Vibes does its thing in Manitou Springs 

click to enlarge Heather Hart aims to create “higher vibrations.” - DIONNE ROBERTS
  • Dionne Roberts
  • Heather Hart aims to create “higher vibrations.”
Vibes held its grand opening on March 17, giving co-owners Heather Hart and Rodger Smith a new, yet very different “project” after Hart’s Rastafarian wellness center, One Love Club in Old Colorado City, was forced to close in July 2017. The all-organic, vegan-friendly bar reawakens what was once Castaways, a nautical-themed restaurant and bar in Manitou Springs that Hart says was a popular boomer spot and “a staple in the nightlife, back in the day.”

The large venue sat empty for about six years before Hart purchased the property, hoping to move One Love, a cannabis consumption club and Rastafarian place of worship, into the space. Hart says once she determined that acquiring a cannabis club license was “not in the cards” she shifted her focus to Vibes, which integrates a health-conscious food and drink menu, community events and CBD products.

“I wanted to create a space because I love people, I love to socialize, I like to help people,” says Hart. “We did a lot of that at One Love and that was the most rewarding part of the whole thing — educating people and being able to provide that kind of environment. So I wanted to create a similar vibe.”

Hart maintains that she prefers cannabis over alcohol consumption but says, “if we have to have a bar and a liquor license then it’s going to be a wellness bar and we’re going to do things in the healthiest possible way that we can.”
Location Details Vibes and Irie Rasta
107 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs/Ute Pass
Manitou Springs, CO
Event Center

Although cannabis club licensing is at a standstill, Hart says she would “like to be able to work with the city of Manitou Springs to come up with something that’s well-regulated and works.”

“It just makes sense,” she says. “The only two rec shops in the whole area are on the other side of us, so that would be the smart thing to do.”

Hart doesn’t feel that membership fees would be necessary if it were properly structured through the city with the implementation of procedures to regulate cannabis like alcohol. She suggests that patrons 21 and up pay a cover charge and be permitted to consume. Hart wants people to know that currently Vibes “is definitely not a cannabis club” and encourages those who are interested to stop in and explore their offerings.

Hart says Manitou’s coming summer tourism season is “going to be a good thing for us, like it is for all of the Manitou businesses, but I’m more interested in community. I’d really like for all of the people in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs to check it out and see if this is something that fits with them in their life.”

Vibes includes a nod to Rastafarian culture through decor and familiar colors but it it’s not a place of worship as One Love Club was, with memorial and sabbath services. Instead Vibes offers yogapuncture, theatrical productions, open mic nights and live music every weekend.

The beverage service is entirely organic and plant-based with a vegan beer from Trinity Brewing on draft and a selection of hemp-derived spirits. Vibes makes all of their mixers and cocktail syrups in-house to produce refreshing flavors in lavender mules, acai margaritas, hibiscus cosmopolitans and a honey-rose lemonade.
“I’m just not going to do the regular bar thing,” says Hart. “We don’t serve shots here. This is not a place to come get trashed and rowdy. This is a place to come relax, enjoy some really great music... higher vibrations.”

The food menu consists of fresh salads and homemade seitan, available tandoori or buffalo style with corresponding sauces for hungry patrons. Hart says their barbecue jackfruit sliders are “amazing” and the acai bowl is her weakness.

“I could literally sit here and eat like three of those,” says Hart. “It’s like ice cream, only not, which is great.”

CBD boosts are available in the water, tea, smoothies and cold brew coffees, all of which depend on a Kangen machine that produces antioxidant-rich and alkaline H2O. Two oxygen bars use Kangen water and infuse essential oils and/or CBD for aromatherapy and other health benefits. There is also a plentiful selection of hemp and locally made CBD products, from topicals to dog and cat treats.

Hart has received “absolutely great feedback” from the broad demographic of Manitou residents who have come in to experience the changes, and says “everyone is super excited about what we’re doing here.”

“The bar scene is not my deal at all, but I love to socialize with like-minded people that you can have really great conversations with, so that’s the whole concept,” she says. “Let’s provide all of those things that conscious individuals appreciate and let’s put that in a space where we can all hang out and do our thing, that’s what this is.”


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