No, the old and venerated Squire Lounge did NOT close their doors. Yes, they are still open for business. However, one of our favorite dive bars did most surely die in large part.
The original Squire was dirty. Everything was sticky. It had tile flooring that was broken and sometimes straight-up missing. The huge booths had cracked vinyl and wobbly tables. The regular clientele was rough, to put it nicely. Pretty much the only things in the bar that weren’t grimy, chipped, or otherwise in need of repair were the friendly atmosphere and the cheap pool tables. In short, it was a real dive bar. One of the dwindling few left on Colfax. And we loved it. The booze was stiff and cheap, the patrons were interesting, and the bar itself had a distinct personality. Sort of like your great aunt who gets really drunk and talks about her (continuing) wild days.
But the owners decided to the sanitize the old girl. For most of the month of September, The Squire was closed for renovations. And did they ever renovate. The physical bar is about three times the original size and is much less sticky. They put in more craft-oriented taps (one of the few changes I am fully behind) and there is actually a cocktail program of sorts. Yes, really. The floors are no longer slightly difficult to traverse while inebriated as they are now some sort of wood/laminate with a uniform height. The awesome booths are also gone and replaced with much more normal (and less wobbly) tables. The bathrooms are now far, far less legitimately terrifying, so that’s an honest plus. I am also very glad that they decided to keep the original fans run by a single, continuous belt.
The owners have sterilized this bar, revamped it and made it safe and palatable for twenty-something hipsters. On my recent voyage there, I was awash – lost! – in the ocean of tight-tight jeans and ironically dyed hair. And as much as I miss the old Squire, I honestly cannot fault the owners too much. It’s a pretty safe bet that The Squire is doing far better financially in its new flannel-approved incarnation than it ever did in its previous life. On a random school night, the place was still decently hopping at 2 AM.
So it seems that our beloved, dirty, black-out inducing Squire Lounge joins the ranks of other dives around Denver that have gone from actual-dive-bars to cool, slick shadow versions of their former selves that have been carefully designed to draw in the hip kids, those who like having the option of a decent Colorado craft beer draft and/or a well-made martini so they can choose PBR instead.
In reality, most people will probably greatly approve of the recent changes at The Squire. Most people won’t mourn the death of this dive bar. But for those of us who will… at least the booze is still reasonably cheap?