Thanks go to everybody who has sent us suggestions through our Suggestion Box. They really do help.
One of the things many people are concerned about is the atmosphere of The Phoenix and whether or not it will be similar to The Den. The short answer is, "Yep. It will be."
The long answer is:
We absolutely plan to maintain the same casual, friendly, relaxed, neighborhood bar feel that The Den had. That formula worked well for The Den and I see no reason to change it. We won't be turning it into the tiniest dance club with the biggest attitude and lowest ceiling in all of California. Sure, there will be some changes (a new vaulted ceiling, a new roof, a changed patio, better (I hope) lighting, etc.) but those changes are mostly cosmetic.
We have asked three bartenders from The Den to come on board for The Phoenix and they have agreed. (We'll probably eventually hire one or two more folks, too.) Not to mention Karl who also was either behind the bar or getting rid of "undesireables". So those folks who have expressed concern that the entire staff will change can rest easy. In fact, the only guy currently invovled in The Phoenix that wasn't a bartender at The Den is me. (I was The Den's webmaster for those who may not know.)
But, as time wears on and the delays from the City take their sweet time, these three guys may be forced to take other employment; it's just the nature of the situation. I can't expect all three of them to just wait for us to get open as they sit at home twiddling their thumbs. So I really want to make sure these guys (and everybody) are treated well and fairly. I can do that best by opening quickly. This seriously weighs on my mind. Each delay means these guys sit on the sidelines longer and I don't like that.
On the plus side, it looks like we might (MIGHT!) begin demolition and construction by the end of January here.