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Crystal Palace

M. John FayheePhotos by Mark Fox

The Crystal Palace is not an imbibery in the traditional sense; it is, rather, a dinner theater so long-lived that it is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

According to general manager Nina Gabianelli, the Crystal Palace, which is open summers and winters, offers original political and social satire guaranteed to equally offend both sides of the political spectrum. So, in other words, it’s not a place where the riffraff can just mosey in for a few dozen after-work beers. You’ve got to buy your way into the Crystal Palace, by way of scoring a ticket to see the show (or stop by after the show when the bar is open to the public).Founded by Mead Metcalf in 1957, the Crystal Palace features a back bar that was built around part of Metcalf’s astounding stained-glass collection.

“Mr. Metcalf has one of the largest stained-glass collections in the world,” Gabianelli says. “He has literally hundreds of pieces here at the Crystal Palace.”The stained glass around which the back bar is built was procured from a church in Loveland in 1973. Like most pieces in Metcalf’s collection, it was saved from the dump.

“He has paid for very few of the pieces,” Gabianelli says. “It is unbelievable, but he has procured most of his stained glass by way of salvage, where buildings were being town down and the owners wanted to get rid of the glass.”The stained-glass collection serves as a perfect entree to Metcalf’s other collectibles, which adorn the Crystal Palace from one end to the other. Cases in point: three chandeliers bought in New Orleans, wainscoting consisting of old hotel doors laid sideways, and a balcony railing made entirely of antique headboards.


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