The city of Denver on Thursday said it had reached an agreement with the embattled Sancho’s Broken Arrow bar that allowed owner Tyler Bishop to avoid his public, long-delayed liquor license hearing.
The settlement has not been approved, but it includes the closure of the Grateful Dead-themed bar, former owner Jay Bianchi wrote on Facebook Wednesday.
“Sancho’s Broken Arrow has been an institution in Colorado for 22 years and I am very sad to announce that it will not be in that location anymore,” he said of the Capitol Hill bar at 741 E. Colfax Ave.
Bishop, Sancho’s owner and Bianchi’s business partner, reached the settlement with the Denver City Attorney’s Office in what’s known as a “show cause disciplinary case.” It required him to argue why Sancho’s and his other Grateful Dead-themed bar, So Many Roads, should not have their liquor licenses revoked.
The hearing was originally scheduled for June, but was postponed until October. Since then, So Many Roads has been ordered to close for the month of November after an undercover sting by Denver police allegedly found cocaine dealing there. The craft brewery and Grateful Dead memorabilia museum at 918 W. 1st Ave. also served two underage police cadets during the 2021 sting, according to DPD.
The city declined to provide a copy of this week’s preliminary settlement for Sancho’s. Molly Duplechian, executive director of Excise and Licenses, will review the settlement and make a decision on whether to approve it, a spokesman told The Denver Post on Thursday.
Bianchi has been a divisive figure in Denver’s music scene for years, having barely survived a string of closures and legal battles that have wrested control of his fast-shrinking jam-band bar empire and put them into Bishop’s hands.
Most recently, two women accused Bianchi of sexual assault after an alleged incident in the basement of Sancho’s on Nov. 1, 2020. So Many Roads has also been the site of picketing and protests against Bianchi organized by the Colorado Musician’s Union.
Bianchi has repeatedly denied the allegations in interviews with The Denver Post, but has admitted to roughing up a musician who was playing at his former bar Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple. That bar caught fire on May 27, 2020, one week after Bianchi was cited for opening the Uptown venue against city orders.
Sancho’s has also been cited numerous times for violating city mandates, including opening during COVID shutdowns.
The Sancho’s space may yet live again: In his Wednesday Facebook post, Bianchi wrote that “our good friend Dave Hebert will be moving his gig from So Many Roads Museum and Brewery to here (Sancho’s) to honor the bar that made so many dreams come true just one more time.”
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