DU bar agrees to close forever after liquor violations

Denver bar faces 40-day closure

The former Gravel Pit at 2014 S. University Blvd. (Justin Wingerter photo)

A nightclub near the University of Denver has agreed to close its doors for good after the Denver Police Department’s vice team found it open after closing time.

The Gravel Pit, at 2014 S. University Blvd., reached a settlement with city officials that was formally approved by Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses on Dec. 8.

Under the settlement, the club admitted it stayed open too late one night in August and provided alcohol to a minor one time in September. It surrendered its liquor licenses.

“I created this space for the community of Denver, to bring music and art back to the people after COVID,” Gravel Pit owner Kofi Ansong told BusinessDen. “I am proud of what I and the staff accomplished. Our space promoted local musicians and artists.

“Unfortunately, Denver’s liquor laws are outdated and antiquated for this growing city,” Ansong added. “It’s sad to see the city doesn’t care about small businesses anymore. Just look at all the small businesses that have been shut down. Perhaps the city will stop targeting small businesses when city budget cuts arise because of a loss of tax revenue.”

The businessman said he hopes a liquor advisory group established by Gov. Jared Polis this year will result in “common-sense laws that don’t shut down small businesses.”

Ansong told BusinessDen in September that the city was trying to shut down the Gravel Pit due to a series of shootings in the area that it falsely believed stemmed from his club.

“They were concerned because a rich neighborhood had some gunfire,” Ansong said then. He later added, “They’re trying to get me out of there. It is what it is.”

The Gravel Pit’s location has a recent history of violations, including under previous ownership. It closed for 16 days in fall 2021 after an underage police cadet was served a Coors. By the time a bartender remembered to check her ID, the bar had been ticketed.

Before the club changed owners and became the Gravel Pit last year, it was called Quixote’s True Blue. That bar lost its license for 20 days in February and March of 2021 for serving a Fat Tire to an underage police cadet without checking for a driver’s license.

The owner of Quixote’s, Jay Bianchi, previously owned Sancho’s Broken Arrow, a Grateful Dead-themed bar along East Colfax that agreed to close in October, just before a hearing on a long list of allegations against the bar, including that it allowed cocaine dealing.

Bianchi also previously owned So Many Roads, a different Grateful Dead-themed bar in the Baker neighborhood that had to close for all of November after its current owner admitted there had been cocaine dealing and alcohol served to underage cadets there.

Denver bar faces 40-day closure

The former Gravel Pit at 2014 S. University Blvd. (Justin Wingerter photo)

“Denver’s liquor laws are outdated and antiquated for this growing city,” says the owner of the Gravel Pit.

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