Historic bar Triangle Club undergoes renovations

Historic bar Triangle Club undergoes renovations

<span id="_mce_caret">Owner tries to balance charm and modernity while making changes</span>

Don’t worry, the triangle in the carpeting isn’t going anywhere.

Leeann Thomas, the owner of the Triangle Club in downtown Juneau, has had to reassure her regulars that the bar — which is undergoing renovations during the next two weeks — will maintain the charm that has endeared it to generations of thirsty Juneauites.

“It’s the struggle of keeping the old and the new working together,” Thomas said. “It’s OK. It’s a good struggle to have.”

Thomas spoke Thursday as sleeker and more modern light fixtures were being installed over the bar. Other changes, she said, include replacing the carpeting and replacing the yellowing charts on the walls with nautical charts printed on silver panels. She will also post a series of historical pictures, also printed on silver.

Formica laminate will now line the underside of the bar, which is currently lined with carpet. The carpet has picked up decades of smells and the Formica will prove easier to clean, Thomas said.

The feel of the place will remain the same, Thomas ensured. The model boats, built by customers over the years, will stay in their spots on the wall near one of the televisions. The Alaska Native artwork on the other side of the television will stay there.

She’s had multiple people implore her not to remove the triangle that’s designed into the carpeting in the middle of the floor, and she has repeatedly promised that the new carpeting will also have the triangle in the same spot.

“I have talked to the carpet people,” Thomas said. “They will do the triangle back.”

The Triangle opened a little bit later in the day Wednesday and Thursday. At the end of the Seahawks’ game this Sunday, the bar will close for the night and at least Monday and Tuesday. The hope is to reopen at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The renovation is going to cost around $30,000, she said.

Since Thomas’ grandfather bought the space in the mid-1940s, there have been major renovations every 20 or 30 years. When it opened in 1947, it had a barbershop where the men’s bathroom currently is.

In 1966, Thomas explained, the bar underwent a fairly major renovation and didn’t include a barbershop anymore. The overall layout of the bar is still similar to how it looked after that remodel, she said.

By 1990, Thomas’ father was the owner after his father had died. That year, at the same time that Franklin Street was being redone, the Triangle underwent another major remodel. She said this was the most major remodel, as the space was stripped down and totally redone. The layout remained similar, but the walls and bar itself were all changed dramatically.

Coincidentally, Thomas pointed out, Franklin Street is again being redone as the Triangle goes through some changes. These renovations look very minor in comparison to the drastic actions of 1990, Thomas said.

She took over in 2000, and has made small changes along the way, such as bringing an ATM into the bar, installing air-to-air heat pumps and redoing the bar top.

Thomas said she’s been wanting to make some of these new changes for a while, but with the state’s economy struggling and people being a little more frugal, she’s been a bit hesitant to spend a ton of money on a remodel. Despite the state’s economic struggles in recent years, Alaskans haven’t stopped drinking, but she still wanted to be safe.

She’s optimistic about the future and is aiming to have the Triangle looking good for when the economy bounces back.

“Hopefully our state will come back soon and we’ll be ready,” Thomas said.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

Historic bar Triangle Club undergoes renovations
Historic bar Triangle Club undergoes renovations
Historic bar Triangle Club undergoes renovations

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