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Arts and Entertainment

The Subterrain offers new immersive art, music, event space

Venue recently opened on Ninth Street
Tim Hassemer and Megan Riddle, co-owners of The Subterrain, give a tour of the creatively painted and decorated event space Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

If there’s one thing the owners of The Subterrain don’t want visitors to be, it’s bored.

The art installation/event space/bar/hangout behind Durango Winery recently opened, and, according to its owners, it will be ever-changing.

The Subterrain has been painted and decorated by co-owners Tim Hassemer, Megan Riddle and Matt Haynes, since May in the basement at 900 Main Ave., Suite F, entrance on Ninth Street. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“We just want a very unique, interesting, weird place where people will come and hang out,” said Tim Hassemer, who along with Megan Riddle and Matt Haynes, own The Subterrain. “But we always want there to be something going on, not just a strange place where people are drinking, but something where you can actually get lost in it looking at all the weird stuff that’s going on. I keep telling people who are in here right now this is like a base coat – it is always gonna be changing it’s always going to be evolving.”

The three have been working on Subterrain since May.

“We opened Durango Winery, a year ago, and we knew this back space was available,” said Hassemer, who owns Durango Winery with his wife, Micki. “We’d been back here several times and said, ‘Wow, this place is weird,’ and I don’t know who it was who came up with the actual idea, but like it would be really cool to get that whole back space and just make it like a very large art installation.”

The Subterrain spans the length of the building with its entrance up the sidewalk on Ninth (enter where the stairs are) and the back of the club abuts the back of the winery. The entire space is the definition of live art: There are paintings on display and the walls, rooms, ceilings and restrooms are covered in murals, some punctuated with black-light paint. Every time a visitor’s eyes focus on one thing, they quickly find something else to see.

Artwork and murals line the walls of The Subterrain on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

For now, the space is not open on a regular basis, rather, it’s open for events and also as a rental for private parties. But the owners have plans to grow the venue.

“We’re going to have live music, comedy shows and maybe some interactive sort of things,” Hassemer said. “We’ve had an art show here, we’re going to have live performances. We’re trying to get it into kind of like an interactive phase where we have people doing things, not just sitting around drinking. There’s always going to be something going on, whether it’s performances or interesting, weird concepts that we come up with.”

Riddle said a big goal for Subterrain is to keep it fun. In fact, when you’re out and about in town, keep your eyes peeled for special golden tickets she’s hidden that will get you free entry for two into any Subterrain event.

When you’re out and about in town, keep your eyes peeled for a special golden ticket that will get you free entry for two into any Subterrain event. There have been 15 tickets placed around Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“We’ve made golden tickets and they’re numbered – I think there’s like 15 out right now,” she said.

To find out what events The Subterrain has planned, Hassemer and Riddle said the trick is follow the venue on social media and, especially, its website, where not only is an events calendar available, but artists and others with cool ideas for the space can reach out to the owners.

If you go

WHAT: Ladies Night. Offering a variety of vendors, custom bodywork, and locally produced wine and cider.

WHEN: 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: The Subterrain, 900 Main Ave., Suite F, entrance on Ninth Street.

MORE INFORMATION: For details about Ladies Night and to keep up with upcoming events, visit www.thesubterraindurango.com.

And while The Subterrain is obviously a labor of love for its owners – they try to decorate and create using as much upcycled and sustainably made materials as they can, they’re also all about creating a cool, fun – and endlessly interesting – space for people to hang out, Hassemer and Riddle said.

The Subterrain’s walls are decorated with artwork and murals. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“As it says on the business card, (we want) shenanigans,” Riddle said. “I’ve traveled a fair amount and have a pretty colorful experience and history in entertainment. And Tim’s played music. Between the two of us, we’ve got a pretty good handle on being entertaining and creating different stuff … This the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”

“There are just infinite ideas floating around of what we can do with all these weird little spaces,” Hassemer said.


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