I live just south of Stapleton, Denver's premier planned community, designed perfectly for those having babies. Similar to areas like Jefferson Park and Sunnyside, it's a place where people I know who are committed to starting families, but are also simultaneously committed to short commutes and a somewhat urban feel, look to purchase homes. Perhaps because the neighborhood is focused on young families, it's easier to find brunch, a plethora of box stores, a dog park, or a farmers' market than a bar in the vicinity. A friend who used to live nearby also recalls residents petitioning against the opening of a new liquor store in the area. But Casey's Bistro and Pub is one of the few proud bars that opened when Stapleton became a thing eleven years ago. Located in the pedestrian-oriented cluster of shops and restaurants known as East 29th Avenue Town Center, across from a Starbucks and an Edible Arrangements store, the lone pub welcomes the neighborhood crowd.
Never having been to Casey's, I decided to stop in on a Sunday night to grab a beer with a friend who had never been there before, either, recently having moved to a house in Park Hill five minutes away. I considered it a public service to help her explore her new 'hood. Casey's has the overall look of your usual Irish bar, but you can tell that it's on the newer and slightly fancier side. The dark-wood bar area and fireplaces were created by a local carpenter for the opening of the location. The space Casey's occupies was built from scratch during the redevelopment of the old Stapleton airport, so the building has never housed any other business. One of the walls features a mural that is a stylized reproduction of a famous rugby painting (possibly the only famous rugby painting) called "The Roses Match," by Willam Barnes Wollen. The mural fits well with the fact that the pub gets busy during rugby and soccer world-cup seasons.
The taps lining the bar host everything from seasonal beers from Station 26 Brewing Company, just a few blocks across Quebec Street in Park Hill, to the staple Irish ciders and Guinness to Bud Light. My friend and I choose some local pints to drink as we catch up. Sunday night football has just begun, and Carrie Underwood is singing up a storm on the big-screen TVs throughout the place.
The bartenders and waitstaff range from buttoned-up looking man-bun wearers to guys decked out in football jerseys and scruffy beards. We missed the Broncos game Jell-O shots, which are apparently a part of the deal at almost every bar I visit, because the Broncos played earlier that day. Service is quick and businesslike, but not unfriendly. Behind us, a group of early-twenties suburban bro dudes are eating and drinking. Alongside us at the bar, the crowd skews a bit older, with a line of graying dad types quietly watching the game alone together. The booths against the windows are dotted with families with small children."There are always six-year-olds running around in here," manager Ingrid De Giodo tells me when I ask about the usual crowd at Casey's. Similar to other family-friendly neighborhood bars I've profiled, Casey's is the sort of place where things stay calm. There are no bouncers, and no need to cut people off or kick them out. Everyone has to get up in the morning to go to the farmers' market or get to yoga class.
Casey's is not owned by anyone by that name; it's named for Irish writer Sean O'Casey. The bar is actually owned by Colorado Pub Company (not to be confused with Little Pub Company), a local restaurant-and-bar group that owns three other Irish pubs and a diner in the Denver metro suburbs. Judging by Casey's, they seem to do a pretty good job of keeping things more local and less corporate, despite being a chain in a box-store-filled part of town. According to De Giodo, all of the Colorado Pub Company bars focus on having a good variety of beers, a menu of Irish and American food and a slightly upscale pub ambience. They also all do a big shindig for the St. Baldrick's Foundation to raise money to fund research into childhood cancer, where folks raising money shave their heads the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day. And then, of course, there is St. Patrick's Day itself, a more family-oriented version than you'll find at most Irish bars, featuring Irish dancers and bagpipers.
Other weekly events of note at Casey's are Saturday night karaoke and half -bottles of wine on Thursdays. There's even a special for the younger patrons. Kids eat for $2 with the purchase of an adult meal on Saturdays and Sundays. That's probably why the booths were full of families eating dinner on a Sunday night. And your kids will definitely eat the food here, because if you tell them fish and chips is basically fish sticks and french fries, you won't be lying.
So if you find yourself in Stapleton after the farmers' market and in need of a beer, want to watch some European sports in the neighborhood or want to get a $2 meal for your children, Casey's is the (only) place for you.