The tiny bar at 2052 Stout Street has a history that dates back close to a century. "John Wayne drank here, Teddy Roosevelt drank here -- this place is a part of Colorado history," remarks Isaac James, food and beverage manager at the British Bulldog, the newest incarnation of the Stout Street landmark. Originally the spot was a knockout hangout with many boxers and ringside fans, which explains the Punch Bowl name it went under for decades. Through the '90s, the infamous watering hole was an all-American burgers-and-beers destination and a favorite with lawyers and law-enforcement types; then there was a brief (and wildly unsuccessful) trip south of the border as the Punch Bowl Baja Bistro. New owners reclaimed it as the Stout Pub, but that effort fizzled after a few short years. Finally, late last month, the Bulldog huffed and puffed its way into the spot.
Fortunately, those great wooden booths decorated with landscapes by Noel "Chief Sundown" Adams, a Native American who painted them during the Depression in exchange for pub grub and drink, remain. They've been joined by some standard, chintzy English-decor items: Guinness signs, Union Jacks, tipsy patrons tossing darts with as much coordination as Dick Cheney with a rifle, and draughts that include Stella Artois, Newcastle and Kronenbourg 1664. James insists that Hoegaarden beer is the most popular choice, but Club Scout likes a brew that goes by the name John Courage and has a promo poster complete with a tweed-suited English guy climbing hills in Egypt. Keeping up with the British imperialism theme, the full-kitchen menu boasts a few Pakistani items alongside bangers and mash and deep-fried pickles -- all cooked to order by Dick Lande, who has 28 years of deep-fried experience in this kitchen.
The Internet jukebox rotates tracks like a web-based radio station with an unusual fondness for Southern rock: On opening night a couple of weekends ago, it spit out four Lynyrd Skynyrd hits in a two-hour span for a crowd of casual-Friday types and young professionals too uppity for the dive-happy realm of the Carioca Cafe (Bar Bar) just up the street. Get pissed (like an Englishman) and drunk-dial 303-295-7974 for more info.
And speaking of drunk, early speculation puts the next location for Tiki Boyd's (Club Scout, February 23) at the former home of Lounge, which recently poured its last at 1509 Marion Street. We'll keep the tiki torches burning.