January 11 2006, 8:28 AM
I just learned last night that Lounge, the fab bar in an 1892 Victorian mansion at Colfax and Marion -- and a longtime favorite watering hole of mine -- is closing. Lounge's last day of business will be Saturday, January 28. Apparently I'm the last one to hear about this; when I stopped in last night to meet a friend there, owner Mara Leone made it clear that I had been remiss in my wanderings, since the news has been available for the past two months now. (In my defense, I used to live just one block away from Lounge, and after I moved to Wash Park it was beyond my walking-distance neighborhood bar radius.) I'm kind of ticked off about it. From what I hear, the 10-year lease on the space is up at the end of this month, and the building's owner wasn't interested in renewing it. I heard rumors from the customers that a salsa bar may be in the offing, and I hope they are not serious. I mean, a salsa bar in that cozy Victorian house? Please. I just can't see it. I hope, as does Mara, that the new residents don't ruin the interior -- much of the charm of Lounge came from the fact that the stately old home retained its original stained glass, oak panels, massive fireplace, beautiful rooms, and curved-glass bay window onto the tiny patio in the rear. And Mara's ingenious combination of chichi lounge chairs, couches, and chandeliers with a casual bar, a jukebox, and a pool table was a perfect fit for the Capitol Hill crowd that favored it. Now what am I going to do the next time I crave Mara's totally delectable gourmet mini cheeseburgers with gorganzola and carmelized onions? Starve and suffer? And what about when my friends ask for a suggestion about a cool, classy, hipster, funky, cozy, not-too-expensive-or-snooty bar on Colfax? Give them a blank look and run away? Huh. It's bad news, indeed. Mara is of course sad to have to say goodbye to her excellent staff and her loyal customers, who have supported the spot since she took it over from her mom, Jan Leone, in 2002. (Many of you may remember Janleone, her French restaurant that occupied the space from 1996 - 2002.) So pop by in the next few weeks to say goodbye to the Lounge.