Drinking Above the Clouds


By Rick Langenberg:




Local cinema-goers will soon be able to enjoy the combination of a movie, beer or glass of wine and even a meal.

The Woodland Park City Council granted a new beer and wine liquor license to the operators of the Gold Hill Theatres at the Gold Hill Square North shopping center. The plan is somewhat modeled after the Kimball’s Theatres in downtown Colorado Springs. 

According to business owner Edward Shirk, the Gold Hill Theatres has gone through an extensive renovation and expansion development. But with the costs associated with converting to a complete digital film setup, and the costs of adding more theater areas and films and doing extensive renovation, he said the owners want to increase their revenue opportunities.

As a result, they plan to offer a limited amount of beer and wine sales to movie customers, but will be selective in how this is handled during the airing of family-oriented films. Beer and wine products, with a proposed two-drink per film limit per person, will allow adults to consume alcoholic beverages while viewing a movie. And in the near future, the movie house may partner with the Carmen Tapas Grill and Bar restaurant next door in the offering of special meals for Gold Hill film patrons. These would consist of a special meal/ movie menu, according to the business owner, with the food being delivered to the film patron. 

Shirk lauded the strong community support he has received for the expansion and improvements undertaken at Gold Hill Theatres. But he noted that his business faces rising costs. “We are a business. We are trying to improve our sustainability,” said Shirk. The theatre center owner didn’t get any arguments from the city council.

A few leaders, though, questioned how this arrangement would be handed during the showing of family-oriented films attended by many kids. “It is a trough situation,” said Shirk, who cited the importance of not offending any families. Under their proposed policy, he said no beer and wine could be consumed in the lobby area. But he said that providing beer and wine drinks at movie theatres across the country is becoming more prevalent. He touted the success of this arrangement at the Kimball’s Theatres in downtown Colorado Springs.

And former councilman Terry Harrison labeled the combination of movies, beer, wine and food as a good idea. “I think it is a growing trend,” said Harrison, who described the many improvements made at the facility by Shirk. Plus, he stressed that the town has already opened the door for allowing the consuming of wine at other businesses, such as hair salons. He jokingly commented that if business patrons can now sip an alcoholic beverage in Woodland Park while getting their hair cut, then why not have the same arrangements at the local movie theatre center? 

Woodland Park Police Chief Bob Larson said he didn’t see any problems with the liquor license plan. 

Crystola Roadhouse back in action

In other major liquor-related announcements, the prohibition days are over for the Crystola Roadhouse, regarded as one of the more popular bar/restaurants and entertainment hubs in the Ute Pass.

Last week, the Teller County Commissioners, at the recommendation of the clerk and recorder’s office, unanimously approved a hotel and restaurant liquor license for the Crystola Roadhouse. According to clerk officials, the Crystola Roadhouse and owner Brian Sherman have fulfilled all local requirements. Shortly after the commissioners signaled the green light at the licensing hearing, the Roadhouse was permitted to serve beer and wine and a full-range of alcoholic beverages once again. A marquee sign outside the Crystola Roadhouse, with the message “Welcome Back,” declared the good news.

Due to reported problems in submitting paper work, the Crystola Roadhouse was forced to go dry for an extended period this summer. A sign was posted at the establishment door, outlining this dilemma and indicating that this no-alcohol situation would get resolved shortly. The restaurant, though, remained open.

But the processing of a new liquor license can be time consuming and requires a local hearing no less than 30 days after paper work is resubmitted. A similar situation practically crippled a former bar/restaurant establishment in Divide.

The news was warmly welcomed by local patrons, as the Crystola Roadhouse is the only bar/restaurant in the Crystola area and has a prime location off Hwy. 24. It also is regarded as a top entertainment spot for various musical acts. Sherman has operated the Crystola since January 2012, according to paper work submitted to the county. The Crystola establishment, which has quite an illustrious history, has been a restaurant/bar mainstay in the Ute Pass since the mid-1990s. 

In other approvals, the commissioners last week accepted a tax resolution for the American Gaming Group, which will lower their future bill significantly. Under this action, a main lot area of American Gaming Subdivision in Cripple Creek was reduced in value from a $18.76 million to $14 million. American Gaming is the company that played a major role in the construction and development of the Wildwood casino.

This settlement agreement was proposed by Assessor Betty Clark-Wine. With this action, a possible court hearing may be averted. The company was planning on taking their case before the state board of assessment appeals. During last week’s meeting, Clark-Wine stated that the applicant presented a considerable amount of confidential information, indicated that their original value should be lowered. American Gaming has agreed to the new values.

But in order for this settlement to become official, it had to be approved by the commissioners, acting as the board of equalization.