Michael and Sarah Freese are the owners of Karma Bar and Lounge on Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat. A grand opening celebration for the bar is planned for Friday.

Photo by John F. Russell

Michael and Sarah Freese are the owners of Karma Bar and Lounge on Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat. A grand opening celebration for the bar is planned for Friday.

Karma Bar and Lounge hosts grand opening in downtown Steamboat

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— Something about The Red Bar in Grayton Beach, Fla., just stuck in Michael Freese’s head. It was where he got into the restaurant industry 25 years ago, and he’s carried a little piece of that time with him into the new venture with his wife, Sarah, in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Karma Bar and Lounge will have its grand opening Friday in the basement space under Rootz on Lincoln Avenue. The bar opens at 3 p.m.

Freese built the bar himself from black walnut, steel, concrete and red lights that illuminate the work from underneath the bar top. The red mood lighting also lines the space, shining down on the rock walls.

“Something about a red bar,” Freese said Thursday, describing how he gravitated toward the glow during his renovations of the location.

Freese spent three months working on the space with hardly a day off. The materials used in the construction of the bar pervade Karma.

“I like the mix of wood, steel and concrete,” he said.

Above the bar hangs a large gong. “It’s tuned to the movement of the moon,” Michael said. “Had to have it.”

It’ll ring for open, close and, of course, good tips, he said.

Michael and Sarah said they conceived of Karma as an adult bar, where patrons can either gather before going out or head for an after-dinner glass of wine in a more subdued environment.

Some nights also will feature live music, Sarah said, and the grand opening includes DJ Chris Freese on Friday and Sunday and the band Super Hot Robots on Saturday.

The focus behind the bar is on wine, Michael said, and the prices are set so patrons can enjoy a few glasses for what they might pay elsewhere.

“It’s the finest wines you’re going to get for the price in town,” Michael said about the list, which initially will have six wines and a prosecco by the glass.

The varietals and regions will be all over the place, Sarah said, and will include organic and biodynamic wines.

The specialty cocktail list is currently being filled out, Sarah said, and there’s beer in bottles and cans.

Karma will serve charcuterie, with the oils, vinegars, cured meats, fruits and cheeses being sourced within the state or regionally as much as possible. Salads and desserts also will be on the menu, Sarah said.

Michael said they’re trying to use items from the community. “It’s just a great community,” he said. And as they get rolling, they’re looking to give back and host events for local organizations, Sarah said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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