The Regal nightclub changing names, going country |

The Regal nightclub changing names, going country

Andre Salvail The Aspen Times

The title and message of a 1994 radio hit recorded by Alan Jackson says it all.

The Regal nightclub, formerly known as the Regal Watering Hole, has “gone country” — back to its roots, given that several years ago the bar had a country theme and was called Shooters.

Scott and Carly Weber owned and operated the nightspot over the past few years, providing a haven for lovers of energetic, DJ-mixed dance music. The new owners of the underground bar, located near the corner of South Galena Street and East Hyman Avenue, are Andrew Sandler and Dean Slover, who also are partners in the East Hopkins Avenue bar Bootsy Bellows.

They plan to unveil the new country-themed nightspot on Oct. 17. It will be called Whiskey Rush. Scott Weber will be involved as a minority partner.

“We bought the business from Scott,” Slover said. “He wanted to be involved in some way because he liked what we were doing.”

Slover said the space gradually will undergo a light remodel before the winter ski season. The cavernous dance-club look will be softened up a bit, he said.

Changes planned for the interior of Whiskey Rush will have to wait, he said, until after the current remodel job at Bootsy Bellows is finished. Bootsy Bellows closed for the offseason in early September and will reopen in mid-November as a nightclub without dinner fare.

“We’re turning it into a country bar,” Slover said of the transformation of The Regal into Whiskey Rush. “We already have Bootsy Bellows, and we don’t want to compete with ourselves. I think there’s a real need for a country bar in Aspen. I guess ‘Gone Country’ would be a good song for us to play. We will have DJs spinning country tunes.”

The name Whiskey Rush is a nod to the preferred alcoholic beverage of country-music fans and Aspen’s silver-rush mining history, Slover said.

Daniel Fukuba, who has worked for Sandler and Slover at Bootsy Bellows, will manage Whiskey Rush.

Other changes for the spot will happen over time, Slover said. There are no plans for a food operation.

“I’m excited,” Slover said. “I love the location and everything about it. Everybody walks by there during the day. It’s also in an old, historic (Elks Club) building.”

He said the living-room-style area in the rear of the bar will remain, perhaps featuring a faux fireplace.

“We probably won’t have an actual fire in there, but we’ll have something that looks like a fireplace, with candles or something,” Slover said.

Bootsy Bellows was opened in December by a group of investors that included Hollywood actor David Arquette. Formerly marketed as “exclusive,” the club adopted a more open policy when Sandler took over the reins in the spring.

Slover said there were issues with the way Bootsy Bellows was arranged within the basement space. The bar formerly took up the middle of the space, and now it’s been moved against a wall.

“The bar’s location prevented us from making as much money as we could,” Slover said.

The fireplace was removed because it held up people from flowing into the club.

“It created a traffic nightmare,” Slover said.

He added that ceiling heights were raised. He’s ordered new furniture and chandeliers.

“I’m positive that (Bootsy Bellows) is going to be one of the nicest bars anywhere in the country,” said Slover, who added that he operates 14 other bars and restaurants, primarily in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Las Vegas.

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