There was action inside My Brother's Bar on Sunday, March 26. Under the watch of Jim and Angelo Karagas, My Brother's Bar had never been open on Sunday; did this signify big changes ahead under the new owners?
No way. The event was a gathering to honor Jim Karagas, who bought the bar at 2376 Fifteenth Street, even then the oldest continually operating saloon in Denver, with his late brother, Angelo, back in 1970, and had run it ever since. In the last few years, though, Jim had limited his work to greeting customers at the door at lunch; in January, he could finally retire after My Brother's was sold.
The deal kept the bar in the family, though...or close enough. Paula Newman had gotten her start as a waitress at My Brother's more than thirty years ago, and for the last few years had been acting as general manager. She'd met her husband, David, when they were students at Lincoln High School; an optometrist, he was a fan of the place, too. And their son Danny had spent plenty of quality time there starting when he was a toddler; today an entrepreneur, he'd conveniently sold a business last summer just as developers were becoming serious about trying to buy My Brother's and its prime piece of property at 15th and Platte streets.
Fortunately, the Newman family was able to make a deal with the Karagas family. In announcing the sale, Danny promised: "Our family is going to keep this piece of Denver history alive, both as a building as well as a place for people of all ages to come and continue to enjoy good food and drink, where friends and families can get together, relax and have fun."
And family and friends definitely got together on this rare Sunday at My Brother's Bar, where everyone from Governor John Hickenlooper to waitresses who hung up their clogs long ago toasted Jim Karagas.
For 47 years, he ran My Brother's Bar, a constant in an area that turned from a dusty warehouse wasteland into what's now one of the hottest parts of town.
But don't expect to see those doors open again on a Sunday any time soon, says Danny Newman.
And don't expect to see a sign suddenly appear over the door, either. When a place is as iconic as My Brother's Bar, everyone really does know its name...or learns it soon enough.