I grew up in Denver and remember seeing the Billy's Inn sign at the corner of 44th and Lowell forever — but somehow, I'd never made it inside this iconic bar. The building got its start as a service station in the '20s; in 1933, Billy and Judy Smith turned it into Billy's Inn. Though the joint changed hands over the years and the kitchen closed in the '60s, Billy's continued to serve as a neighborhood watering hole for 75 years before it dried up altogether in early 2008. But not for long: The crew who own and run Larimer Square, along with some partners from the neighborhood, purchased Billy's and did an extensive renovation, resurrecting the kitchen and adding a patio, but keeping that iconic sign. The result has been a big hit not just with the neighborhood, but with fans of good design — and good food and drink — from around town. Since the bar lists more than seventy tequilas, I felt compelled to try the blanco flight of Don Julio, El Tesoro and Tazon tequilas ($10, with three other tequila flights available), three mini-shots and a chaser of traditional sangrita served side by side in an attractive carrier. While I sipped, our waiter told us how much he enjoys hearing stories from folks in their seventies, who used to come to Billy's with their parents back in the '40s. With any luck, I'll still be visiting Billy's thirty years from now, sipping tequila and telling a few stories of my own.
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