Longtime drinkers, by no means anxiety: There’s a ton to like about the recently renovated Pete’s Satire Lounge, which will celebrate its grand reopening at 1920 East Colfax Avenue on Saturday, April 16. That’s mainly because 24-yr-aged Alex Barakos, grandson of Satire namesake the late, legendary Denver restaurateur Pete Contos, turned his eye to his family’s approximately sixty-12 months stewardship of the bar as he plotted out style choices for its future.
Frequent patrons will observe that the Satire’s elevated dining segment has been leveled, actually. It now sits even with and flows normally to the bar location. Not that anyone at any time drank up there. Long gone are the oft-overlooked diner booths, which have been set up when Contos tried to pivot the Satire from neighborhood watering hole to sit-down restaurant for the duration of a 2009 transform. Barakos changed them with snug, if spartan, large-tops that can fold up into the wall to build a dance flooring.
That won’t be the 1st detail regulars discover, while. That honor goes to the ornate black-and-purple paint task that snakes to and by way of the previous eating location. Aged Denver acolytes will adore that its style can take inspiration from the Satire’s original wallpaper, which Barakos discovered just after getting sledgehammer to drywall. The initial things was not in superior more than enough condition to conserve, but the paint is a clean, considerate stand-in — and background buffs can find out a preserved sq. of the old wallpaper that Contos experienced framed by the bar on the Satire’s thirtieth anniversary in 1992.
Walk just past that plaque and beneath the watchful eye of a framed portrait of Contos and you will end up in a video game place, formerly the erstwhile Mexican restaurant’s lengthy-abandoned smoking cigarettes portion. No have to have to get worried about any lingering cigarette stench: Barakos unintentionally broke through a layer of drywall for the duration of the transform course of action only to obtain some substantial stone bricks. He chiseled them out from decades of smoke stains, spilled drinks and other sordid history to final result in a room which is as trendy as you’d be expecting from your common dive bar repair-and-flip — but with the benefit of a long time of Denver record guiding it.
In it, you will locate “something for everyone,” as Barakos places it, which include a Beatles-themed pinball equipment (chosen because Barakos liked enjoying the Beatles Rock Band video activity as a child), a dartboard and a shuffleboard desk. Long run additions could possibly contain a foosball table, a chessboard and no matter what other “fun, drunk games” make the Satire Lounge really feel like, nicely, a lounge. “The purpose is for there to be anything fun for any one when they wander in off the avenue,” Barakos claimed.
When you do stroll in, it’ll consider a moment for your eyes to regulate. The Satire in its 2009-2022 iteration was brighter than a digital camera flash, a strategic alternative Contos produced to go the bar absent from its hard-ingesting standing — and it’s possible transfer some of the hard drinkers out the doorway. His grandson has moved in a decidedly various way, with dark black ceilings and completely “warm” bulbs, by his telling. “I experienced to go to ten distinctive Dwelling Depots to find bulbs that fulfilled the ideal technical specs,” he mentioned. Excellent style is invisible, and on a crowded night, you are going to barely see the bulbs or the haphazard constellations of cords that attract you in circles all over the bar’s new open format.
Unmissable, even so, are the two neon indications Barakos commissioned from Seth Totten of Denver’s Acme Neon, who famously restored the El Chapultepec indicator to operating get in 2014, among the other superior-profile initiatives. In the match room gleams an Instagram-friendly “Meet me at the Tire” signal. That catchphrase is all Barakos we’ll see if it catches on.
Even if it does, the star of the display will permanently and generally be the glowing “Plates are hot…have a pleasant time” indicator seen from just about each bar seat, just subsequent to the revamped kitchen area. It’s a not-so-subtle nod to the Satire’s meals runner and veritable jack of all trades Joey Mestas, who in his fifty decades at the joint has uttered that quite phrase countless numbers of periods as something of a Denver legend in his possess proper. Barakos loves the indicator. “It’s a tiny trace at the heritage of factors. When you see it, perhaps you know the story, it’s possible you do not. But if you do not, you inquire…or you just operate into Joey.”
Mestas’s consider on getting his catchphrase all lit up? “Feels rather excellent, but I have usually been up in lights in listed here. I’ve been up repairing them,” he jokes.
There is much fewer to repair now, primarily due to the fact Barakos up to date the ancient back again bar coolers with modern day versions, substantially to the aid of longtime bartender Shannon Hollingsworth. “Do you know how extensive I have been ready for these? The aged ones broke constantly. This is, by considerably, my favored element of the remodel,” she says.
She and Mestas appear to be content with Barakos’s new course, though they’ve bought a few much more items on their respective want lists. Hollingsworth says that she hopes the bar could get back to the way it made use of to be, quite a few many years back. “It was pleasurable. It was crowded. It was busy. It was amazing,” she remembers.
As for Mestas? “I would like I was prosperous,” he suggests. “I’d personal 10 bars just like this a person.”
When abundant persons buy bars, of training course, they are likely to substitute patina with what ever tendencies they assume will improve gains. That is assuredly not what is going on here. There is a sure earnestness to all the things that reminds you that the Satire is however incredibly a great deal an reliable family business enterprise. In the to start with area, the rework isn’t pretty finished. Barakos is even now ready on some sliding garage doorway-design and style windows that will open up to Colfax, for case in point. Just just before company commenced on a the latest Saturday, he was pounding absent to flatten nails on the wooden framing that will finally keep them in put. “This appears to be like a liability to me,” he reported, laughing.
Sit at the bar, gaze up and squint your eyes. You may see quite faint traces of shimmering paint that depict Barakos’s endeavor to provide back the Satire’s famed glittered ceilings. It did not get the job done. “I’ll try out that in a different way as soon as we have some income coming in,” he notes.
And though the kitchen has been cleaned up and is “locked and loaded,” per Barakos, he however demands staff members to start out putting out Mexican-influenced bar food items. “I had a cook dinner that actually moved away,” he suggests. He hopes food stuff services can begin inside of the month, even if it will not be ready to go for the grand reopening.
The whole point feels extremely human and a contact imperfect, a rarity for many remodels as Denver has developed and discovered its uneasy footing as a significant American metropolis. That’s crucial: The hospitality organization is eventually the men and women company. The tougher you test to emphasis-team a area into the “perfect” bar, the far more you ward off the regulars who are inclined to be your lifeblood.
Barakos appears to be to get that, deep down — a marvel for someone at his age. His vision for the room is to make Colfax ingesting obtainable for much more than just lounge lizards, though there is surely a spot for them, way too. “This Satire is going to be secure, fun, reasonably priced and cozy in methods you’re not heading to know right until you have sat at the bar top for on your own,” he describes. “And that bar top rated is continue to really considerably for the regulars. So when you arrive in for the 1st time, you are going to come to feel at ease, you’re going to shuffle into just one of the other seats, you are heading to discover issues a minor little bit. Then you’re likely to continue to keep coming again till you are a normal.”
And on each individual successive excursion, you will locate Barakos — maybe tending bar, possibly cutting bar fruit, probably stocking coolers or perhaps just sipping beer on a rare day off, admiring his handiwork while pondering every thing as a result of.
“This renovation has reworked me, too,” he suggests. “The other working day, I was by yourself in here, and I received the new music likely, and I got chills. I appeared up at my grandfather and mentioned, ‘Yeah, we did it.’ Almost everything turned out greater than I planned.”
Pete’s Satire Lounge is situated 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 Sunday. It will rejoice its grand reopening on Saturday, April 16, starting off at 5 p.m. For far more details, pay a visit to petesrestaurants.com/satire-lounge.