Bar—just bar—opens in Arts District

Wes Myles’ urban lounge finally works out

No velvet rope. No regular hours. No fancy lighting. No problem.

Why push posh when there is a bartender, a tight-knit community and plenty of liquor? The new Bar in the Arts Factory, which is “80 to 90 percent done,” has been pouring and spilling drinks every Friday and Saturday since its “marshmallow-soft” opening New Year’s Eve, says spokesman Ryan Reason. As with the rest of the Arts Factory, he adds, “it’s not quite finished, but it’s very enjoyable and a usable atmosphere.”

Pragmatically named because that’s what everyone would call it anyway, Bar is the first establishment to open in the Arts District under the city’s urban lounge license and is a testament to owner Wes Myles’ tenacity and impatient endurance. Myles also owns the Arts Factory and has been working on this project—on paper, at least—for a couple of years. He gently pestered the city to waive its $50,000 origination fee for one year for those who wanted to take advantage of the urban lounge license. The license allows for a bar in the Arts District with minimal gaming and a lounge atmosphere. In December, representatives for Artifice, a planned urban lounge on South First Street, presented their plans to the city’s redevelopment agency.

Myles has already drawn an evening crowd to the Arts Factory with his Bistro (together with the new space called Bar+Bistro), which stays open in the evenings and offers outdoor seating and bocce ball. Its movie nights and Saturday painters on the patio bring in regulars, as do the poetry readings. Now it offers Lesbi-Reel, a lesbian film night, every Thursday. Reason says not to be deterred by the mid-construction ambience and lack of set hours: “If you go down there after 6 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday night, someone will pour you a drink.”

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