Leigh Jones opening Inga's Alpine Lounge in late March
Originally built in 1954 as an auto body garage, the former Prickly Pete's will become Inga's Alpine Lounge in the spring.
Some things, restaurant spaces included, are just meant to be. Such was the unanimous opinion of Leigh Jones, Margaret Moore and Jeremy Matzke, the crew behind Jonesy's EatBar, the Horseshoe Lounge and the Bar Car, when they inked a deal last Friday to lease the recently shuttered Pete's Patio Bar, a sports hangout at 5151 Leetsdale Drive. Jones, whose real estate broker lives in the Washington Virginia Vale neighborhood, repeatedly drove by it; Moore found herself passing by just as frequently; the duo hired an employee from Pete's; and the clincher: In early January, Matzke wandered into the bar for a beer, started chatting with owner Scott Happel and just happened to ask him if he was interested in selling the building. Two days later, says Jones, Happel called to deliver the news: Pete's now belonged to her, Moore and Matzke. The new name? Inga's Alpine Lounge.
"For those tired of rolling down Leetsdale past every sports bar and dive on their way home, we're going to blow the neighborhood's mind by introducing Inga, our secret weapon of a minx, who made her money in unknown ways," jokes Moore, adding that Inga, who's purely fictional, is indicative of a sexy, mid-century vamp clad in nothing more than a fur two-piece.
"When we stood way back from the building, we could see the beautiful, mid-century modern shape, and we started thinking about ways that we could bring it back to what it was originally," says Jones, adding that they "envisioned a girl in a fur bikini and a beautiful, cozy, vintage ski cabin with dark wood, warm fixtures and a place to heat the toes." Inga's, she continues, is going to be a "neighborhood bar and gathering place with lots of swinging stuff from the sixties and seventies."
Beginning today, the building, which was built in 1954, originally as an auto body garage, will be stripped and gutted. And while Jones and her team will trick the place out with alpine accents -- think retro, free-standing fireplaces -- the space will largely mimic the Horseshoe Lounge, Jones's convivial bar in Uptown. "It'll be a little more dressed up than the Horseshoe, but the overall vibe will be the same," explains Jones, adding that when Morton's closed in the Tech Center, she and Moore bought the restaurant's white, curved booths, which they'll install in Inga's. Tufted white stools, a reddish orange and light blue color palette, a shotgun bar, surfaced, reveals Jones, with "a groovy Formica top" and a pool table will also be part of the remodeling process.
The menu, she notes, will also mirror the menu at the Horseshoe. "We're doing the exact same menu as the Horseshoe, although instead of tots, we'll likely have the fries from Jonesy's, but other than that, the menu will be the same," says Jones.
And so will the bar program, which will include a keg wine system devoted to Colorado wines from Jack Rabbit Hill and Bookcliff Winery, a small craft cocktail list and twelve beers on tap, most of which will also be craft, save for the proverbial PBR.
There's a huge, 1,500-square-foot patio, as well, and while nothing has been solidified, Jones reveals that she's contemplating hosting "Sunday funday after-brunch parties," which would include live music or a DJ. "We're all for having super-fun patio parties," says Jones, who's also installing a garage door that will open to the patio.
When it opens -- late March is the target date -- hours will be daily from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. "It'll be a place to sip a well-crafted cocktail next to the fire in wool sweaters, furry boots and fleece-lined tights in the winter and a place to kick off the well-used designer hiking boots in the summer on the patio," says Moore. "We're really excited to be in this neighborhood, and we think this is going to be cool as hell."