Dolores bar scene hopping

Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 9:27 PM
Courtesy Photo

The Green Frog Bar was located next to the Rexall Drug in this early Dolores photo.

Three classic drinking establishments are returning to Dolores, a flash-back to historic times.

The Hollywood Bar and Café is expected to re-open next month on Highway 145 at the old Karla's Kitchen location on the east end of town. The original bar burned down last year.

Former Hollywood owner and celebrated cook Travis Giddings is carrying on the 100-year tradition of the famed honky tonk watering hole. The reborn saloon will offer a full menu and dining area, stocked bar, pool tables, and live music.

"I've found a niche in Dolores. Cooking and the Hollywood bar are my life and my future. We're going to pick up right where we left off," Giddings said.

Remodeling is ongoing, he said, with a opening targeted for early September. The café will have a separate entrance, and parts of the old Hollywood Bar will be re-installed.

"We saved an eight-foot section of the original bar, and the antique foot rail. There is also memorabilia that people will recognize ... and you know, it's just a little charred."

Favorite bartenders are also returning, he said, and family members will also help run the place.

"We're probably creating eight to 10 jobs," Giddings said. "We've had great support from the community. It is going to be a really great place with a really nice layout."

At the corner of Central and Fifth Street, another bar is being proposed near the location of the old Hollywood, said Allison Stuter, project manager for the Cresto Group.

"It is in the initial stages right now, but the idea is to put in a bar and grill," Stuter said. "We want to help with the revitalization of Dolores."

A possible name is the Green Frog, she said, a tip of the hat to a Dolores saloon popular in the 1940s.

Town manager Ryan Mahoney said initial foundation work has begun, and a building permit is anticipated. The building site is where the old hardware store used to be before it burned down in the 1980s.

"Longtime residents remember the Green Frog. It was a favorite gathering spot," Mahoney said. "We're excited about the downtown development."

Dolores historian Shawna Valdez's grandparents managed different bars in Dolores during the railroad heyday. Back then, residents could get strong drink and have a meal at the Green Frog (later the Hollywood), Idle Hour, Shadow Mountain, and the Italian Cowboy.

"They were all bars with cafes. This is not the first time there have been lots of places to eat and drink in this town," Valdez said.

The Naked Moose restaurant re-opened this spring, and owners are planning to open the separate bar lounge for libations, pending approval of a liquor license.

The growth in liquor sales is sure to spark a festive atmosphere and boost revenues. Three liquor stores and six bars, (three in the works) makes bar-hopping a new Dolores trend.

"It's getting busy around this town," said Dolores mayor Val Truelsen.