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In late June, after a series of social media posts accused owner Nate Szklarski of sexual harassment and worse, the three-month-old horror bar at 5126 East Colfax Avenue went dark for a while and then closed completely when Szklarski moved on.
Now it is being revived as Slashers Denver under new / old ownership.
Joshua Schmitz, an established Denver entrepreneur known for his eclectic concepts, including the recently opened Hidden Gems in Larimer Square, rented the space that he operated for several years as Bellwether, a popular coffee and cocktail spot. After a series of successful, creepy pop-ups from Szklarski, Schmitz handed the spot over to Szklarski earlier this year to enable it to be transformed into a full-time horror bar.
“The truth is, I just didn’t have time to keep an eye on Bellwether at the time,” explains Schmitz. But now he’s ready to take it back.
The space is currently being renovated; Schmitz expects the doors to Slashers Denver to open in August. In the meantime, he plans to double the seating capacity of the bar and makes changes to both the interior and exterior decoration; he also wants to incorporate ideas such as augmented reality.
A handful of former Horror Bar employees are planning to join the rebranding. “Some of the horror bar staff chose to leave after everything that happened – which we fully understand – but others chose to stay and anyone interested in returning is more than welcome to get in touch with us again, ”Schmitz says.
The Slashers Instagram site – purged of everything horror bar related but keeps its followers – promises this will be a “brand new scuba diving experience” where people will be encouraged to “do their thing at will to dress, listen or see whatever you want and be whoever you want. ”
Slashers will continue the horror bar’s legacy of horror films and themed cocktails. “Our goal is to create an industry standard to create a one-of-a-kind experience, coupled with cool employees to enforce safe and fun practices and create a unique space that we nuts need,” promises the Instagram announcement.
The new name and concept of the bar were announced on Instagram.
Slashers Denver Instagram
“The reality is that with the new concept we are trying to go in a positive direction and are making a lot of changes to ensure the future safety of staff and guests,” says Schmitz, adding that part of the revenue at Slashers in Direction “several non-profit women’s organizations.”
According to Schmitz, Szklarski has removed all of his belongings from the site; Schmitz says he hasn’t heard from him for a week.
“I don’t think we’re responsible for the previous owner’s failures,” Schmitz sums up. “We’re trying to move forward, not backward.”
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Hilal is an alumni of the Metropolitan State University of Denver with a degree in political science. She has written for Denver Life Magazine and 303 Magazine and is currently the cannabis intern for Westword.