With its remodel nearly finished, The Golden Bear is expected to host a grand unveiling as early as St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday.
Owners Jon Modrow and Kimio Bazett said they hope to have the work done by Monday. But the bar in the converted house at 2326 K St. must still undergo final inspections from the city and county, so the exact date for a reopening party has not been set.
Crews were busy Thursday completing renovation of the kitchen, bathrooms and an enclosed, covered back patio. Aqua couches, white tables and modern light fixtures with dimmers have been installed in the back room to create a clean, light ambiance, free of artwork. The idea is to showcase people "at their best," Modrow said.
"You’re not going to be looking at art. You’re going to be looking at people," he said. "It’s all intended to be very social."
The room also serves as the smoking area. Vents were built in the back wall near the ceiling, and two powered exhaust fans will recirculate air every four minutes, he added.
The kitchen and bathrooms have doubled in size. The kitchen now has a range stove. Billy Zoellin, who worked previously at The Grange, Biba and Mulvaney’s B&L, will create small-plate appetizers, an expanded weekend brunch and lunch Monday through Friday.
"We’re becoming more of a gastro-pub," Modrow said.
The beer is also improving. A new draft beer system will pour Guinness with nitrogen and cool beers to about 35 degrees. It’s a much higher-end system than what you’d find "in a frat boy’s garage," he added.
The bathrooms now feature glass sinks, ceramic tile floors and waterfall faucets, where water pours from a fixture about a foot above the sink.
The front of the bar will be cleaned up, but no changes are expected there. The renovation, which had been slated for completion by the end of January, took longer after the county health department required a change in the water heaters, Modrow said, adding that he and Bazett then added other changes as well.
The staff is expected to grow from 20 to nearly 30. The bar has been open during the remodel. Food will start being served once the reopening party is held.
Photos by Suzanne Hurt.