Downtown Hot Spot Preserved

By Beacon Staff

In a matter of weeks, Red’s Wines and Blues owner Bill Goodman shut down the popular restaurant, announced he was selling it and then reopened it with a new look.

Now he has sold it.

Earlier this month he agreed to a contract with a purchasing group led by Brian Scott, who is also part of the group that owns the Outlaw Inn. Goodman said he is happy with the deal, though he can’t say he’s necessarily relieved.

“Occasionally relief will hit me,” he said. “But on a day like today I’m working 14 or 16 hours.”

Goodman’s work is far from done, he said.

He estimates that he’ll continue to run Red’s for several more months, possibly as many as six. Though he and Scott have mostly hashed out the details, Goodman said the handover process is complicated, especially when it involves booze.

“A new owner of a liquor license has a thorough background check,” Goodman said.

Two other parties were “very interested” in buying Red’s, Goodman said, but Scott’s group worked the fastest and most diligently. Also, Scott took in the 45 employees that Goodman had to lay off when he temporarily shut down Red’s. They started on Monday.

“He took them all to Bulldog’s,” Goodman said.

The Bulldog is also undergoing big changes, Goodman said, but Scott was not available for comment before the Beacon went to print.

For two years Red’s has been a hugely popular restaurant and bar, as well as Kalispell’s top music venue. Goodman said he felt Kalispell needed something different downtown at the time.

“When we started we felt there was a real need for a meeting place,” Goodman said. “We felt it needed to be a little chic, but still casual. It’s hard to be chic and casual.”

Goodman said that Scott’s interest in Red’s is evidence that investors are attracted to downtown. The Whipps Building, which was transformed from a “dying building” to a cornerstone of downtown, is another indicator of downtown’s well-being, Goodman said.

“I think downtown is really healthy,” he said. “It’s in good shape.”

After reopening, Red’s now focuses on being a bar, Goodman said, rather than a restaurant. Its hours are 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. It doesn’t serve breakfast or lunch, and its dinner menu is greatly reduced. But the music is still there and so is the chic-meets-casual atmosphere, enhanced by a soft-seating lounge area.

Scott will keep this atmosphere alive, Goodman said.

“We decided to continue in that direction,” he said. “And that will definitely work for him.”

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