Raising the bar for a drinking establishment
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
NEW CASTLE, Colorado – It was the friendly bar environment of Helena, Mont., that first made Daniel Rodreick think he’d like to own a bar someday.
As a bartender in Big Sky country, he could see the community culture that the local taverns embraced.
The Garfield County native returned to the area in October 2008, and on Dec. 6, he saw his dream realized when he opened Rodreick’s Rendezvous in downtown New Castle.
For more decades than most around New Castle can remember, there’s been a drinking establishment at 366 W. Main St. From the Silver Club to the Canyon Club to the Trail’s End, it has long been a place to belly up to the bar and grab a cold one, jab buttons and listen to classic music on the jukebox, or line up a bank shot on the 8-ball.
Rodreick said his business still provides all those tried-and-true traditions, but now it has so much more to offer.
From Sept. 1 when he signed the papers, Rodreick said his goal was to transform what many considered to be a dive bar into a special place to gather.
“That bar had a very bad reputation, and I wanted people to walk in and say, ‘This is not a dump,'” he said.
The Trail’s End closed in the spring after the New Castle Town Council declined to renew the liquor license, citing a number of problems and police incidents.
“The bar had such a bad reputation, I knew I had a lot of work to do. I knew I had to remodel the whole place,” Rodreick said.
The town council provided him with a list of things that needed to be done, and Rodreick obliged.
“I did everything they had on the list, then I did more,” he said. “This was a tremendous challenge, but I’ve always loved taking on challenges.”
Looking around his business now, the 33-year-old Rodreick can’t help but flash a smile.
“To turn it around and bring it out of where it was and to make it the establishment it is now, makes me very proud of what I’ve done,” he said.
Customers have noticed the big turnaround – indeed, it’s impossible not to notice.
Starting in September, Rodreick worked side-by-side with his dad, Dan Rodreick, to transform the bar into something new.
Starting with a major clean up and clean out of the old, the father-son team moved onto the remodeling. They sanded down and renovated the bar and wood floors, chinked log siding on the wall, painted, added a fireplace with a cozy sitting area, a poker area, and a 10-by-10 high definition TV, and installed new ceiling light fixtures that converted the once dimly light bar into a brighter, friendlier atmosphere.
“Turning it around was the goal. It was a lot of work to get it open,” he said.
Turning a keen eye toward the problems of the past, Rodreick didn’t stop at the cosmetic remodel when he took over. He installed an elaborate security system that includes eight cameras.
“I wanted to provide a safe place where people can come in, feel welcome, find entertainment, and I wanted to provide the town of New Castle another lucrative business,” he said.
When he went looking for a name for his new business, Rodreick thought about his time in Montana, and picked up a dictionary.
He was drawn to the word “rendezvous,” and when he studied the definitions, he knew it was perfect.
A meeting place, a place where people meet, and this jewel that sums it up best, a favorite or popular gathering place.
A gathering place, “a community watering hole,” is what he wants people to think when they think of Rodreick’s Rendezvous. On the sign out front, it reads “where friends meet.”
Remembering one Christmas as a bartender in Montana, Rodreick talks about how the local watering hole was about taking care of people.
“I told people that I just put up my Christmas tree but I didn’t have any ornaments to put on it,” he said. “The next day I had four boxes of ornaments.”
Whether it was driving friends home or helping fix a flat tire, he said the sense of community never took a day off.
He hopes that his new business will soon embrace that same community culture.
For most patrons, the name Rodreick might not mean much. But that name has a place in New Castle history. Dating back to the town’s earliest years prior to 1900, the Rodreick family was in business.
They operated the Rodreick Ferry near where Elk Creek splashes into the Colorado River (Named Grand River back then), shuttling people back and forth across the massive river before a bridge was built around 1897.
Rodreick has put up a family history wall in the bar with old photos to recognize his family ancestry and its influence on the early history of the town.
Rodreick’s goal was to turn around the business and make everything new. He says he believes that he has accomplished that.
Rodreick’s Rendezvous offers 20 different beers and now serves appetizer foods like wings, chicken tenders, pizzas, chips, nachos and more.
The bar also has karaoke on Wednesday nights and live entertainment on some weekends.
Rodreick knew that he had plenty of work to do before opening, but he never doubted he could get it done.
“I am very optimistic,” he said about the future. “I wouldn’t have gotten into the business if I wasn’t.”
All along, his goal was to open a business where everyone could enjoy a beer, a song, a dance, a game of pool or just place to relax with friends – old and new.
“I like to provide things for people and have them enjoy their time,” he said.
Rodreick has provided a new gathering place for the folks of New Castle.
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