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The Long-awaited Return of Live Music

After closing in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lariat is getting ready to reopen its doors; and they mean business.

The iconic Buena Vista (BV) spot on Main Street, known for its live music, will be reopening in May. Co-partners Court Johnson, Zach Alexander, and JP Johnson opened their doors last week for job seekers of all kinds to come in, fill out their applications, and chat with them about working at the Lariat. 

“We’ve done this before so a lot of it is just finding our groove again,” said Zach Alexander, co-owner. “The process since March of 2020 is a different story…the most difficult part of that journey for me was watching the live music industry get hit so hard. Venues closing, support staff without jobs, and bands breaking up. It was pretty traumatic at the time.”

It was a long journey to bounce back. After working to find new partners from the Front Range and beyond, Court Johnson decided he liked who he was with here in the valley, bringing in his son to help run the kitchen. In spite of the pressures of the pandemic and the long wait, he said, the support of the community drove them to stick with it until they could reopen.

The soon-to-be-populated bar at the Lariat in Buena Vista stands shining and ready for the community. Photo by Hannah Harn.

“At a point, people throw in the towel, and like I said, we were tempted to,” he explains over the hum of music. “But with the support from the community and from the townspeople, the people in the valley, and from the music community, in addition, it’s just been incredible. So, it’s like, gee, we gotta make this happen somehow.”

And make it happen they did. The Lariat will host its grand opening on May 13 and 14, with live music from Grant Farm and Leadville Cherokee with Chain Station, respectively. Johnson said he’s looking forward to bringing people back into the “community living room” of the Lariat, which has been a BV staple since 1885. 

JP Johnson, who will be heading up the kitchen side of things, says the menu will be familiar and “South Western” influenced. While not totally finished, the menu will be accessible and friendly, matching the spot’s overall vibe. 

Alexander is most looking forward to “that moment when the band walks onto the stage with a packed house and cheers erupt,” he says. “And giving my friends and community hugs under this roof.” For more information about the Lariat, including booking information, visit Job applications can be found online