Photos: Squire Lounge opens after renovations
Drunken throngs gathered on East Colfax last night to celebrate the return of the Squire Lounge. While the Squire had a reputation for being one of Denver's diciest dive bars, it was nevertheless beloved, even if many of its regular patrons would schlep over to 7-Eleven instead of using the Squire's bathrooms. It wasn't the nicest place and sometimes homeless people sitting outside would shout at the patrons, but the Squire had cheap drinks and a great staff. It was the ideal environment for what was once called "the meanest comedy open mic in America."
Squire owners Steven Alix and Sudhir Kudva.
But times change, and so has the Squire. Owner Sudhir Kudva partnered with X-Bar's Steven Alix to remodel the space. "This is basically the same Squire, except it's cleaner," Kudva says. "That balance will be a big deal to us going forward." And if last night's crowd was any indication, the Squire 2.0 will fit right in with the changing character of Colfax. Keep reading for more from Kudya, as well as photos of the new and old Squire.
The old Squire mirror and logo.
Westword: How long did the restorations take?
The new Squire's more open look. Photos by Traci McLean
Sudhir Kudva: The renovations took a month and a half. They went pretty well; we're about 95 percent done.
Did you discover anything cool about this old place while you were tearing it up?
We uncovered a mural of dancing girls that dates all the way back to1932. So right now, we're trying to figure out how to match 100-year-old paint -- which is difficult, to say the least.
So the history of the place is important?
Totally. Everything that we put the new drywall over was cinderblock. Everything else, except the floors, is original. We exposed the original tiles on the ceiling and the original brick walls. We're trying to make it more like a restoration than a renovation. We want to keep as much of the original building as possible.
What did you focus on changing, then?
We also cleared it out so there's more space. We took out a lot of the dividing walls and the false ceiling. We also got rid of the pool table. While it looks much bigger now, the only new space we gained is where the old bathrooms were. We took out those old bathrooms and now that's going to be the stage area for Tuesday night.
More before and after photos:
Before, the bar was smaller and had lower ceilings.
The new bar has a higher ceiling and a more open floor plan. The old bathrooms were to be avoided if possible. The new bathrooms are cleaner and handicap-accessible -- a vast improvement. The old Squire stage felt boxed-in and disconnected from the rest of the bar. While standing where the old bathrooms were is metaphorically apt for open mic comics, at least Squire-lings won't have to turn their back on Colfax when they perform. You don't want to turn your back on Colfax. The Squire's reality-bending Denver mural was a cheesy eyesore that depicted various Colfax landmarks in the wrong locations, as well as a 15 bus to nowhere. During renovations, workers discovered these murals from the 1930s. Ms. Pac Man will be missed. Apparently, people went to the Squire for a 79¢ breakfast special back in the day.
Keep reading for more photos of the new Squire's opening night: