Music fans eager for a new venue in Steamboat Springs are going to have to wait about six more months.
Owners of the Ghost Ranch Saloon don't anticipate opening the music venue and restaurant until mid-May.
The project has grown to include an extensive green room and a full commercial kitchen, co-owner Amy Garris said Thursday.
"We have no interest in rushing an opening at this point," Garris said. In late September, she said the venue could be open as soon as the start of the year. The later date comes from an expanded roster of amenities.
"If anything, the whole thing just kind of got bigger and more elaborate," Garris said, adding that the project's budget has ballooned with a complete remodel of every floor in the building that once housed Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.
"When you get into spending a lot of money, you kind of start to figure, 'Why stop now?'" she said.
Construction on the building's exterior is essentially complete. But additions such as wiring a stage that can hold a 12-person band and installing plumbing for showers have pushed the completion date for the building's interior until the middle of March, Garris said.
"It can be very misleading, because you walk by and it looks like it could be open any day," she said, explaining the building's exterior had to be finished before winter.
"It can definitely create a different interpretation of the progress, which is fine. It's good to have a place that people are excited about," she said. Garris, co-owner Jean Sagouspe and general manager Crystal Allen will use the two shoulder-season months between the venue's completion and its opening to train staff and work out any audio-visual kinks, Garris said.
When it opens, Ghost Ranch Saloon will hold about 400 people and will roll out a schedule of live music from a variety of genres, including country and punk rock.
Garris said Denver booking agent David Arthur is putting together a list of regional acts with a strong draw, and plans to go after national acts as well. Garris hopes to start booking for the venue's first few weeks by February.
"We'll open with a bang to the select group of people who happen to be in town at that time of year," she said. Part of that bang will be a menu of simple appetizers and finger foods, which will be available at a walk-up window until 1:30 or 2 a.m. Garris hopes the rest will come from a reputation for rowdiness.
"We want it to be the kind of place where people can be comfortable misbehaving," she said. "I know we're definitely asking for it, but town needs it."
That means checking the breakability of all the glasses her interior designer picks for the bar, hiring Allen - a longtime friend and bar worker - as general manager and staying open late.
"If we say we're going to be open until a certain time, we're going to be open until that time," Garris said. "We're going to try to do the exact opposite of what everyone else in town does, so that's got to be worth something."
Garris hopes to have construction progress photos up on the Ghost Ranch Saloon Web site sometime in January.
The site now is a one-page ad recruiting bands interested in playing the future venue. Garris said she's eager to see the project wrap up, but wants to take the time needed to meet her own expectations.
"I want it to be open as much as the next guy, but I want to do it right," she said. "It'll be here for years to come, so a couple more months isn't going to kill anybody."
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