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8/22/2004

Pumping up sports

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — With the concept clearly gaining a foothold in Longmont, the city will soon be getting another sports bar.

The owners of the Pumphouse Brewery and Restaurant are revamping the 7,500-square-foot space on the building’s north side into The Red Zone — a home for pool shooters, beer and pizza lovers and Broncos fans.

Patrons of The Red Zone will be able to enjoy all of the items currently on the Pumphouse menu, with the addition of pizza, which will fit in nicely with the sports bar concept.

Of course, the Pumphouse’s award-winning beer will flow from the taps.

“To the public, it’ll look like a different restaurant,” said Tom Charles, one-fifth of the Pumphouse’s ownership team. “We’re going to try to differentiate it in terms of atmosphere and the feel, but it’ll be a part of the same establishment.”

The space that used to be home to the Longmont Athletic Club seems well suited for a sports bar. Large and airy, two mezzanines on either side of the space will feature pool tables and game machines. Already, new glass has been installed on the north side facing Sixth Avenue, which will let in lots of sunlight during the day and the traffic lights from Main Street at night.

There will be about 25 televisions spread around the place, a quarter of them of the 50-inch variety.

Near the back of the space, where locker rooms used to be, the owners are knocking out walls to connect the Pumphouse’s kitchen with the kitchen area that will be a part of The Red Zone.

The wall next to the patio area will be home to a bar that will serve people inside the Zone and outside on the patio. A garage-type door will close the opening when the weather demands it.

“The door is going to be like you see at a fire station — just a roll-down-type door,” Charles said.

He said the firehouse/sports theme will continue throughout the new space — a plan the owners devised when they first bought the building in 1995.

The building itself dates back to the early 1900s, when it was opened as a garage and repair shop. Over the years, it has been home to several auto-related businesses, including a tire shop and an auto sales center. It has also spent time as a roller rink, real estate office and Western-wear store.

Charles said the complete remodel will end up costing about $1 million.

“I pushed to get this done,” Charles said. “Everyone’s had input as to the layout, but I really pushed this through.”

The time was right, he said, because interest rates were low and contractors were “aggressive” in their bidding. Kee Construction Co. is the general contractor on the project.

Charles, who expects The Red Zone to open in September, said he believes there’s room for another sports bar in Longmont.

Mary Murphy-Bessler, executive director of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, said she looks forward to The Red Zone giving a shot in the arm to downtown after dark.

In a marketing analysis the LDDA commissioned several years ago, more nightlife was one of the main recommendations for making downtown more of an attraction — especially for the after-work crowd.

“This creates another venue for you to stay longer, whether it’s playing pool or watching a game on TV,” Murphy-Bessler said. “This just gives you another option to stay later.”

Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.