Ghost Ranch coming to life
Music venue slated to open this winter
September 21, 2008
Amy Garris’ eyes gleam when she describes the features of the incoming Ghost Ranch Saloon.
The musician said the venue, scheduled to open in winter, would have top-notch amenities aimed at drawing top-notch national acts. Those perks include a band hangout room and a green room where bands can watch their audiences before taking the stage.
Bands also will be able to record live CDs and videos on the Ghost Ranch stage, she said.
“I was a musician for years, and I played almost every venue in Colorado,” said Garris, a singer. “The idea is to build a venue that bands won’t be able to resist.”
Garris, of Old West Management, owns the spot with California almond farmer Jean Sagouspe. They are transforming the former Off the Beaten Path Bookstore on Seventh Street into a saloon that can hold nearly 400 people and stretches more than about 7,000 square feet.
“I’ve probably been thinking about this for 15 years,” said Garris, a longtime Steamboat Springs resident. “I just happened to find the right person to give me a blank slate.”
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The saloon is about half-finished, she said. Most of the exterior work is done, and the owners are having an 1893 bar restored for the main floor.
When it opens, possibly in December or January, the Ghost Ranch will look like it’s 100 years old, Garris said. They are modeling the saloon after the 100-year-old Montana Bar in Miles City, Mont.
In April, a construction foreman said the bar could open as early as Halloween. That isn’t likely.
“The project has gotten bigger; that changed,” General Contractor Jon Sherman said. “The scope of the work increased.”
The scene inside
The Ghost Ranch Saloon’s name is a nod to one of Sagouspe’s other properties, the Coal View Ghost Ranch. In its first weeks, the saloon will host acts from a variety of musical genres, Garris said.
That includes “everything from country and western to punk rock,” she said. The stage covers a corner of the main floor, and visitors will be able to watch shows from that area and from three mezzanine levels.
The saloon will sell tickets to some acts and charge a cover for others. Some shows will be free, Garris said.
Patrons also can partake in low- to high-end drinks and appetizers, she said.
“The plan is to do a constantly changing, very interesting wine selection, everything from absolutely affordable up to ridiculously fancy,” Garris said. “And really, the drink menu and everything will go along that theme. We’ll be a very seasonal-oriented menu and drink menu. We plan to keep things fresh and interesting.”
The saloon also plans to offer Steamboat residents and visitors a unique perk: food service that runs until 1:30 or 2 a.m. Those inside can chow down late, and a window in the Ghost Ranch’s back alley will be open to walk-up customers.
Garris said she hoped the Ghost Ranch Saloon would be particularly popular because construction has cut the number of late-night spots at the mountain base area. The Tugboat Grill & Pub hosts music, but its future after this winter is uncertain. It now stands alone amid the demolition of Ski Time Square.
Restaurants across the street in Torian Plum Plaza, including Slopeside Grill, Cafe Diva and Saketumi, will remain open. Those aren’t music-focused restaurants, however.
Jane Blackstone, of The Atira Group, who is working on the Ski Time Square project, said she wasn’t sure whether the redevelopment would include an entertainment venue.
“We have our final development plans for Thunderhead (Lodge) in the works now, and it calls for space that’s probably suitable for retail or restaurant, but not something like that,” she said. “We are not there yet with planning for Ski Time Square.”
Garris said the saloon would present live music seven nights a week during winter and summer. In the off-season, she said, the saloon would show movies in addition to hosting bands.
The Ghost Ranch Saloon has been a long time coming, Garris said.
“People get a little tired of fancy fine dining when they come to a place like this,” she said. “This’ll be the spot. People want a place to kick up their heels.”
– To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234
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