Shooters opens with new owner |

Shooters opens with new owner

Janet Urquhart

Shooter’s Saloon will reopen tonight under a new owner, former Maxfield’s operator Bill Venezia.

Venezia purchased Aspen’s country-western watering hole and dance hall from brothers Matt and Steve Magassy a week ago. The saloon has been closed pending the issuance of a temporary tavern license by the city clerk’s office. That license will be issued today, city officials confirmed Wednesday.

That means the saloon will be open tonight, said Venezia, who worked for a time at Shooter’s before the Magassys bought the business from former owner Dale Dillingham in the spring of 1998. Venezia had managed Maxfield’s, a popular locals bar in the basement of the now-closed Grand Aspen Hotel, for the past seven years and owned the establishment for a year.

He said he knew the Magassys were considering selling Shooter’s and approached them with an offer to take it over.

“I like country music, even though I’m from Brooklyn,” Venezia said with a grin yesterday. “It’s the only country music place in town and it has a good, steady following of country music fans who come down there.”

Venezia said he plans no real changes to the saloon, located in the basement of the Elks Building on Galena Street, though he may experiment with a mixture of different types of music, like ’80s and ’90s dance tunes, one night a week.

“I’m not interested in becoming a disco at all or in changing the interior,” he said.

The Magassys had experimented with some disco nights at the bar after a fire temporarily shut down the Tippler, Aspen’s disco headquarters. The Tippler reopened Oct. 31.

Shooter’s features a bar, dance floor and stage for live music, and a room of pool tables.

Venezia’s temporary liquor license will be in effect until he appears before the Aspen Liquor Licensing Authority next month for a tavern license.

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