Going to a new level


— Two men hoisted a gigantic golden frame, the word "Budweiser" elegantly spelled inside, on the wall of what will be Lupo's Extreme Sports Bar and Grill.

"No, no, no," said Chad Gagliano, co-owner of Level'z and Lupo's.

"That's where the video games are going to go."

There was still dust in the air, settling on the black plastic covering the floor and the wooden bar stools huddled in the center. Samson, a small beagle, trotted around the patio, watching as Gagliano and his staff made final preparations for today's 4 p.m. grand opening.

By then, the place will be filled with games, pool tables, televisions and various extreme sports-related material.

"We want to cater to the local extreme scene and pump it up," Gagliano said.

"We're not the traditional sports bar, and that's the different take we're trying to promote."

Instead of basketball and baseball memorabilia, Gagliano and co-owner Sean Vierling, both in their mid-20s, will focus on sports such as kayaking, snowboarding, mountain biking and rock climbing.

Gagliano also hopes to have residents contribute local sports videos and photos for Lupo's.

On Saturday, Lupo's patrons can hop up two short flights of stairs for the re-opening of the Level'z nightclub at 10 p.m. Local favorite D.J. Catalyst will open for D.J. Juliette from Soma in Boulder.

The top floor has a spacious setup with a darker mood.

Two large couches face the floor by the window, with more intimate tables by the bar area. A ski lift chair hangs from the ceiling, providing some local flavor, and there is a disco ball across the way for Sunday's disco night.

A doorway on the side leads to a mid-level room between Lupo's and Level'z. The room has a red tone tempered by a large Humphrey Bogart poster overlooking more pool tables and a dining area. Out the main door, another half-level down is an outdoor dining section, with a more sun-friendly dining section.

Security-wise, Gagliano expects the biggest challenge to be keeping out underage drinkers and catching fake IDs. Head of security Jim Turczynski, who managed security for Level'z with a staff of nine, will have a staff of 12 to 15 people watching the facilities.

"It's easier in a small town," Turczynski said. "You get to know your clients' drinking habits, if they've had too much."

Gagliano is still looking at designating several nights for the underage crowd, as well as opening Lupo's for lunch.

Gagliano and Vierling acquired the property in early December and opened Level'z Jan. 19.

The duo closed the nightclub for mud season.

The property is a collective 10,000 square feet, with the spacious top level taking up close to 3,000 square feet.

The 2,000-square-foot Lupo's area is named for the late Pete Francek, a close friend of Gagliano's from their days together at Colorado Mountain College. Gagliano noted the resemblance between Francek and a friend from New York named Lupo and he started using the same nickname for Francek. The nickname stuck.

"Back when this was still Gunga's, (Francek) was always here, he was the best patron," Gagliano said.

"Everyone in town knew him. He was this big, burly dude."

Francek's death he died in his sleep in mid-February stunned his friends.

"It hit us all really hard," Gagliano said. "Death is so real, especially when you're in your mid-20s.

"We wanted to make this bar a tribute to him."


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