Meet Uncle Chris, An Essential Member of The SoCo Family
One member of the SoCo Nightlife District family that has been around since the very beginning is someone worth highlighting. Owner Regas’ older brother Christakes (we call him Uncle Chris), adds wisdom, personality, and excitement to the team and all operation within SoCo Nightlife District.
Uncle Chris and his family are from Cyprus, which is southeast from Greece. He was born on November 30th, which is St. Andrew’s Day. According to Chris, if born on a religious holiday, it is bad luck to be given a name other than the name of the Saint being celebrated. Chris’s mother failed to name Chris, Andrew, and named him after his father Christakes instead. This allegedly resulted in bad luck during his mother’s next pregnancy. While his mother was pregnant with Chris’s younger brother, the baby refused to make his debut into the world. After she passed her due date, each day that went by with no signs of baby made her worry a little bit more. Eventually, Chris’s mother remembered that she failed to name her last baby after St. Andrew which could be the cause of her bad luck. She immediately declared her unborn baby’s name as Andrew, and she gave birth that very same day.
Chris lost his father when he was only 11 years old. His dad was his boss growing up, and taught him many useful skills. His father was a furniture maker and would make everything by hand. During the summer when Chris was out of school, his father would take him to work so he could learn. He learned how to make furniture with his father which later helped him excel at repairing books. His father had strict rules about what machines Chris was to never touch under any circumstances. Although Chris tried to abide by these rules, he found himself in trouble on multiple occasions. He accidentally put his pointer finger in one of the machines which cut straight through his nail creating a deep indent from top to bottom. His fingernail then grew with that deep divot in the middle, and it continued to grow like that for the rest of his life.
Chris and his friends often played a game called “cowboys and indians”. During one game, Chris was assigned as a cowboy, and had to create his fake gun. He grabbed some wood and went to cut the shape of a gun with one of the tools his father forbid him from using. He figured he had watched his father use the machine many times, so he would be able to properly work the machine too. Chris went to put the wood through the machine. His hand was placed improperly, so when he slid the wood under the sharp saw, his thumb followed. Chris had cut his thumb straight off. His father took him to the doctor where they eventually were able to reattach his thumb to his hand. Although his thumb was saved, he was never able to properly bend it again.
Chris’s younger brother Regas lived in Denver while pursuing his degree at The University of Denver. Chris was located in New York at the time. One day Regas called Chris and told him to come to Denver immediately because he had plans to purchase a nightclub. Chris initially questioned this business decision, asking his brother “What are you possibly going to do with a nightclub?” Regas planned on renting a space that had been closed for 5 years, and turn it into a bar/nightclub. Both brothers kept these plans a secret from their mother because she expected Regas to focus on his degree.
Chris adores his mother and loves her more than anything. His mother moved to the United States a year after her children. Chris originally came to the United States as a tourist, but then decided to stay. His uncle prepared the papers for his mother to move, and she was able to come to the United States in one week. Because his uncle already had a visa, they sped up the process for Chris’s mother.
Chris quit his job in New York to move to Denver and help his brother transform wasted space into popular night clubs. During his time in New York, Chris worked at a factory fixing old paperback books. He was extremely successful with this job, and possessed a specific talent needed to excel at this trade. His photographic memory played a role in his success with this job and helped him assemble books quickly. He recalls that this job required extensive amounts of hard work, especially when it came to repairs. Because of his success, Chris was offered a job in Washington D.C. where he would be responsible for repairing historic books for the library of congress. This is now a dying trade.
The Church became available and Regas purchased that building with plans to convert it into another nightclub. The city was giving Regas a hard time about owning multiple bars/night clubs in Denver. When Regas decided to renew his lease, the city wanted an exorbitant amount of money to do so. They didn’t want there to be a monopoly on Denver nightlife. In order to move forward with his plans, Regas put the second bar in Chris’s name. Chris remembers Vinyl when it used to be a seedy, grimy hotel. That building was also bought and renovated into another Denver club. They started to develop a reputation in Denver for turning wasted property into social spaces. The city, residents and neighbors were supportive of these transformations, and were happy to see a resurrection of Denver’s nightlife.
Chris has always been very good at reading people. If he saw someone at one of the venues that didn’t seem quite right, he would give the security a heads up and ask them to keep an eye out. Sure enough, later in the night security would be escorting that individual off property. Chris never failed. The Church had no parking, which became an issue for staff and guests. Chris noticed a parking lot next door that was part of a small office building. He spoke with the landlord about parking and although he was skeptical of doing business with her, they made a deal. Chris paid the woman each weekend for parking for him and his staff. He had paid three weekends in a row, but on the fourth weekend he forgot. The landlord had all of the cars towed that fourth weekend. Eventually Regas decided it may be worth it to purchase the office building with the parking lot. After talking to the owner of the building, Chris and Regas found out that the landlord was pocketing the money he gave her for parking, and the owner had no idea. The owner then sold the building to Regas because he had displayed honest behavior whereas the landlord was selfish. Chris recalls this story and uses it as an example to express the importance of treating others well. It always pays to be a good person to others.
Chris and Regas have a special relationship. According to Chris, they have never argued. Throughout their whole lives together, they have always got along great, and they continued avoiding fights into adults. They make a great team. Chris says that if he gave Regas permission, he would attempt to purchase all of Broadway up to I-25. Chris always reminded Regas that is was important to diversify each nightclub they owned. By making each space unique from the others, they will have a wide variety of guests to satisfy. After a few years, most nightclubs end up violating some ordinance and end up getting shut down. After all these years, SoCo continues to maintain a positive relationship with the city of Denver. Following the rules and properly running their business is of the utmost importance to the company.
Chris endured a traumatic injury after falling down the steps at The Church during SoCo’s holiday party a few years back. After surgery, doctors told him he needed to make specific changes for his health and safety. Chris used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, but successfully cut back on smoking. After 7 months at Craig Hospital while his brain recovered, Chris went to Greece. He went there to relax and heal. This traumatic accident was trying but Chris’s recovery was a major success. Chris brought his sons to Greece to show them a different way of life and how he used to live. He showed them the difference in culture between Greece and America, and wanted them to understand how privileged they are. Chris’s sons always try to get him to update his phone to something with more advanced technology. He refuses, and claims that he still loves his Samsung flip phone and sees no reason to get a new one.
The one thing Uncle Chris constantly reiterates is to “never get old.” He believes it is immensely important to remain youthful in your outlook on life in order to live a happy, fulfilling life.
- Alyssa Mazza
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