Kalispell residents who have grown accustomed to dancing in the downtown streets at least one night a week during July and August’s “Thursday!Fest” are surely sorry to see the summer season slowly drawing to a close. But Bill Goodman, owner of the KM Mercantile building, plans to offer something new as the air grows crisp: He is opening up his new sports bar, Reds Roost, just as the Montana Grizzlies football season kicks off.
And though Reds Roost has been in the works for nearly a year, the recent success of the Thursday!Fest parties only reinforces his belief that people are looking for a good time in downtown Kalispell.
“We feel that downtown is on its way back to being the entertainment center of the valley,” Goodman said. “People like being able to come to the heart of their community and have something to do.”
After owning and operating Red’s for the last several years, Goodman and his wife, Jana, believe that bar has evolved in such a way that left an opening appealing to a different clientele. With live music almost every night of the week, and a popular dance-club-like atmosphere on weekends with a DJ, the Goodmans are hoping the customer looking for a slightly quieter watering hole has another option in Reds Roost.
“We looked at Red’s and looked at what we didn’t have,” Goodman said. “We built this place to take care of those things that it isn’t.”
Reds Roost is intended to be a comfortable place to watch sports, featuring outdoor seating on a new deck built out into the alley along the KM building’s west side, as well as six flat-panel TVs of various sizes and a projection TV. The 2,500-square-foot space holds multiple gaming machines, two pool tables, foosball, and video games Big Buck Hunter and Golden Tee Golf.
“People will have the advantage of two different types of bars in one building,” Jana Goodman said. “It will be nice to have a place without the music.”
The new bar occupies the southwest corner of the KM building that previously housed the Bulldog bar, and much earlier served as the receiving room for the original mercantile.
“They had forklifts going around in here,” Goodman said. “We’ve tried to keep that industrial feel.”
Original features of the mercantile were repurposed for the bar, such as the century-old light fixtures and roof vents hanging from the ceiling. Huge metal rollers from a sawmill de-barker form the corner foundations of the outdoor deck. Perhaps the toughest part of the renovation, according to Goodman, was the sanding required to bring back the shine of the original maple floors.
“I think we’ve developed a place that looks like it’s always been here,” he said. “This is where our community started.”
The new bar will share a kitchen with Red’s, but may offer some new snacks and meals, like fried pickles with spicy ranch dip – a dish Goodman and General Manager Kortny Kellogg swear is tastier than it may sound. Reds Roost will also serve lunch and dinner, with a soup, salad and pizza buffet for fast lunches. (DISCLOSURE: This reporter attended a brainstorming session with the Goodmans several months ago to name the bar and was compensated with a gift certificate and nacho platter.)
Goodman acknowledges the economy is such that now might not be an ideal time to open a new business. But then again, “every time is a difficult time to start a business,” he said, adding that he believes a “renewed focus on customer service” will help the Roost earn a loyal following right out of the gate.
“We’re not fancy, we’re comfortable,” Goodman said. “Maybe a step up from watching the ball game at home in your underwear, but you know, comfortable.”
On weekends, the bar will be open at 10 a.m. when the football games begin, but Goodman stresses there are enough TVs to accommodate just about any sport anyone might want to watch. And though a majority of fans in the Flathead tend to support the Griz, Kellogg, a Montana State University graduate, will make sure Bobcat fans are represented as well.
Goodman isn’t taking sides. He just wants people to come in and give the Roost a try.
“Myself,” he added, “I just like a good game.”
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