Stay classy, Rockbar: Mad Dog 20/20 toast to close the book on East Colfax hauntBy John Wenzel | October 24th, 2012 | 1 Comment »
East Colfax hipster haunt Rockbar will shutter permanently on Saturday, following what owner Jesse Morreale calls “damage already done to the business” by the City of Denver.
The decision, announced late Monday in a Rockbar press release, follows the denial of Rockbar’s liquor license renewal earlier this month and Morreale’s on-and-off troubles with the city, which include disputes over proper work permits at his South Broadway eateries El Diablo and Sketch.
In his statement, which was laden with bold-lettered words and referred to Rockbar as “a Beloved Iconic Denver Institution Known Nationwide,” Morreale pointed to Tom Downey, the Director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. Morreale charged that Rockbar’s liquor and dance cabaret license was denied “under questionable circumstances, timing and reasoning.”
However, city officials have pointed to the “sheer volume of police calls and crime reports” associated with the bar and said Morreale “knowingly” permitted “acts of disorderly conduct” by allowing “rowdiness, undue noise, or other disturbances or activity offensive to the senses of the average citizen, or to the residents of the neighborhood in which the licensed establishment is located.”
The music-themed bar was one of the first of a wave of new businesses on East Colfax when it opened its doors six-plus years ago, leading to a commercial revitalization that has stretched east to Colorado Boulevard.
“I have dedicated the last 15 years to rehabilitating blighted buildings in struggling neighborhoods throughout Denver, hiring hundreds of employees and contributing millions to the tax base, and how does the City thank me?” Morreale asked in the press release. “By closing my business based on absurd and unjustified accusations, which we proved to be false. Denver is open for business? Quite the contrary.”
A second press release that made rounds Tuesday morning advertised Oct. 26 – Oct. 27 as “Last Call: The Party Is Over,” promising drink specials all weekend as part of a “Final Liquidation.” Among the specials: A complimentary Mad Dog 20/20 toast at midnight on Saturday.