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Duke’s to replace Double D

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Duke’s, a new nightclub that will feature occasional live music, aims to open in the former Double Diamond space by Christmastime.

Owner Larry Marks has leased the basement space on Galena Street where the old Double D had been a mainstay in Aspen’s live music scene for more than a decade.

Its closing last month has been decried as a serious blow to the resort’s sagging nightlife, but Marks said he envisions a new club that responds to what the public wants to hear.

“We’re going to stay with the DJ, but our options are open for live bands a couple of times a month,” he said. “If there’s the demand, we’ll try to do more live music.”

Meanwhile, the club’s dark interior is getting a face-lift. Duke’s will have a “more upscale” feel, with custom-made barstools, Persian rugs and other European-style accents, according to Marks. He’s contemplating a VIP section around the smaller bar to the right of the main door.

A thick haze of cigarette smoke was often the most noticeable aspect of the Double Diamond’s interior; Marks said he hasn’t decided whether or not smoking will be permitted at Duke’s. (Smokers, take heart, Marks is a Marlboro man.)

The club will be giving various genres of music a chance to gain a following with patrons.

“We’ll have martini nights, maybe on Sundays, with Brat Pack music for the older folks. Then, when they’re ready to go to bed, we’ll crank it up,” Marks said. “It’s not going to be just one concept – we’re open to ideas.

“We’re going to test it out and see what the general public likes. It’s all going to be dance music.”

Marks, a longtime Aspen homeowner who has made Aspen his full-time address for several years, has a background in real estate investments. He was initially looking to open a nightclub with his son, Tony.

The twosome handled operation of Jeremy Guterman’s Mecca for a couple of months last spring before the club closed at the end of the ski season. Talks about taking over that space fell through, but then the Double Diamond space became available when Double D owner Greg Jurgensen’s lease expired.

Tony has since moved to San Diego, and his father will oversee the operation of Duke’s, which he named in honor of his late brother.

“He liked to party, just like the rest of the family,” Marks said.

Marks said he has reached a lease agreement with landlords Bob Bowden and James Hunting for the space and would like to buy it. He has applied for a liquor license from the city.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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