Larocks sell Old Town Pub to Tap House owner
October 18, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Old Town Pub opened Jan. 21, 1984, making it one of the oldest drinking establishments still kicking in Steamboat Springs.
When the pub's 30th birthday rolls around in January, Melissa Baker will be at the helm of the ski town bar after purchasing the business from Lizzie and Matt Larock.
The Larocks owned the business for 14 years but have been in the market to sell it for the past few years.
Baker, who also owns The Tap House Sports Grill on Lincoln Avenue, can see Old Town Pub from her loft window, and during the past months, the thought of owning another bar has grown on her. Talks about acquiring the business started at the end of July, she said.
"I've always kind of thrived on being busy and working a lot," Baker said, and after 6 1/2 years of running the Tap House, she felt like she was in a good place to take on another business.
"Melissa is like the ultimate entrepreneur," Lizzie Larock said.
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Baker said her grandparents owned and operated restaurants and her parents owned a restaurant for more than 20 years.
"It's safe to say it was in my blood," she said.
And the pub's regulars and staff approve of the new owner, Larock said.
"Everybody's been over-the-top supportive," Baker said.
The bar will close for four days beginning Nov. 4 for some updates, she said, but the goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Baker was spending time getting to know the business even as the sale was waiting to close, and staff members from Old Town Pub and the Tap House have been getting to know the new parts of the family.
The management team at the Tap House is really strong, Baker said, and she'll start spending most of her time at Old Town Pub going forward.
She's looking to capitalize on the history and tradition of the pub with the biggest immediate change being the return of lunch service after Thanksgiving.
The Larocks said they always were looking to sell the business with the building and had rebuffed offers for just the business in the past. But Baker was the right fit to run Old Town Pub, they said, and allow them to take a break. The Larocks will continue to own the building.
"It's been our identity for 14 years," Larock said.
But it's fun to come into the bar now as friends and not as the boss, she said, adding that they'll miss small things like not having a parking space out back and the perks that come with owning a restaurant.
What she won't miss is hearing her voice on the radio in advertisements, and Matt, who worked late shifts last winter, won't miss how tough the turnaround can be for early-morning family obligations.
"We're just excited to see what she'll do with it," Lizzie Larock said.
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