Longtime drinkers, under no circumstances fear: There is a lot to adore about the recently renovated Pete’s Satire Lounge, which will rejoice its grand reopening at 1920 East Colfax Avenue on Saturday, April 16. That’s for the reason that 24-yr-previous Alex Barakos, grandson of Satire namesake the late, famous Denver restaurateur Pete Contos, turned his eye to his family’s virtually sixty-12 months stewardship of the bar as he plotted out layout selections for its upcoming.
Typical patrons will notice that the Satire’s elevated eating area has been leveled, pretty much. It now sits even with and flows normally to the bar location. Not that any one at any time drank up there. Absent are the oft-dismissed diner booths, which were put in when Contos experimented with to pivot the Satire from neighborhood watering hole to sit-down restaurant through a 2009 rework. Barakos changed them with comfortable, if spartan, higher-tops that can fold up into the wall to generate a dance flooring.
That won’t be the very first detail regulars recognize, even though. That honor goes to the ornate black-and-pink paint job that snakes to and by the previous eating location. Aged Denver acolytes will enjoy that its design and style normally takes inspiration from the Satire’s unique wallpaper, which Barakos uncovered right after taking sledgehammer to drywall. The unique things wasn’t in good enough shape to save, but the paint is a thoroughly clean, considerate stand-in — and heritage buffs can request out a preserved sq. of the aged wallpaper that Contos had framed by the bar on the Satire’s thirtieth anniversary in 1992.
Walk just earlier that plaque and below the watchful eye of a framed portrait of Contos and you will close up in a video game space, previously the erstwhile Mexican restaurant’s extensive-deserted cigarette smoking section. No need to have to be concerned about any lingering cigarette stench: Barakos accidentally broke by means of a layer of drywall for the duration of the transform procedure only to discover some large stone bricks. He chiseled them out from decades of smoke stains, spilled drinks and other sordid heritage to result in a area that is as stylish as you’d assume from your typical dive bar take care of-and-flip — but with the gain of many years of Denver heritage powering it.
In it, you’ll locate “something for most people,” as Barakos places it, like a Beatles-themed pinball machine (picked mainly because Barakos preferred enjoying the Beatles Rock Band video match as a child), a dartboard and a shuffleboard desk. Potential additions may well consist of a foosball table, a chessboard and regardless of what other “fun, drunk games” make the Satire Lounge come to feel like, well, a lounge. “The goal is for there to be a little something exciting for any individual when they wander in off the street,” Barakos claimed.
When you do stroll in, it’ll consider a moment for your eyes to alter. The Satire in its 2009-2022 iteration was brighter than a camera flash, a strategic option Contos created to move the bar absent from its difficult-ingesting standing — and perhaps move some of the really hard drinkers out the door. His grandson has moved in a decidedly diverse path, with dark black ceilings and perfectly “warm” bulbs, by his telling. “I had to go to ten diverse Home Depots to obtain bulbs that satisfied the right technical specs,” he said. Excellent design and style is invisible, and on a crowded night time, you’ll 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 signs Barakos commissioned from Seth Totten of Denver’s Acme Neon, who famously restored the El Chapultepec indicator to doing the job buy in 2014, among other substantial-profile initiatives. In the activity home gleams an Instagram-helpful “Meet me at the Tire” indicator. That catchphrase is all Barakos we’ll see if it catches on.
Even if it does, the star of the demonstrate will forever and constantly be the glowing “Plates are hot…have a great time” sign seen from just about just about every bar seat, just upcoming to the revamped kitchen area. It’s a not-so-refined nod to the Satire’s food items runner and veritable jack of all trades Joey Mestas, who in his fifty a long time at the joint has uttered that really phrase thousands of occasions as a little something of a Denver legend in his personal ideal. Barakos loves the indicator. “It’s a very little trace at the record of matters. When you see it, maybe you know the tale, it’s possible you really don’t. But if you really do not, you talk to…or you just run into Joey.”
Mestas’s just take on obtaining his catchphrase all lit up? “Feels pretty excellent, but I have always been up in lights in in this article. I’ve been up fixing them,” he jokes.
There is much significantly less to fix now, specially due to the fact Barakos updated the historical back bar coolers with present day variations, much to the aid of longtime bartender Shannon Hollingsworth. “Do you know how very long I have been waiting for these? The aged types broke regularly. This is, by much, my most loved portion of the rework,” she suggests.
She and Mestas appear content with Barakos’s new way, nevertheless they’ve obtained a several additional things on their respective would like lists. Hollingsworth suggests that she hopes the bar could get back to the way it employed to be, several many years ago. “It was pleasurable. It was crowded. It was hectic. It was great,” she remembers.
As for Mestas? “I wish I was rich,” he states. “I’d individual ten bars just like this one particular.”
When abundant people today get bars, of class, they are likely to substitute patina with regardless of what traits they consider will increase revenue. That is assuredly not what is heading on listed here. There’s a particular earnestness to everything that reminds you that the Satire is even now extremely much an reliable relatives enterprise. In the initial spot, the rework is not quite completed. Barakos is even now ready on some sliding garage door-design windows that will open up to Colfax, for illustration. Just ahead of services started out on a the latest Saturday, he was pounding away to flatten nails on the wood framing that will finally hold them in spot. “This appears like a liability to me,” he claimed, laughing.
Sit at the bar, gaze up and squint your eyes. You could possibly see incredibly faint lines of shimmering paint that represent Barakos’s attempt to convey back again the Satire’s famed glittered ceilings. It didn’t function. “I’ll try out that differently after we have some money coming in,” he notes.
And although the kitchen area has been cleaned up and is “locked and loaded,” per Barakos, he even now demands team to start off putting out Mexican-influenced bar foods. “I had a cook dinner that pretty much moved away,” he suggests. He hopes food services can commence within just the month, even if it will not be completely ready to go for the grand reopening.
The entire matter feels extremely human and a touch imperfect, a rarity for many remodels as Denver has developed and uncovered its uneasy footing as a significant American metropolis. That’s critical: The hospitality business is in the end the people today company. The tougher you try out to emphasis-team a spot into the “perfect” bar, the additional you ward off the regulars who have a tendency to be your lifeblood.
Barakos appears to be to get that, deep down — a marvel for another person at his age. His eyesight for the place is to make Colfax drinking available for far more than just lounge lizards, although there’s certainly a area for them, way too. “This Satire is heading to be secure, exciting, cost-effective and cozy in ways you are not likely to know right until you have sat at the bar top rated for on your own,” he clarifies. “And that bar top rated is even now quite substantially for the regulars. So when you occur in for the very first time, you’re heading to really feel at ease, you’re going to shuffle into one particular of the other seats, you are likely to examine things a minor little bit. Then you’re heading to hold coming back till you are a typical.”
And on just about every successive excursion, you’ll come across Barakos — possibly tending bar, perhaps slicing bar fruit, it’s possible stocking coolers or possibly just sipping beer on a exceptional day off, admiring his handiwork though contemplating all the things by means of.
“This renovation has transformed me, too,” he suggests. “The other working day, I was by itself in in this article, and I received the music going, and I obtained chills. I looked up at my grandfather and mentioned, ‘Yeah, we did it.’ Anything turned out improved than I planned.”
Pete’s Satire Lounge is positioned 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 by means of Sunday. It will rejoice its grand reopening on Saturday, April 16, starting off at 5 p.m. For extra information, visit petesrestaurants.com/satire-lounge.