An urban ultra lounge for the mountains
The most striking features encountered in the softly lit den are the three lighted fish tanks home to parrot fish, kissing fish and sting rays. Gagnon measures one tank at eight feet wide. Pale blue light rays from the water highlight the purple chandeliers outside the tanks, hanging from the ceiling.
"I wanted to put in the tanks, because I wanted to create an atmosphere that was relaxing and hypnotic and that went with Celsius," he explains. Currently, Gagnon plans to install waterfalls into the side of the wall to expand on the soothing theme.
If it sounds like Gagnon is trying to stray from the typical log-cabin après ski atmosphere, he is. A former owner of Harry O’s, one of Park City’s largest private clubs, Gagnon said he’s had a chance to understand the bar culture and has tried to create the missing smoke-free alternative to the "resort-looking" bar.
"This town’s expanding and changing more and more, and I wanted to give people something that had more of a city feel," he says. "We have a broad local clientele, but we also wanted tourists to feel like there’s something new and modern in Park City."
After Dec. 1 of 2005, Gagnon says he spent 29 days gutting and rebuilding the former Mother Urban’s Ratskeller private club from the ground up. He installed a stainless steel bar, eight plasma television screens, custom-made furniture in Los Angeles and painted the walls orange. He plans to rotate artwork every month. In May he will welcome a photographer’s work, he says.
On New Year’s Eve, he counted 360 people at the opening of his bar, he says.
The private club is organized into seven different "living rooms" to allow customers to rent a private viewing screen and sit-down service for whatever sports game or television show they would like to make into a social event. Typically, speakers play the main game, but Gagnon says he can tune speakers individually and has headphones available.
During the Sundance Film Festival, Celsius rented the screens to sponsors, and also held afternoon premiers on its larger movie screen, according to Gagnon.
The central metal bar has two, distinct sides, one red and one blue to reflect the dual nature of the private club’s name, Celsius. All salt margaritas served at one side of the bar are served blue-tinted salt on their rims, and all salt margaritas are rimmed with red salt on the opposite side. All drinks that require olive picks or sugar, are also in keeping with the color theme. Gagnon notes that the term ‘Celsius,’ a temperature scale, encompasses hot and cold, much like the seasonal weather and seasonal visitors, and says he wanted to draw attention to that with colors.
Food is served daily, often passed out on trays. The menu depends on the caterer hired. Celsius has teamed up with its neighbor, The Clockwork Café to serve sandwiches, but it has also been known to serve caviar dishes, bacon-wrapped shrimp and saffron chicken.
Drinks range from $2 shot specials to $250 champagnes. The bar stocks a full-range of wines and beers.
Besides $2 Monday nights, when the bar offers $2 cocktails, $2 drafts, the bar offers $2 Jagermeister shots, $3 drafts and $4 Stella Artois every night.
Live entertainment is free on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.
"No one seems to give anything away [in Park City,]" he observed. "It seems odd to me to go to a bar and buy a drink and have to pay to hear music, so I don’t charge for it."
Beginning in May, Gagnon says he will begin opening earlier on Sundays for baked goods and a Bloody Mary bar. Also next month, he plans to host grand piano concerts on Saturdays, featuring local musician Rich Wyman.
Celsius is located 625 Main Street, and is open seven days a week from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. To reserve a plasma screen for a televised event, or for more information, call 615-7200.
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Bill White shut down his restaurants in the spring when the pandemic hit. They’re back up and running, but the challenges brought on by COVID-19 remain: “[I]t seems we collectively are taking one step forward and two steps backwards.”