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January 26, 2004 // UPDATED 2:43 pm - April 24, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

New barber is all-man

During a stroll Downtown awhile back, Ray Serie noticed something missing: "a guy's-guy place" to get a haircut.

"About a year and a half ago, a friend asked me to come out for happy hour. I was walking around in the skyway. There were tons of salons for women, but no true barbershops," he said.

The places offering services to men, he noticed, offered cuts for $35-$55.

Serie wanted to provide Downtown businessmen a cheaper alternative, so he started The Shop, which recently opened in the International Center at the corner of 2nd Avenue South and 9th Street.

"My concept was to put in an upscale barbershop and still have it a decent price -- $25 for a haircut," he said. "I truly believe there is nothing Downtown like our business. It's a basic barber shop."

Serie's barbershop conjures images of the old-school barbershops with the large spinning poles but has new modern touches, including two 42-inch plasma TVs and small television sets at each cutting station.

Services include basic haircuts and straight razor outlines. Most customers are in-and-out in 20 minutes, he said. Serie is also treating customers to free beer and pop during his opening days.

For now, hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

La Belle Vie Downtown location still unsettled

The men behind Hennepin Avenue's Solera, a Spanish-influenced tapas restaurant and bar, plan to bring their acclaimed Stillwater fine-dining restaurant, La Belle Vie, to Downtown -- but contrary to rumor, have not settled on a site.

Tim McKee, co-owner of the restaurants, said the move would likely take place this summer. The Fairmont Hotel, a run-down, boarded-up building at 9 S. 9th St. -- across the street from Solera, 900 Hennepin Ave. S. -- has been mentioned as a possible site for La Belle Vie. However, McKee said he and his partner Josh Thoma are looking at other sites as well, though he wouldn't mention specifics.

The restaurateurs are looking for an 8,000- to10,000-square-foot space for La Belle Vie. "We are expanding a little on the concept to include a more casual caf atmosphere. Most of our business comes from the western suburbs and the 612 area code, rather than 651, so I think it makes sense to move closer to our core business," McKee said.

Dead nightclub gives way to dead animals

The bartender at The Lodge Bar shares space with an imposing large black bear.

General Manager Tom DeQuattro said he wants to evoke a Northwoods-type atmosphere in his new club at 11 S. 5th St. The bar opened Jan. 23, in the old Banana Joe's location.

The faux-tropical nightclub closed last year after the Minneapolis Police Department shut it down for overoccupancy. It later opened in April at 15 S. 5th St as the Ocean Club with a new Key West-inspired image.

The Lodge Bar has a different bar climate with deer heads aplenty and a white mountain goat that looms over the entranceway.

The bar will have a range of music, from country tunes to pop, said Angela Pierret, the bar's sales and promotions manager. The club will have both live and recorded music. The Lodge Bar Band and bar DJs will interact with bar-goers, inviting them to sing along and take part in skits.

The bar hours are 4 p.m.-2 a.m.