The Red Rooster Bar has been a neighborhood institution at 3100 N. Walker since 1937 and it’s about to get a long-overdue remodeling.
The new proprietors and the construction company doing the remodeling see potential in the space that has some classic features but also the challenges of eliminating the smell of smoke from 81 years of use.
Andrea Koester who owns Holy Rollers donut shop just a block away on Paseo Street has joined John Otjen and Josh Gautreaux in the project to form Venerable Concepts LLC.
“We are keeping the name and the unique image of the rooster,” Koester told Free Press.
“But we want to go back to the original identity of the place as a neighborhood tavern known for good food and a place for friends to gather.”
Joy Reid Belt, who owns several key properties in the Paseo business district, also owns the building and was the one making the application for changes to the liquor license.
Thursday, the Oklahoma City Planning Commission approved the application to convert the establishment from a beer bar to an ABC-2 Alcoholic Beverage Consumption restaurant.
The license allows for mixed drinks, but at least 50 percent of its sales must be food.
Zeb Gautreaux, whose construction company has been restoring and flipping a number of properties in the area is taking on the reconstruction.
“The biggest challenge is just getting the smoke out,” said Gautreaux.
“That means we’ll have to take all of the old sheetrock off the walls and we’ve taken down the drop ceiling. We’ll have to clean, paint and resurface just about everything in there.”
He said they found what they think to be the original pressed-tin ceiling and will be using that for the classic effect they are shooting for.
They all said the location of the bar on the corner of NW 30th Street and N. Walker Avenue will continue the recent expansion of entertainment and food just one block east of Paseo Street.
When we went by to photograph the place workers were just finishing up for the day.
The bar seems to be in good shape with what seems to be a hand-painted sign of a red rooster.
On the east wall, we saw what seemed to be a much older and more detailed logo of a rooster from the Rhode Island Red breed of chicken painted onto the original plaster.