk games” make the Satire Lounge experience like, well, a lounge. “The objective is for there to be one thing entertaining for any person when they walk in off the road,” Barakos reported.
When you do stroll in, it’ll take a minute for your eyes to change. The Satire in its 2009-2022 iteration was brighter than a camera flash, a strategic alternative Contos manufactured to go the bar away from its difficult-drinking standing — and perhaps go some of the tricky drinkers out the door. His grandson has moved in a decidedly distinct path, with dark black ceilings and flawlessly “warm” bulbs, by his telling. “I experienced to go to ten distinct Residence Depots to locate bulbs that achieved the ideal requirements,” he reported. Excellent style and design is invisible, and on a crowded night time, you will scarcely notice the bulbs or the haphazard constellations of cords that draw you in circles about the bar’s new open format.
Unmissable, even so, are the two neon indicators Barakos commissioned from Seth Totten of Denver’s Acme Neon, who famously restored the El Chapultepec indication to operating get in 2014, amongst other large-profile tasks. In the recreation room gleams an Instagram-helpful “Meet me at the Tire” indication. That catchphrase is all Barakos we’ll see if it catches on.
Even if it does, the star of the present will permanently and always be the glowing “Plates are hot…have a nice time” sign visible from just about each bar seat, just future to the revamped kitchen area. It’s a not-so-refined nod to the Satire’s meals runner and veritable jack of all trades Joey Mestas, who in his fifty yrs at the joint has uttered that really phrase thousands of situations as something of a Denver legend in his individual right. Barakos loves the indication. “It’s a minor trace at the heritage of factors. When you see it, probably you know the tale, it’s possible you don’t. But if you really don’t, you question…or you just run into Joey.”
Mestas’s just take on getting his catchphrase all lit up? “Feels really excellent, but I have generally been up in lights in right here. I have been up repairing them,” he jokes.
There is much less to repair now, especially considering that Barakos up-to-date the ancient back bar coolers with modern day versions, a lot to the aid of longtime bartender Shannon Hollingsworth. “Do you know how extended I’ve been waiting for these? The previous kinds broke regularly. This is, by considerably, my favourite element of the transform,” she states.
She and Mestas feel content material with Barakos’s new course, even though they’ve acquired a number of additional merchandise on their respective desire lists. Hollingsworth says that she hopes the bar could get again to the way it applied to be, quite a few years back. “It was enjoyable. It was crowded. It was active. It was magnificent,” she remembers.
As for Mestas? “I wish I was wealthy,” he states. “I’d own ten bars just like this 1.”
When wealthy people today acquire bars, of class, they are inclined to switch patina with what ever tendencies they think will optimize gains. That is assuredly not what is heading on in this article. There’s a particular earnestness to every little thing that reminds you that the Satire is even now quite a great deal an genuine family company. In the to start with position, the rework is not really concluded. Barakos is nonetheless ready on some sliding garage door-style windows that will open up to Colfax, for case in point. Just just before assistance started out on a current Saturday, he was pounding absent to flatten nails on the picket framing that will finally hold them in area. “This looks like a legal responsibility to me,” he mentioned, laughing.
Sit at the bar, gaze up and squint your eyes. You could possibly see really faint strains of shimmering paint that represent Barakos’s try to bring back the Satire’s famed glittered ceilings. It did not work. “I’ll try out that in a different way as soon as we have some revenue coming in,” he notes.
And although the kitchen area has been cleaned up and is “locked and loaded,” per Barakos, he however wants employees to start placing out Mexican-encouraged bar food stuff. “I had a cook dinner that literally moved away,” he claims. He hopes meals services can start out in the month, even if it won’t be ready to go for the grand reopening.
The entire thing feels very human and a contact imperfect, a rarity for lots of remodels as Denver has developed and found its uneasy footing as a significant American metropolis. That’s important: The hospitality small business is in the long run the persons small business. The more durable you test to concentrate-team a area into the “perfect” bar, the extra you ward off the regulars who tend to be your lifeblood.
Barakos would seem to get that, deep down — a marvel for anyone at his age. His eyesight for the area is to make Colfax drinking accessible for far more than just lounge lizards, although there is definitely a put for them, too. “This Satire is going to be harmless, exciting, cost-effective and cozy in approaches you are not heading to know until finally you’ve sat at the bar top for yourself,” he describes. “And that bar major is continue to really substantially for the regulars. So when you appear in for the initial time, you’re going to feel cozy, you’re likely to shuffle into just one of the other seats, you’re heading to take a look at items a minimal little bit. Then you’re going to maintain coming back right up until you are a normal.”
And on every single successive journey, you’ll find Barakos — perhaps tending bar, it’s possible chopping bar fruit, perhaps stocking coolers or perhaps just sipping beer on a rare working day off, admiring his handiwork even though considering every little thing via.
“This renovation has reworked me, way too,” he suggests. “The other day, I was alone in listed here, and I got the music likely, and I got chills. I seemed up at my grandfather and reported, ‘Yeah, we did it.’ Every thing turned out much better than I prepared.”
Pete’s Satire Lounge is found at 1920 East Colfax Avenue and is open from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday and Thursday and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. It will celebrate its grand reopening on Saturday, April 16, beginning at 5 p.m. For more info, stop by petesrestaurants.com/satire-lounge.