Several metro Denver watering holes have received makeovers from John Taffer, the abrasive host of the Paramount Network's Bar Rescue. Some immediately reverted back to their old ways, some went under and some evolved into successful businesses. Last spring, during the "Bomb Cyclone" winter storm, Bar Rescue visited G.I. Jodi's, which had served Littleton for a dozen years under that name, and turned it into Malloy's Bar & Grille. Owned by Jodi Malloy and her family, the bar has always catered to veterans, in honor of her father, Jerry, who was in the Navy.
On a recent Sunday night, Malloy's son, Travis Lindley, the current general manager at the bar, explained that the family had been looking to change things up and possibly rebrand when the folks from Paramount called about being on Bar Rescue, so it seemed as if fate were intervening. The name change was a welcome one, honoring the family but broadening the appeal of the bar to more than military folks. The show overhauled the patio, adding a custom fire pit and seating along with TVs so customers don't have to miss any game-day action when they're enjoying a little fresh air or a smoke. A garage window was also added to connect the dining area and the patio when the weather is nice. On this chilly evening, a crowd was gathered around the fire pit outside.
The large, open interior was also renovated with fresh paint and what the show considered a "Colorado bar" vibe, with pine paneling, stonework and reclaimed pipes serving as framework for the liquor shelves behind the bar. New digital displays on the tables advertise specialty drinks and menu items, and phone chargers have also been added at each table for customer convenience. Memorabilia and photos now grace a wall by the pool tables to honor the Malloys' military and family history.
Despite the changes, Lindley said many regulars — including a couple that works at the King Soopers next door and loves the hamburgers here, some old-timers sitting along the bar who have been coming in for years, and a few younger bros who give him a head nod before returning to yelling at the Packers game — never went away. It's an eclectic crowd, and the bar draws from all over "the Ranch" and "the Valley," which I learned are different parts of Littleton's Ken Caryl neighborhood. (Malloy's is located in the Ranch, if you want to be specific.) The GM noted that since the makeover, regulars have enjoyed the spiffed-up look and new specialty drinks, rather than being alienated by a new vibe at their old haunt.
Lindley recommended Malloy's burgers, wings, green chile and chile cheese fries. There are also a few new sandwiches and salads, but the bar staples remain the favorites. I opted for a Fire Burger, which was fire indeed, with spicy jalapeños, habanero Jack cheese and sriracha sauce as toppings. The fries were nice and crispy, and the burger was large, tasty and plenty spicy, a good way to keep warm on a winter day.
I enjoyed my Fire Burger during happy hour, which runs from 2 to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Sundays are also Service Industry Night, with buy-one, get-one wines, wells and drafts for hospitality workers from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The family has also kept its deal for Armed Forces veterans, serving them $1.50 domestic beers all day, any day.
Free live music draws a crowd every Friday and Saturday night, with an eclectic mix of local bands hitting the large stage with a surprisingly good lighting and sound setup. On Wednesday nights, the stage is for anyone who want to sing: Uncle Dutchie's karaoke helps celebrate Ladies' Night, when women enjoy dollar wines, wells, and drafts from 9 p.m. to midnight. For those looking for food specials, Street Taco Tuesday is the way to go, with four tacos for $10.95 and $3 Dos Equis bottles, as well as discounted Tecate and Modelo Chelada tall boys. Malloy's supports the Chatfield High School Chargers and is part of a coupon-book deal for the school. Lindley is also hoping to incorporate more fundraisers for local nonprofits at the bar.
This week, Thanksgiving celebrations are in order, with a Turkey Day spread for those who show up on Thursday (though the bar doesn't open until 5 p.m. that day) and, for whatever reason, a Onesie Party tonight (Wednesday, November 27).
Lindley said that he and his family have a lot to be thankful for this year; the makeover has brought in new business, and more changes are in store. The 1,800-square-foot space next door has been vacant for a while, and early in the new year, Malloy's will knock out the wall and renovate the area into a large game room, along with more space for dining. With the addition of pool tables, dart boards, Golden Tee, foosball and even poker tables, Lindley hopes to welcome guests in for tournaments and gaming of all types.
So count this bar rescue as a success: Malloy's has stayed true to its neighborhood roots while changing and growing into an appealing hangout for a wider Littleton audience.
Malloy's Bar & Grille is located at 11550 Meadows Drive in Littleton and is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Visit the bar's website or call 303-972-8658 for more information.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.