The Remington Bar and Casino in downtown Whitefish is being refurbished and resuscitated as a new owner takes over with a promise to reanimate a bar with untold potential.
“This place is going to jump again,” said Dave Sheeran, the prickly purveyor of pies at Second Street Pizza who last year opened Mama Blanca’s in the space adjacent to the Remington, located at 130 Central Ave.
He’s since established a symbiotic business relationship with the bar’s former owner, Ted Spraul; customers bending an elbow at the watering hole would order food from next door, and diners at Sheeran’s Latin-fusion eatery would work up a tall thirst and amble over to the bar for a drink.
When Sheeran heard that Spraul was interested in selling the bar, he dipped a toe in the market waters and decided the temperature was just right.
“He offered me a great deal and I took it,” Sheeran said. “It’s been limping along for eight years but it used to be the spot. It just needed a little work. I put everything in place that needed to be.”
The work began in earnest in mid-December, when Sheeran started renovating the interior, furnishing it with a new bar made of reclaimed wood from JL Halverstadt, who also furnished the interior of Mama Blanca’s. The centerpiece is a new bar top made from a reclaimed bridge that once spanned the Teton River near Choteau.
Sheeran also credited his business partner, Sam Beougher, and said the chops he honed owning five bars in his native borough of Queens, New York, instilled solid business instincts.
“My whole family was in the bar business. That’s what I do. I know what to do to make it work,” he said.
He’s also determined to bring a stream of live music acts to the newly built stage, with a focus on country, blues and rock, filling the hole left by the closure of Flanagan’s Central Station. Sheeran said he’s already booked the Black Lillies, an Americana band from Knoxville, Tennessee, who will play at the Remington in July.
Because he now owns the entire building, Sheeran also procured the Remington’s liquor license, which allows Mama Blanca’s to offer table service in the restaurant, featuring margaritas, sangria and mojitos.
“It’s like a whole new bar,” Sheeran said. “It’s going to be the spot.”
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