Two new nightspots have popped up in Old Town, proving that the renovated warehouse district abhors a vacancy the way nature does a vacuum.
Revolution Rock Bar, 233 N. Mosley, opened late last year in the space formerly occupied by a steakhouse. It’s owned by Melad Stephan, whose Empire Restaurant group includes Sabor, Luca Italian Kitchen and Oeno Wine Bar.
Empire’s Jason Smith said Revolution Rock Bar is a dance club, but one that plays rock music instead of house, hip hop, salsa or any of the other genres dominating playlists in other clubs.
"The big thing we’re going for is a nice environment that’s playing rock music," Smith said. "We feel like there’s a niche for a place that plays rock music."
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On weekends, Smith said the club may bow to demands to play some dance music, "but for the most part we’re really going to stick to rock."
Smith thinks the approach will work especially with groups looking for a place to celebrate special occasions.
"We want to make it a place for bachelorette parties, birthday parties and people just out to have a good time."
The club has been renovated to include elevated platforms for dancing and big screens showing rock music videos instead of sporting events. Fabric wall coverings, chandeliers and artwork give it an upscale feel. Another feature — stripper poles — will be available for use as well, but only by clothed amateurs.
"Girls want to come out and let loose a little bit," Smith said. "They’re able to get up there and dance and have a good time."
And that, in turn, means that "guys will obviously want to come in," he added.
Smith said he’s seen the approach Revolution Bar is taking work in Kansas City’s Power & Light District.
"That’s where a lot of the inspiration for this came from," Smith said. "I partied up there for two years. It was always a good time."
The inspiration for Old Town’s newest bar — or at least its name — came from a different type kind of source: Jon’s Ale House owner Anthony Lynch said he named the place for the friend, now deceased, who first turned him on to good beer.
"He would randomly bring different types of beer," Lynch said of Jon Pine, who died in 2001. "I think that’s where I had my first Tecate."
Jon’s opened Tuesday at 917 E. Douglas, former location of Kelly’s Irish Pub. It’s Lynch’s first foray into the bar business, but something he’s been thinking about for a long time.
"We used to race down to Kelly’s," he said. When he saw the space was vacant, "It was like a light clicked on. This was the spot."
His general manager, Damon Coleman, who was Pine’s cousin, has worked in the bar business for years.
The bar carries 102 beers, with an emphasis on regional brands such as Tallgrass, Free State and New Belgium. Its kitchen serves lunch and stays open until about 9 p.m., with a menu consisting mainly of sandwiches. "The hot dogs are over the top. They’re a quarter-pound," Lynch said.
Specials include half-price Sundays, Free State Fridays (with all Free State offerings going for $2.75) and Big Can Night Wednesdays, when all beers over 16 oz. are on sale. "That’s going to be my favorite," Lynch said.
Lynch has kept his day job working with computers for High Touch. Opening a bar on top of that has been "stressful, but then again I’m happy. It’s a good feeling knowing this is ours. It’s nice to see something we always dreamed about come together."