When brothers Kevin and Craig Caldwell took over the former Aroma Cafe (and Pita Jungle before that) at 2017 South University Boulevard near the end of 2009, they'd hoped to reopen the spot as the Crimson & Gold Tavern in the spring. But in February, they were denied a liquor license; turns out the address was within 500 feet of the Ricks Center for Gifted Children at the University of Denver.
Finally, after months of discussion with DU and some help from Denver City Council president Chris Nevitt, who represents that district, the Caldwells got their license in August. And now they plan to get Crimson & Gold open this weekend.
Andy Caldwell, Craig's son, is Crimson & Gold's general manager. A University of Denver graduate, he thinks the neighborhood could use a good sports bar/restaurant; his father and uncle, who grew up near the school and went to DU football and hockey games, agree. The Caldwells are also the folks behind Brooklyn's, so this family knows their sports bars -- and they're counting on the DU-themed tavern to draw pre- and post-game crowds, whether the game is hockey, basketball, soccer or lacrosse. "It's a place to grab a burger before the hockey game and a beer or two afterward," Andy says. "That was kind of the feel we were going for."
The walls that used to divide the space have been taken down to make one 3,500-square-foot room. A decent-sized patio, which will eventually be covered and open year-round, was also added in the back. And since Crimson & Gold now has its hard-fought cabaret license, Andy says they might occasionally bring in bands and DJs, too.
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