For close to three decades, Bob and Cathy Lyons ran the no-frills, nautical-themed Brown Barrel at 76 South Broadway. The bar was one of the last old-school joints in the Baker neighborhood, an area that was once full of them, and won Westword's Best Dive award in 2008. But the Brown Barrel has finally rolled on, and the spot is now home to Badger's Pub, which had its soft opening last weekend. Named after the mascot of the University of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin-themed sports bar will cater to fans of the Brewers, Badgers, Bucks and Packers, rather than just fans of cheap beer and drunken bar talk.
Badger's Pub is just one of many spots that are changing the face of Broadway. A block away, the Crimson Canary could take wing as early as October 27 in the former home of Mona's, at 141 South Broadway; it's the next project from the owners of Interstate Kitchen & Bar. The kitchen is taking its inspiration from the great Italian food of the Mafioso era, but partner Joey Newman says they're putting equal emphasis on the bar, with housemade drinks including limoncello and grapefruit cello.
Down the street at 176 South Broadway, Gary Lee Bomar, who's spent a lot of time behind the bars at the Skylark and Horseshoe lounges, plans to have Gary Lee's Motor Club & Grub open by Christmas. Bomar had to jump a few hurdles to get a liquor license that will allow live music, but as a result, his Motor Club will have not just grub, but jazz on the weekends, too.
Mauka Tiki, at 218 South Broadway, is also looking at a December opening. San Francisco-based rum and exotic-cocktail expert Martin Case, a legend in the tiki world, is helping to design the drink menu for what's being billed as the city's only tiki bar.
But not for long, perhaps. Construction has started on the Dive Inn, which is transforming the former BJ's Carousel space at 1380 South Broadway; according to owner Jason Tietjen, a tiki bar will be among the additions. He's also planning to add new bathrooms; space for billiards, foosball, darts and ping-pong; two patios and a sand volleyball court. The renovations will be done in phases, with everything in place by next summer – but the first phase should be complete in December, when the Dive Inn will open.
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The Bar, which had its soft opening in the old home of the Atrium, at 554 South Broadway, last month, will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, October 29, with a costume contest. Owner Phil Villotti says the venue will be bringing in blues and jazz acts on the weekends.
And what's old is also new again on Broadway: Herman's Hideaway, which will celebrate its 29th anniversary at 1578 South Broadway in November, has put in a new dance floor, a new lighting system and soundboard, and redone the men's bathroom.
Club scout: Jerri Thiel, one of the original creators of Rockbar, is back as marketing and events director of the bar at 3015 East Colfax Avenue, which means all the neon band signs are going back up on the walls and Spinal Tap will be playing on the TVs again. She's got some Halloween parties lined up, too, including Rockstar Aaron's Disco Bloodbath on Thursday, October 27, and Super Slutty Halloween on Sunday, October 30, when girls who dress as slutty nuns, witches and Snow Whites get their first drink free. And starting in November, Thiel is bringing back Jinxed!, the Swayback's Wednesday-night local band jam, which won Westword's Best Unorthodox DJ Night/Jam Session in 2008.
The Arvada Beer Company, originally slated to open this past summer at 5600 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, will finally celebrate its grand opening on Friday, October 28. The microbrewery has an eight-and-a-half-barrel brewing system, as well as a tasting room that can seat 120 to 130 people. And while it won't have food service, customers can bring in their own. And there's more Arvada action: Jammin' Joe's, which used to be next to the Ramada in Wheat Ridge, has relocated to the former Mind Bender's spot at 9262 West 58th Avenue in Arvada. The club is booking live bands on the weekends, as well as hosting karaoke on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.