Longtime drinkers, by no means panic: There is a ton to adore about the recently renovated Pete’s Satire Lounge, which will celebrate its grand reopening at 1920 East Colfax Avenue on Saturday, April 16. That is because 24-year-aged 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 structure alternatives for its future.
Standard patrons will see that the Satire’s elevated dining segment has been leveled, pretty much. It now sits even with and flows naturally to the bar area. Not that any person ever drank up there. Long gone are the oft-disregarded diner booths, which had been set up when Contos attempted to pivot the Satire from neighborhood watering hole to sit-down cafe for the duration of a 2009 transform. Barakos changed them with cozy, if spartan, large-tops that can fold up into the wall to build a dance flooring.
That won’t be the to start with factor regulars observe, although. That honor goes to the ornate black-and-pink paint job that snakes to and by way of the previous dining space. Aged Denver acolytes will enjoy that its design and style will take inspiration from the Satire’s initial wallpaper, which Barakos identified after taking sledgehammer to drywall. The first stuff wasn’t in very good sufficient shape to help save, but the paint is a clean, thoughtful stand-in — and record buffs can find out a preserved square of the outdated wallpaper that Contos experienced framed by the bar on the Satire’s thirtieth anniversary in 1992.
Walk just earlier that plaque and less than the watchful eye of a framed portrait of Contos and you will conclude up in a video game space, previously the erstwhile Mexican restaurant’s lengthy-abandoned cigarette smoking segment. No require to worry about any lingering cigarette stench: Barakos accidentally broke via a layer of drywall in the course of the transform procedure only to find some enormous stone bricks. He chiseled them out from a long time of smoke stains, spilled beverages and other sordid background to outcome in a place which is as stylish as you’d anticipate from your normal dive bar deal with-and-flip — but with the reward of decades of Denver historical past behind it.
In it, you are going to come across “something for every person,” as Barakos places it, which include a Beatles-themed pinball equipment (picked mainly because Barakos favored enjoying the Beatles Rock Band video clip sport as a kid), a dartboard and a shuffleboard table. Potential additions could possibly contain a foosball desk, a chessboard and whatsoever other “fun, drunk games” make the Satire Lounge come to feel like, properly, a lounge. “The aim is for there to be a thing entertaining for any individual when they walk in off the street,” Barakos explained.
When you do wander in, it’ll choose a instant for your eyes to alter. The Satire in its 2009-2022 iteration was brighter than a digicam flash, a strategic alternative Contos built to go the bar absent from its difficult-drinking name — and perhaps shift some of the hard drinkers out the doorway. His grandson has moved in a decidedly distinct way, with dim black ceilings and flawlessly “warm” bulbs, by his telling. “I had to go to 10 diverse Household Depots to come across bulbs that met the ideal requirements,” he reported. Great style is invisible, and on a crowded night, you will hardly discover the bulbs or the haphazard constellations of cords that attract you in circles around the bar’s new open up structure.
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 working purchase in 2014, among the other superior-profile initiatives. In the sport room gleams an Instagram-pleasant “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 endlessly and generally be the glowing “Plates are hot…have a good time” sign seen from just about just about every bar seat, just subsequent to the revamped kitchen area. It is a not-so-refined nod to the Satire’s food stuff runner and veritable jack of all trades Joey Mestas, who in his fifty decades at the joint has uttered that pretty phrase thousands of periods as one thing of a Denver legend in his own proper. Barakos enjoys the signal. “It’s a tiny hint at the heritage of points. When you see it, it’s possible you know the tale, possibly you never. But if you never, you question…or you just operate into Joey.”
Mestas’s just take on obtaining his catchphrase all lit up? “Feels really great, but I have often been up in lights in in this article. I’ve been up repairing them,” he jokes.
There is a great deal much less to deal with now, in particular considering that Barakos up to date the ancient again bar coolers with fashionable versions, substantially to the aid of longtime bartender Shannon Hollingsworth. “Do you know how prolonged I’ve been waiting around for these? The old kinds broke constantly. This is, by much, my favored portion of the transform,” she states.
She and Mestas feel articles with Barakos’s new path, while they’ve bought a handful of more products on their respective want lists. Hollingsworth claims that she hopes the bar could get again to the way it applied to be, a lot of decades in the past. “It was enjoyable. It was crowded. It was hectic. It was great,” she remembers.
As for Mestas? “I wish I was loaded,” he says. “I’d possess ten bars just like this just one.”
When rich folks buy bars, of class, they are inclined to substitute patina with what ever tendencies they believe will increase income. That is assuredly not what is going on here. There is a specified earnestness to all the things that reminds you that the Satire is nonetheless quite significantly an reliable spouse and children company. In the first area, the rework is not fairly completed. Barakos is nonetheless ready on some sliding garage doorway-design windows that will open to Colfax, for illustration. Just right before company began on a modern Saturday, he was pounding away to flatten nails on the wood framing that will sooner or later keep them in area. “This appears to be like a legal responsibility to me,” he explained, laughing.
Sit at the bar, gaze up and squint your eyes. You may possibly see pretty faint strains of shimmering paint that characterize Barakos’s attempt to convey again the Satire’s famed glittered ceilings. It didn’t get the job done. “I’ll check out that in a different way once we have some money coming in,” he notes.
And although the kitchen area has been cleaned up and is “locked and loaded,” for every Barakos, he even now desires workers to begin putting out Mexican-encouraged bar foodstuff. “I had a cook that literally moved absent,” he states. He hopes foods company can start out inside of the month, even if it won’t be prepared to go for the grand reopening.
The entire matter feels really human and a contact imperfect, a rarity for quite a few remodels as Denver has grown and discovered its uneasy footing as a key American metropolis. That is vital: The hospitality company is ultimately the persons company. The tougher you consider to emphasis-team a spot into the “perfect” bar, the additional you ward off the regulars who tend to be your lifeblood.
Barakos appears to be to get that, deep down — a marvel for anyone at his age. His vision for the place is to make Colfax ingesting obtainable for much more than just lounge lizards, while there’s surely a position for them, far too. “This Satire is likely to be harmless, entertaining, inexpensive and cozy in approaches you’re not heading to know right until you’ve sat at the bar best for your self,” he clarifies. “And that bar major is however extremely much for the regulars. So when you come in for the to start with time, you’re likely to come to feel comfy, you are going to shuffle into a person of the other seats, you are heading to discover factors a minor little bit. Then you’re going to continue to keep coming back again until eventually you are a frequent.”
And on each successive vacation, you will discover Barakos — perhaps tending bar, it’s possible chopping bar fruit, it’s possible stocking coolers or maybe just sipping beer on a uncommon working day off, admiring his handiwork while contemplating all the things through.
“This renovation has transformed me, far too,” he says. “The other day, I was on your own in here, and I received the music likely, and I bought chills. I looked up at my grandfather and said, ‘Yeah, we did it.’ Everything turned out greater than I prepared.”
Pete’s Satire Lounge is positioned at 1920 East Colfax Avenue and is open up 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, starting up at 5 p.m. For more info, stop by petesrestaurants.com/satire-lounge.