A look at Lost Lake Lounge's complete overhaul, with two new sound systems and a new stage
In the years since it became Lost Lake Lounge, the strip-mall bar sitting on Colfax just west of Colorado Blvd. has maintained a low-key, log-cabin-like atmosphere; beers were sipped at the front room's small crescent-shaped bar, and bands played in the back room on the floor.
The newly extended stage in Lost Lake Lounge's front room.
The space has a long history in Denver music. It opened in the early '40s as the Alamo, Denver's first piano bar. It went through several name and ownership changes. By 2010 it was the Bulldog and wasn't hosting shows. Matt LaBarge bought the spot that year and brought back live music. When fellow venue owner Scott Campbell bought Lost Lake Lounge from LaBarge in late 2013, he didn't waste much time before turning the modest two-room space into a full-on venue. The Lost Lake Lounge of today is in some ways unrecognizable from the one in which you might have spent an evening as recently as December.
"Basically, bands would load in and set themselves up on the floor, and there was a small PA system they could run their vocals through. That was about it," says Tony Mason, Lost Lake Lounge's general manager and talent buyer, of the pre-purchase layout.
The first thing to go in Campbell's renovations was the drop ceiling, which fell to reveal several more feet of vertical space. Crews cleared out the sparsely populated room containing a photo booth, an armoire and a handful of booths, and they built a stage from scratch. A few subwoofers were put in, along with speaker cabinets hung from the ceiling and a monitor system -- quite a step up from the previous sound situation.
They created a second stage out of an existing platform in the bar's front room and installed a totally new sound system there as well. This smaller stage area has already seen quite a few DJ acts in the last few weeks since Lost Lake Lounge began hosting post-Bluebird show after-parties with headliners from across the street behind the decks. Mason says the new sound systems are powerful but not overwhelming; after all, with a capacity of around 150 for both rooms, there isn't too much space to work with.
Expanding that capacity is something Mason and Campbell are working on as part of their long-term plan. Shows like Dead Meadow's two-night stint earlier this month have been selling out. Mason says they are considering the idea of eliminating the wall between the two rooms to open up the space. "Having one big room would make it easier to be a bigger-capacity venue, and that way we wouldn't have the wall blocking the view."