The Club closes with the season
VAIL -The Club has been our club since it opened.
“Welcome to The Club: A Ski Bum’s Paradise since 1987,” the sign says at the bottom of the stairs.
The sign comes down Sunday night when The Club closes forever.
It’ll reopen this summer as something else, but not as The Club.
That corner stool bar has been a cornerstone in Vail Village since the 1980s. You may remember The Club as part of Vail’s Bemused Triangle, along with the Hong Kong Cafe and any of the other Bridge Street bars. Cyrano’s springs to mind, or what left of your mind after running all those laps around the Bemused Triangle.
Seen it all
Owners Zach Povey, Patrick O’Neill and The Club crew have seen us all come and go and come again. Zach have been around since 1991 and he and Patrick have owned it for the last eight years.
Joe Alicki works there.
“It’s awesome,” Joe said, then went back to work.
Stroll down those stairs and you exchange happy greetings with Goody, the guy at the door.
They saw Britney Spears roll in before she was old enough to be in there.
They saw Kid Rock roll through after the place was closed.
Edwin McCain stormed the stage. So did Zac Brown and John Popper, the harmonica player and singer with Blues Traveler.
O.J. Simpson stopped in, after he was acquitted of killing his wife Nicole Brown, but before he landed in prison. Club patrons had a delightful sense of humor about it.
“People kept asking for a knife they could pose with to have their picture taken with him,” Povey said.
Playboy’s “Girls Next Door” walked through the door. Parties ensued.
“People come in year after year. It’s good to see some of the same faces. We’ve had some great times,” Povey said.
Speaking of good times, Steve “The Good Times Man” Meyer has been The Club’s apres ski fixture since 1989. His last apres ski show is tonight. He has a place to land in Hawaii, so he’ll probably head out there for a while.
But the new owners want him back next year, and he says he’ll probably do it. He also points out that he’s been on a year-to-year contract since 1996.
“The demographics have changed,” Meyer said. “In 1996 there were 24 bars. Now there are a handful and some are struggling.”
It’s Meyer’s 31st season as an entertainer, his 26th year in Vail.
His first Vail gig was the Red Lion, which is interesting because a few years back he led a couple hundred people in a conga line down Bridge Street to moon fellow Village musician Phil Long through the Red Lion window. Vail Police told him to knock it off; he was inciting a riot – sort of.
It’s work, doing a four-and-a-half-hour show every night, but he makes it look easy.
Sunday’s music starts after pond skimming and after the Vail Mountain closes for the season, while we’re all looking for somewhere to congregate for one last round before we get on with whatever is next in our lives.
But time marches on and so must The Club crew.
“I think I’ll take a sabbatical,” Povey said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.