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Copper cocktails: Reopened, remodeled lounge on Central hosts fundraiser

The Copper Lounge recently quietly reopened its doors with a new look and ambiance.

The lounge, once named Jack’s, has been around since the 1960s. It closed its doors a few years ago. Cindy Chalamidas’ parents once owned the bar. She felt compelled to reopen the location after her father Tom Chalamidas died last year.

“I really felt like I wanted to take it over because my dad had just passed away and I felt like I wanted to keep it in the family and it was the right thing to do,” Cindy Chalamidas said. “It was like something that hit me, and I’m like, I’m going to do what I’ve been envisioning, what Albuquerque needs.”

The public can see the result of Chalamidas’ vision and help a community program during “Cocktails for a Cause” on Thursday, Dec. 28. The event will benefit the Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, which provides a safe and supportive environment for grieving young people ages 5 to 25, and their caregivers. It also provides community education on topics related to grief and loss, as well as special programs such as Camp Corazon. The $25 entry fee includes two premium cocktails from a special menu and free hors d’oeuvres. DJ Leftovers will provide entertainment.

“I thought it was a nice thing to do, and it also gives us an opportunity to let people walk in the door and see the brand-new environment and concept that we created,” Chalamidas said. “We decided on a date after Christmas because people are still like in the holiday spirit that last week of Christmas. It’s basically a cocktail party for a good cause.”

Other then its ornate ceiling, The Copper Lounge is almost unrecognizable. The space, which once housed pool tables and plain carpet, now features a seating area with a modern art deco feel. Jewel-toned couches and faux fur-covered chairs with glass and brass tables now sit on a walnut wood floor. The bar area has a speakeasy ambiance with plenty of tables and booths for visiting with friends and counter-height stools at the bar. Strands of pearls adorn several panels on a back wall.

Next door is the more casual Boiler Room, an enclosed patio with a full bar and TVs. It offers Boilermakers, which are whimsically named pairings of a featured shot and a beer. Boiler Room guests also can order from the lounge’s extensive food menu.

The focus of the revamped lounge are handcrafted cocktails, which are its best-seller.

“We have 20 local microbrews and local drafts, we have champagne and everything, but the focus has really been on our cocktails,” Chalamidas said. “We’re making so many cordials, liqueurs and infusions from scratch. My mom used to have that package (liquor) store in the back. When I bought my new (liquor) license, I didn’t buy that, and we don’t have a package store so back there we’re calling it ‘The Lab,’ and that’s where we’re making all of our handmade liqueurs and infusions. We really at times are just kind of bringing a different type of feel to cocktails and making them by hand and focusing on details and fresh ingredients.”