Expansion is a ‘game-changer’ for The Spur Bar & Grill
May 20, 2016
The owners of The Spur Bar & Grill on Main Street have been dreaming of an expansion for more than a decade. But, for one reason or another, the time was never quite right.
Construction began earlier this month on a large-scale project that will reshape the bar. For 15 years, it has been tucked away on the back side of Main Street, accessible only through a tunnel that connects Park City’s historic drag with Swede Alley.
But no longer. The project, which is set to be finished in November, will expand the bar into the storefront space at 352 Main St., taking over what for several years has been Dugins West Too. The plan also calls for a second level, complete with an outdoor patio area.
Cortney Johanson, managing partner of The Spur, said the planning process was surreal for her, owner Aaron Hoffman and general manager Fabio Ferreira because they’d wanted to do the project for so long. The reality didn’t set in until recently.
"Now that we’ve actually done the demo and you can see the space, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to do this,’" she said, adding that the owners of Dugins West Too, who have another location at 425 Main St., were amenable to leaving so the bar could be expanded.
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Live music will remain in the back of The Spur, where it is now. The front area and second level will increase the capacity by at least 200 and allow patrons to sneak away from the music to chat and enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine.
"It’s a game-changer," Johanson said. "We’re going to take a bar that’s busy for live music — we’re busy from 9 o’clock at night until 1 o’clock in the morning — to being a bar that’s going to be open at 10 a.m., serving food all day and all night until 1 a.m. It’s sort of The Spur all grown up."
To Johanson, having a storefront on Main Street is the most important aspect of the project. The Spur is busy every winter, along with every other establishment in town, but has trouble bringing in customers during the rest of the year. Nearly 15 years after the bar opened, Johanson said, many residents and longtime visitors still don’t know it exists because it’s not visible from the street.
"I think it’s everything — it’s everything to be on Main Street," she said. "I run into people all the time who have no idea what The Spur is. But if it was on Main Street and had that front, everyone would know. Having big windows on Main Street is everything for a business.
"Over the years, we’ve done everything we could to promote business," she added. "But the fact that you have to walk down the alley, it just does not get as much traffic. We’ve tried to do lunch and do game nights and this and that, every single gimmick that there is."
But as much as The Spur is changing, the most important thing is staying the same — its identity. It will be much larger, have a visible Main Street presence and will allow patrons to soak up the sun on the second deck. But it will still have the same small music venue in the back that regulars have come to love. Changing that aspect of the bar, Johanson said, was out of the question, even though many musicians wanted a larger area.
"That’s not what The Spur is," she said. "The Spur is an intimate music venue and that’s why it does well. You’ve got Park City Live and you’ve got O.P. Rockwell that have a larger capacity. I think that intimate setting is our niche. It keeps us able to do live music every night because we don’t have to pay these big bands a lot of money because we have a huge capacity to meet. We can have 100 people in there, and it’s fun."