Whiskey Baron Dance Hall & Saloon to make N. Academy debut this spring 

Mark Travis built his nightlife reputation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the 6-year-old Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall & Saloon. But over the past few months, Travis has been working to duplicate his successful concept in Colorado Springs. Come May, he plans to open Whiskey Baron Dance Hall & Saloon (5783 N. Academy Blvd., see Facebook page). He’s been renovating a previously three-store space in a strip mall, netting a huge 12,000 square feet of space, with 1,600 of that going to the dance floor, which will be sunk around 3 feet below the rest of the bar area.

“We felt like if we opened the same thing in Albuquerque on the west side, or in Rio Rancho [a suburb/city northwest of Albuquerque proper]... we’d just cannibalize,” he says. “We were looking for markets similar to Albuquerque that we’d be able to reach in half a day or so, in case an issue came up.” Travis wouldn’t give a dollar figure for the cost of the renovations, but by opening he expects to close in on the seven-digit mark.

The bar’s emphasis will be on entertainment, from dancing to live country music to a mechanical bull. Employees will have overtly saloon-themed uniforms, with women in corsets and men in vest/bow-tie combos. Travis has planned a simple bar selection — bottled beer, plastic cups and nightly specials. He’s putting more emphasis on the food than the drink offerings.

“We have a couple different ideas with little twists, but it’ll be a good, basic bar menu,” he says.


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