Lancer Lounge gets evicted and will close tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Update: For photos of Lancer Lounge's final night, visit "Slide show: Lancer Lounge's last night." For more on the developing story, read "Lancer Lounge seized by State of Colorado for back taxes."
Lauren Hendrick A few Lancer Lounge regulars belly up to the bar before the iconic watering hole closes tomorrow for good.
I don't remember the first time I went to the Lancer Lounge -- it was more than a decade ago -- but I do remember the last time I was there. It was a typical Friday night at the venerable watering hole, where the drinks are as stiff as a starched shirt. Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" was blasting on the jukebox, and the cheap whiskey -- a single that's always a double here -- went down easy. And after a few, the liquid courage had done its job, convincing me to belt out the lyrics...and dance, slow, with a perfect stranger, whose name I'll never know. Nothing out of the ordinary. No one cared.
Just about everyone who lives in Denver has a story about the Lancer Lounge, which Ron Nathan leased in 1976, more than four decades ago -- long before the 'hood became a culinary breeding ground for some of the top chefs and restaurateurs in the city, including Frank Bonanno, who now owns Mizuna, Bones and Luca d'Italia, all of which reside in the same stretch of building, which is owned by the Sherman Agency, a local real estate company.
But according to Becky Conda, who took over the Lancer Lounge in 1999, when Nathan passed away and gifted it to her in his will, Howard Snyder, the vice president/treasurer of the Sherman Agency, has evicted her, and as of tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m., the Lancer Lounge will cease to exist.
Snyder, for his part, refuses to comment, offering only this curt statement: "It's in the courts. I'm not going to tell you what happened."
Fair enough. But Conda, with whom I spoke with earlier today, isn't holding her tongue. "I'm not doing good. I'm numb," she admits through tears and the muffled mumbles coming from the bar, where a few regulars were camped out this morning in solidarity.
"I can't honestly tell you why this happened, but I was one month -- one -- behind in my rent, and I had a sewer problem, which I spent a ton of my own money to fix, but they didn't think that I handled it correctly," she says. "And so they've evicted me, and there's nothing I can do about it. I have to comply with the law."