The Rocky Flats Lounge has been a landmark on Highway 93 for more than sixty years. Before the building became a bar, it was the original payroll office for the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, and when it was moved from that top-secret facility across the road to a spot on the Hogan Ranch, workers from the plant were its most faithful customers.
Rocky Flats was still in the business of manufacturing plutonium triggers when Wyman Stacey took a job managing the bar in 1983.
The original owner’s sister, who was from Wisconsin, had already instituted a Friday-night fish fry; in 1985, new owner Stacey started showing Green Bay Packers games there. And that’s when the North Carolina native became a Packers fan.
He became an even more devout fan after the FBI raided the plant in June 1989, which led to the closing of Rocky Flats later that year. Although people working on the cleanup of the facility — a $7 billion project that finished more than ten years ago — provided some business, Stacey knew he could always count on bikers in the spring and summer, and Packers fans during football season.
Rocky Flats Lounge, before the fire.
But that ended in July 2015, when a fire broke out in the kitchen and destroyed much of the bar, including any lingering reminders of that old payroll office. The structure was “completely gutted,” Stacey says.
For the next year, Stacey was caught in a maze of insurance issues and paperwork as he tried to get plans for the bar's replacement approved by the county. "We're in the process of trying to get it built back," he says.
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But in the meantime, he could use some help. And so on Sunday, November 6, there will be a fundraiser at Wrigley's Chicago Bar & Grill, 18200 West Colfax in Golden, which should have recovered from the Cubs' World Series win by then. All proceeds will go to memorabilia replacement — the bar's iconic sign was stolen last May, and it was a "good-sized sign," Wyman says — and general construction funds.
The fun will start at noon; Sawmill Joe will perform, and there will be giveaways and raffle prizes. Then at 2:25 p.m., the bar will turn on the Packer-Colts game. "Go Pack Go," the invite urges. "At a Chicago bar. Yes, really, this is going to be fun."
The former nuclear weapons plant is slated to reopen as a wildlife refuge as early as December 2017. Let's hope the Rocky Flats Lounge is back in business long before that. After all, it was a perfect place to get bombed.