Jon Paul Johnson, Court Johnson and Zachary Alexander.

The new management team at The Lariat includes partners Jon Paul Johnson, Court Johnson and Zachary Alexander.

The Lariat reopens their doors May 13 after having closed in 2020 due to COVID-19 world wide pandemic shutdown.

“COVID was particularly hard on independent bars, independent restaurants and independent music venues. So being all three it never quite made sense to open up. We’re not a social distancing place,” owner Court Johnson said.

“I thought maybe it’s time to hang up the gloves, but the people from the town and from the valley were so supportive and encouraging and so cool about how this town and this valley needs this place and needs it to be what it is, which is a full blown bar, restaurant and music venue,” he said.

He welcomed new managing partner Zach Alexander to help deal with the music part of the business and began looking for a partner to deal with food and beverages. That was when he called his son John Paul Johnson, who had run restaurants in New York City and Denver, to see if he was interested in joining.

“I didn’t think we’d be able to do it. There were just too many things that had to come together, but it kind of seems like it was meant to be in the end,” Court Johnson said.

The Lariat has had many upgrades since the shut down, with new subwoofers, acoustic paneling on the ceiling and walls and 210 Meyer Stage Monitors being added to the stage.

Johnson said Meyer Sounds is the best, he believes, on the market and that they needed to go all in when upgrading the stage.

The menu has also been reworked with an emphasis on new American with southwestern style cooking to match the style and tone of the music venue.

“Really fresh ingredients, going to be made mostly in house. Kinda southwestern comfort food,” John Paul Johnson said.

“We’re going to continue to have great beer, great cocktails and all really fun stuff,” he said.

Grant Farm will return to perform opening night, May 13.

Grant Farm opened for The Lariat 5 years ago.

In 2020, the band parted and went their separate ways. However, with the reopening of The Lariat, the band decided to return to help celebrate the beloved venue.

“We love The Lariat. It’s one of the finest intimate venues in Colorado. Excellent sound, nice stage, wonderful vibe. We feel at home there,” Tyler Grant said.

Longtime local favorite Leadville Cherokee returns to the stage after a long hiatus armed with a new record.

Talents such as Dragon Deer, Eddie Roberts, Thievery Corporation and Trout State Revival are in the process of being booked for the coming weeks. Shows will continue to be hosted every weekend with one or two performances per night.

“We have a pretty big line up and the music community has been very supportive,” Court Johnson said.

In addition to musical events John Paul and Court expressed interest in hosting other events in the future but said that they felt they need to focus on the music, bar and restaurant side of the business first before doing other things.

“Never in my life thought I’d buy a bar and turn it into a restaurant, bar and music venue,” Johnson said.

“I would like to thank the town for such incredible support.”

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