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New bar opening in fall

BY REBECCA MORIN | AUGUST 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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South Gilbert Street has a new player in town.

Bardot, 347 S. Gilbert St., will hold a grand opening in September after nearly six months of renovations.

Owners Yiannis Assimakopoulos and Jackson Zapata bought Players, which formerly occupied the spot, in February.

The bar-and-grill combo closed in March.

“They have a valid liquor license,” City Clerk Marian Karr said. “They are viewed as the same owners doing the same type of business.”

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Players announced in June that a new location will open up, according to the bar’s twitter account.

Named after the “timeless” icon Brigitte Bardot, Assimakopoulos and Zapata said the newly refurbished bar will showcase a new scene for students to stop by and experience.

“We’re from the Caribbean, so our specialties are Caribbean drinks and all of the tropical things you don’t get to try very often around here,” Assimakopoulos said.

With a cement bar top and steel pipes, the bar features an industrial look, which the 28-year-old said is not only modern and aesthetically pleasing but easy to keep clean.

“We saw that the city was missing something, and we’re trying to fill that gap,” Assimakopoulos said.

“It will be a nice addition to the city because everyone already has a place where they go and hang out, and this is going to be something different, and people are probably going to like it.”

The two owners said many of their furnishings were from recycled goods.

While driving down Iowa back roads this past summer, Assimakopoulos and Zapata said they saw a man taking down an old barn who was going to throw away the wood.

Instead, the two Venezuelans bought the 100-year-old wood, and have since made tables and booths out of it.

The bar has also used recycled Hawaiian airline seats.

“It’s going to be very different from what’s around town; it has a different style,” Assimakopoulos said. “You get the feeling that you’re traveling without really traveling. You get to have drinks that you would have to fly somewhere else to get a drink.”

Renovations for Bardot cost about $500,000.

Both owners said they have kept many details of the new renovations a secret because they hope once it opens students will be able to come the restaurant and judge it themselves.

Assimakopoulos said he hopes instead of students spending their $2 at a bar downtown, that they would spend their $2 at Bardot instead.

“We have a show when we give a shot, so it’s not like we’re just giving you a shot, so we have a different show,” Zapata said. “Something fun and cool for students.”

At the end of next week, the Venezuela natives hope to hold a soft opening for families, friends, and people who helped invest in the bar.

In September, the two will hold a grand opening, which will feature an electronic violinist from Miami.

“We wanted all the students to be here and have them get an idea of the place and have heard about it first,” Zapata said.


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