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Photo by Katie Ketchum

3 New Places to Party Are Coming to LoDo

The former Tavern Downtown, Cowboy Lounge, and Cook Street School building will house a Tex-Mex joint, a dog-themed brewery, and an ’80s rock-n-roll bar.

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If you’ve been losing sleep wondering what will go into the shuttered Cowboy Lounge, the Tavern Downtown, and Cook Street School spaces on Market Street in LoDo, toss and turn no more. We now know what will be moving in.

First, there’s El Tejano, which will take over the old Tavern spot. The Los Angeles-based mini chain does casual Tex-Mex fare like Frito pie, hard-shell tacos, and carne asada tater tots, but they seem to be more famous for massive margaritas and a free self-serve chips and salsa bar.

According to a Los Angeles Daily News review, it’s a noisy, fun, drink-centric sort of sports bar. “They must have to hose down the whole restaurant at the end of an evening. Or maybe power wash it,” that story reads.

Next up is Smash Face Brewery & Tap Room in the former Cook Street School location. The name is actually cuter than it sounds—it refers to adorably smushy faced dogs like pugs and shih tzus. The beers, which will be brewed on-site, will be named after those squishy little puppies, so expect to sip a Pug Porter and a Boxer Belgian in the near future. You can feel good about drinking there, too, as Smash Face will donate a portion of proceeds to local animal shelters and charities.

Finally, Loaded will bring an ‘80s rock n’ roll vibe to the former Cowboy Lounge space. It will feature a stage for local bands, cheap cocktails, and a record store feel. Morgan Margolis, CEO of Knitting Factory Entertainment, one of three partners behind these LoDo concepts, describes Loaded as “an ode to Jack and Coke. We’ll have $3 beers and $5 cocktails. It’s really about being a fun hangout.”

Knitting Factory Entertainment, along with the Buckhead Group and Fillmore Capital Partners, have ties to California, but Margolis stressed that the projects will be very Denver-centric, with all the chefs, brewers, and staff coming from the Front Range, not L.A.

As to why they wanted to head east of the Rocky Mountains? Well, why wouldn’t they?

“Denver’s been on our radar forever,” Margolis says. “It’s a great city. It’s one of those towns that’s been on the list, and then this (property) came up, and that was it.”

If everything goes to plan (note: in this frenetic time for Denver development, it usually doesn’t), El Tejano, Smash Face Brewery, and Loaded will be open by the end of summer.

1941-49 Market St.

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