Small Biz Startup: First Round Bar & Lounge

Owners Frank and Audrey "Jeany" Danielsen at the bar of the newly opened First Round Bar on Factory Street in Watertown. Photo by Amanda Morrison.

THE INITIAL IDEA

A neighborhood bar that is a friendly watering hole with good pub fare for the after-work crowd.

It was that simple for Watertown couple Frank G. and Audrey J. “Jeany” Danielsen, who bought the former Kicker’s Lounge at 498 Factory St. and renamed it First Round Bar & Lounge with the goal of bringing a vibrant bar back to life.

TARGET CLIENTELE

Working professionals who are looking for a place to unwind after work for happy hour and sports-minded people looking for a fun, relaxing environment to enjoy the game.

THE JOURNEY

The property’s history as Coach’s sports bar and Pete’s Restaurant made the pair of entrepreneurs latch onto the project right away when they learned that the building was put up for sale in the spring.

“There are people who’ve told us they remember when it was Pete’s, and we love that stuff,” Mr. Danielsen said of the 2,300-square-foot restaurant that seats up to 86 people. “We even found an old picture of Pete’s from 1937 upstairs.”

Eager to start the project without delays, the couple closed on the sale in July and quickly began gutting the bar for a remodel.

Though they’ve kept some of its old singular qualities such as the original wooden bar, they also spruced up the interior with a contemporary look and invested in a new roof, floors, paint and lighting.

Photo by Amanda Morrison.

A mirrored wall is the backdrop behind the bar, and the dining area boasts nearly a dozen high-top tables. A nook that formerly housed a wood-burning stove has a electric fireplace complemented by a flat-screen television above.

Sports fans have plenty of eye candy offered by six television screens that showcase DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket. The bar also features a modern jukebox, an ATM and Quick Draw Lottery along with a dartboard in the lounge area. Food choices include chicken wings, nachos, calzones,  pizza and stromboli.

Mrs. Danielsen, a sales professional with Rose & Kiernan Insurance Agency, Watertown, worked as a bartender for about eight years at Coach’s. She said they plan to bring back live entertainment to lure crowds during the weekend. Watertown native Marc Chauvette performed classic rock during a successful grand-opening weekend Nov. 2 and 3.

Mr. Danielsen, who managed several P&C Foods grocery stores during his career, including the one at Seaway Shopping Center that closed in 2010, said he and his wife were looking for a new business venture when the bar came up.

“We want this to be a nice, friendly atmosphere for people to come to after they get out of work,” Mr. Danielsen said. “We expect to keep some local customers and draw new people in.”

The couple chose the name First Round by design.

“We want to be the first stop for a round of drinks,” Mrs. Danielsen said.

IN FIVE YEARS

“We didn’t take this on to flip it,” Mr. Danielsen said. “We want to serve the community and be successful for us and for Watertown.”

Eventually they’d like to open the second floor as a potential banquet room with a small bar that also could play host to local musicians.

“This place was where everyone came when it was Coach’s, and that’s what we want to bring back,” Mrs. Danielsen said. “There are a lot of people in the community who remember those times. Watertown has a lot of bars, but we’re going to offer something different.”

OPEN

3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

— Ted Booker and Ken Eysaman

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