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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Luxe Lounge Lands in Former Doc's in Downtown Monterey

One of Monterey's major nightlife venues is back. And it's schizophrenic.

Tomorrow, Nov. 18, Luxe Lounge (643-1100) will suddenly open in the Monterey nightlife venue that was previously Doc’s.

And I have to say, a split personality disorder never sounded so sexy.

By day (starting at 11am), owner Dennis Barwick (above) says, it will be a family sports bar banked with dartboards and big-screen TVs.

By evening, he says it will transition into a dueling piano bar. (Holy crescendo.)

By night, he’s talking thumping disco action, with touring DJs on the ones and two.

Come 2am, he’s thinking coffee shop-dance hall fueled by cappuccinos and late night grub.

The “corner”—which includes the neighboring/connected eateries Bellagio Pizzeria (643-9500) and Habanero’s Grill and Cantina (375-3700, above) that Barwick also owns—will stay open until 4am Wednesday through Saturday.

When I mentioned that other local outlets have unsuccessfully aspired to maintain later hours, Barwick, a consultant who has done handsomely rescuing service industry businesses for years, seemed nonplussed.

“We believe there’s a social life after 2am. It’s something we have to build up,” he says. “Denny’s is full. Ultimately when folks find that there is a place there, somewhere just to have a late night snack, that will be a place people will eventually migrate to.”

Several times a month, meanwhile, he’s pledging to pull in big-ticket musical acts—he says he’s in negotiations with Randy Travis and Michael Bolton—and comedy acts from Vegas.

“I’m looking at this as a long-term project,” he says. “We have to walk before we run, but it’s a dream to not have to drive 100 miles to get real upscale entertainment.”

His team has stocked the bar with 60 tequilas and 30 beers by the bottle to complement the 20 beers on tap—“We believe we have one of the best stocked bars in Monterey County,” Barwick says. “We spared no expense”—and patrons can order from Habanero’s and Bellagio or from Luxe’s own limited lineup of grill-style stuff like hamburgers, dogs, onion rings and wings.

While some renovations remain, Harwick—who previously partnered with former Monterey Live owner Gary Smith on the project, before a hold on Smith’s liquor license helped dissolve the deal—
is eager to get going. “My work as a consultant gave me an appreciation for bringing in something different,” he says. “We’re trying to come in with a concept that’s fresh and innovative.”

Just send the schizophrenia shrink bill to the dance floor fiends of the area, who have to be stoked to see such a key spot back and (hopefully) bumping.