Aspen bar has license to serve, but not to fly
ASPEN The Fly Lounge Aspen is inching closer to take-off now that a liquor license tentatively has been approved for the yet-to-be open nightclub on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall.Britt Swan, majority owner of Fly Lounge Aspen LLC, went in front of the Aspen Liquor License Authority on Tuesday. The board granted a tavern license for the nightclub based on several conditions, one of which being that the promissory note on the business be transferred to the corporation instead of Swan personally.Swan purchased the business from former Lava Room owners, Brendan and Brandon Jordan, for $250,000 $100,000 in cash and the remaining balance in a non-negotiable promissory note.But as Swan explained to the liquor board, contacting the Jordans to approve switching the name on the note has proven difficult. They cash my checks, but I cant get them on the phone, Swan told the board, adding if the note is the last thing holding up the license, hell make it a priority to track down the Jordans and change the promissory note.Swan took over the lease for the space at 426 E. Hyman Ave. in March, and he pays nearly $10,000 a month to the Jordans. An assignment and assumption of a lease agreement with the landlord, L&M Properties, extends the lease for five years.Swan, who owns 70 percent of the business, has enlisted two partners who each have a 15 percent stake but have put no money in.Instead, Richard Eidman and Charles Koch bring their expertise and the Fly Lounge name to Aspen from Washington, D.C., where they own a similar concept club. Its a place where waitresses are dressed as flight attendants; the club is designed to look like the inside of an airplane fuselage and expensive bottle service is offered at VIP tables. Swan originally was calling the club Jet, which is based off similar places in Las Vegas and Chicago. The Jet in Las Vegas is no longer in business. I thought that the stigma of that was not in my best interest, Swan told the liquor board. I approached these fellows and I thought we could put our synergies together.They had the name I felt I needed in order to be successful, he added. We would like to expand this concept elsewhere, and Aspen, to me, is the true test.Swan has paid for all capital improvements to the space and has paid rent since last March, which is well more than $100,000 with no steady stream of income coming in.The club was supposed to open in November, but Swan ran into construction delays and fired the general contractor. A new contractor was hired and the club was expected to open at the beginning of the year.The Aspen Police Department and the citys environmental health department have signed off on the space. A final inspection from the fire department is expected to be conducted within a week or two and the club should be open sometime in March.At issue, however, is the clubs occupancy. The Lava Rooms posted occupancy was 213, but the Aspen Fire Department is saying its 90 people based on the citys building departments calculation of square footage and how people can exit the building. That number will be hashed out at the final inspection.Swan said his business model was based on certain key factors one of which is occupancy and the other was a transfer of the liquor license. But because the Jordans allowed the license to lapse, Swan found himself in front of the liquor board.When they sold us the business, we thought there was a liquor license, he said. Also a condition for approval, the liquor board wants to have on file signatures on all lease and business documents and a personal history of the assistant manager. In additon, the bars employees must go through alcohol training.Hours of operation will be 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week during the ski season. After the season, the club will open at 9 p.m. and stay open until 2 a.m. nightly.It likely will be a place where patrons might expect to wait an hour behind a velvet rope and then be turned away at the door because youre wearing the wrong pants.Jeans permitted, reads the dress code for the D.C. restaurant, unless ripped, torn or faded.Reserve a six-person private table at the D.C. Fly Lounge and expect to pay a minimum of $600 in bottle service, which could be obtained by purchasing a bottle of Dom Perignon ($895), or a pair of Grey Goose bottles ($295 each).Its very exclusive, very high end, Eidman told the Times in December. firstname.lastname@example.org
This correction was published Feb. 21: The Feb. 20 article about the Fly Lounge Aspen contained misinformation. Britt Swan pays $9,992 a month to L&M Properties in rent and $4,563 to Brandon and Brendon Jordan, former owners of the Lava Room, as a monthly payment on a promissory note for the purchase of the business. Also, the Jordans claim they had not been contacted by Swan regarding changing the name on the promissory note from Swan to Fly Lounge LLC., as suggested by Swan to the Aspen Liquor License Authority.
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