The Red Lion: Old bar to reopen under new name

Stop crying over Station 211 — there’s a new bar in town.

The bar formerly known as Station has been undergoing renovations since June. By Saturday, students will finally get to experience the new environment for themselves when The Red Lion opens; but it might not be what they were expecting.

It all started when Scott Cochrane, owner of that property and other establishments — The Clyborne, Firehaus Restaurant and Bar and C.O. Daniel’s, to name a few — said the bar needed a new, distinguished identity.

“It (Station) really needed my touch to it; it needed to be branded with the Cochrane brand,” he said. “It really didn’t have a theme to it or its own identity.”

Cochrane said he invested time and money on even the smallest of details to ensure that students feel transported into an “old world” era complete with shields, tapestries and brick walls.

“We disassembled a 150-year-old barn and brought in the wood to put on the walls. There’s a set of castle doors mounted to the wall by stone to make it look authentic. The back room — it’s called the Dragon’s Room — has a scene from ‘The Hobbit’ painted on the wall. We tried to get that medieval-era feel throughout the bar,” Cochrane said.

Even the naming of The Red Lion has a story. Cochrane frequented his friend’s uncles’ bar called The Red Lion Inn as a boy where he would get to see bands setting up for shows.

“We’re going to do a lot of different things including having live music a couple times a week. I mixed a little bit of the old Red Lion with a lot of new,” he said.

Along with having live music and a prevalent “old world” theme, Cochrane also wants The Red Lion to cater toward avid sports fans.

Students should expect flat screen televisions around the bar as well as a projection screen playing big sporting events on game days.

Due to an uncertainty of when the new bar would open, Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members tentatively moved their football block to The FuBar Lounge, but members are excited that they’ll be able to follow through at The Red Lion on Saturday anyway.

“We’re all definitely excited to block at Red Lion,” said Michael Mueller, Pi Kappa Alpha social chair and junior in Engineering. “FuBar was actually a lot of fun and a nice accommodation but we’re excited to get to see the inside of Red Lion.”

The bar’s grand opening event, called “Oktoberfest,” will also kick off Saturday with the Illinois home football game against Ohio State University. Trippin’ Billies, a Dave Matthews tribute band, will be playing at 4 p.m. and DJs are scheduled to provide music and entertainment throughout the day and night. The bar itself may open before then pending inspection.

Jessica Hooczko, sophomore in Business, said she has been anticipating the opening for some time now.

“I had some friends that worked at Station and they told me about the reopening,” she said. “I’m so excited to see the difference and hear the live music.”

Cochrane already has a few other projects planned in or around Campustown once The Red Lion is completed.

“I’m about to redo Geo’s (Chill & Grill) in Urbana and that will be called Mugshots,” he said. “The new name of FuBar will be divulged very soon but it will be a world pub, I’m trying to work on an international theme with it. I’ll tell you one thing, it will have a beer garden the likes that this town has never seen.”