The first surprise: the glass front doors open on a staircase where a towering column meticulously covered in tiny tile spires upward. The restaurant is on the second floor, raising your expectations of the place, lifting you above the ordinariness of your day. High-raftered ceilings construct a feeling of volume and room, and the rich reds and grays on the walls bring the space in close: somehow both capacious and cozy. Over and again, Bar Louie, a Colorado Springs bar and restaurant in the First and Main Town Center plays on seemingly competing themes, bringing them into remarkable harmony.
The second surprise: window walls offer expanding views west across the suburban east side, but garage doors and patios above the sidewalk foot-traffic suggest an urban aesthetic. These commonly sparring visions here find easy accord: a place ideal for the tete-a-tete of an intimate date night as well the happy laughter of moms’ evening out. The drink selection, too, grows out of both perspectives: the Bourbon Basil Bash mixes the caramel-vanilla of the classic spirit with the savory earthiness of basil, while the Spicy Pineapple Margarita is that time-honored tug-o-war of hot and sweet. The food plays the theme as well— vintage bar style married to modern innovation and unexpected ingredients.
The third surprise: the staff has the presence and efficiency indicative of a national brand, and is free and creative like a neighborhood tavern—nailing the timing and knowing your name. Guests come in from neighborhoods across the city, from jobs as varied as they are, from stories up and down, all entering a playing field as level as the bar, sharing the same hope for the evening: to breathe out, to ease down, to loosen up. “Eat, Drink, and Be Happy” are the words posted here and there across the establishment, not a rule but a reminder: you are welcome to unwind.