”What the hell is McGregor Square?” a commenter wondered after we posted our story about Carmine’s, an old-school Denver Italian restaurant that recently opened its second location in that 665,000-square-foot development project by Coors Field. And it’s a fair question.
Formerly referred to as the West Lot project, the development did indeed rise in a parking lot at 1901 Wazee Street. The name McGregor Square was announced by Rockies owner/chairman and CEO Dick Monfort on April 4, 2019; it was chosen to honor Keli S. McGregor, the young Rockies president who passed away unexpectedly in 2011.Much of the construction took place during COVID shutdowns and last year’s baseball season, when fans were not allowed to attend games, which helps explain why it feels like McGregor Square popped up out of nowhere.
We got our first glimpse of the complex at a preview of the Rally Hotel in McGregor Square on March 18. While the lobby and select guest rooms were ready for eager photographers getting a sneak peek, many of the hotel’s amenities, including the rooftop pool deck, an interactive Rockies Hall of Fame museum and the hotel restaurant and bar, were still works in progress.
Although a stadium-sized screen already hung over the village-square-like center of the block, it loomed over an empty 28,000-square-foot plaza, making it tough to envision the vibrant atmosphere that Monfort and his team described as the end goal once opening day finally arrived.
The progress came in stages: First, the Rally opened to the public on March 25, followed soon after by retro-inspired eatery the Original and the Rally Bar, both in the hotel’s lobby. With hotel occupancy down and Rockies games still at limited capacity, both food and drink establishments were less than buzzing on an April 8 visit.
But then other McGregor Square businesses began to open. By the time we stopped by the new Carmine’s for dinner on June 15 (which also happened to be a night home game for the Rockies), McGregor Square was filled with people enjoying the sunshine below the big screen, grabbing beers at Tom’s Watch Bar and making their way toward the stadium.
On June 28, Coors Field reopened to 100 percent capacity ahead of the All-Star Game, and on July 1, even more food and drink options arrived with the opening of a food hall, Milepost Zero.
Although the development flew under the pandemic-tinged radar in 2020, it’s now making a big impact. With retail stores like a new downtown location of the beloved Tattered Cover opening and plans for events in the plaza including ice skating in the winter, you’ll be hearing the words “McGregor Square” a lot more in the days to come. And they won’t be from people wondering what it is.
Here’s a breakdown of all the food and drink options at McGregor Square:
Carmine’s at McGregor Square
Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. daily
The original Carmine’s on Penn has been a go-to for classic Italian since 1994. After years of people asking “When are you going to open in my neighborhood?,” current owner Brad Ritter finally decided to expand when presented with the chance to join McGregor Square. “How could you say no to this opportunity?” he asks.
Carmine’s serves its food family-style, and, along with favorites like carbonara and veal parm, also has an impressive collection of Italian wines. Lunch hours will be added soon.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Taking inspiration from retro Americana, this elevated diner-style eatery inside the Rally Hotel offers everything from burgers and fries to a full prime rib dinner. The menu is full of playful touches like crab-and-trout dip served with a bag of Bugles, and an all-day breakfast lineup that includes pancakes, a breakfast sandwich and steak and eggs.
The Rally Bar
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday, 3 to 10 p.m. (the bar opens at noon on Rockies home Sunday games)
Also located inside the Rally Hotel, this bar offers a great view of the crowds streaming into Coors Field as you sip cocktails like the bright-purple-hued Rally Up, made with local vodka from the Family Jones, St. Germain, butterfly pea tea, lemon and grapefruit. The Rally also has a small food menu with elevated game day-ready snacks like pretzel-crusted Scotch eggs.
Tom’s Watch Bar
Hours: Monday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday and Friday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This sports bar from Tom Ryan (Smashburger) boasts 115 television screens; a booze selection that includes beer, wine and cocktails; a food menu filled with nachos, tacos, wings and other crowd-pleasing options; and three TopGolf Swing Suites. It’s also home to the first AC Golden Tank Room, where you can get pours of beer directly from copper brewery tanks.
The food hall at McGregor Square is home to ten concepts, including two Chicago-born brands: Buona, known for its Italian beef sandwiches, and deep-dish pizza favorite Giordano’s. Local restaurateur Troy Guard’s Little Chingones is a fast-casual version of his Mexican concept Los Chingones, and Atomic Chicken and Field Greens are concepts from Charlie Troup and Chase Devitt, who are also behind Boychik at Avanti in Boulder.
The hall debuted on July 1 and will soon be adding a new sushi concept from Guard, Tiny Giant; Tora Noodle House, Wazee Coffee and Pulpo Creamery from Mark Shaker and chef Jesusio Silva; and a central bar operated by Sage Hospitality Group.
McGregor Square is located at 1901 Wazee Street; find out more at mcgregorsquare.com.
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