While we're living in these strange times, it's important to support our neighbors. Some of the neighbors who are struggling the most right now are the owners and staff members of your local watering holes. With my newfound extra time, I've been checking in on some of the neighborhood bars I've visited over the years, to see how they're doing. Some are faring better than others, especially the ones that serve food and can keep the spark alive with takeout orders and even takeout booze. At others, you can show your support simply by buying gift cards for the day when they do reopen.
This is the first in a series of of updates on favorite neighborhood drinking establishments, focusing on bars in central Denver (according to what Google Maps considers central Denver, anyway):
What to order: Call in or order ahead through ChowNow for curbside pick-up, or order on DoorDash to get tasties from this Denver staple delivered to your door with no contact with any other humans. Get delicious Denver Biscuit Company biscuits or Fat Sully's extra-large pizza slices from the in-house food operations that call this bar home. I recommend the Franklin biscuit sandwich to drown your sorrows in fried chicken, bacon and gravy. Wash it down with a beer, wine or a breakfast cocktail like a mimosa or Bloody Mary to go.
Other ways to support: Buy gift cards or merch; they never go out of style. DBC even makes a baby onesie that says "Lil Biscuit" on the front. Also, enjoy a Man v. Food episode on the Food Network that aired on Tuesday of this week featuring a pre-taped Denver Biscuit Company biscuit sandwich experience.
Why I'll be back: I've always lived within a short drive of the OG Colfax location and have loved it over the years, and grown to also appreciate the growth into new spots on South Broadway, Tennyson Street and even Colorado Springs. This is one of the only bars around that I enjoy just as much for brunch as for late-night drinks. Also, board games (which I'm sure they've disinfected very well by now) and Geeks Who Drink Trivia nights are always fun at Atomic.
Atomic Cowboy locations are currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Visit the bar's website for phone numbers, what's happening at each location and other details.
Cap City Tavern
What to order: Call ahead for pickup or curbside service and get 10 percent off the price of your order. If you're just in the mood for food, GrubHub can deliver it for you. If you want alcohol and food, Cap City Tavern staff will bring it to you for a $5 delivery fee. There's even a $2 pizza slice option if you feel the need to thinly cover up the fact that you really just wanted some discounted wine, beer, or cocktails delivered (in fact, you're required by law to order food with your booze purchase). I recommend the selection of solid burgers, from basic (Classic) to fancy (Truffled Shroom-N-Swiss) with truffle aioli and crimini mushrooms.
Other ways to support: General manager Tatianna Langjhar has organized a "virtual tip jar" for Cap City staff via GoFundMe; patrons can show some love to their favorite staff here.
Why I'll be back: The ambience is nice, with a covered back patio, beautiful wooden bar and cozy booths. It feels classy yet neighborhoody, which is just the right sort of experience for after-work drinks.
Cap City Tavern is located at 1247 Bannock Street and is currently open from 4 to 7 p.m. daily. Call 720-931-8888 or visit the bar's website for more information.
Don's Club Tavern
Don's Club Tavern, like all establishments owned by local neighborhood bar group Little Pub Company, is closing completely for the duration of the mandated bar and restaurant shutdown.
Ways to support: Support the currently unemployed staff at Don's and other Little Pub locations by donating to the aid fund on GoFundMe. Help keep everyone's spirits up by posting your favorite pics from your times at Don's over the years on the bar's Instagram and Facebook pages.
Why I'll be back: Don's has just the right combination of dive-bar roots and modern appeal. Whether you want to play Skee-Ball, watch sports or just shoot the shit with some old people or pet a friendly bar dog, you can have it all at Don's. Also, once the bar shutdown ends, you might just want to eat a frozen burrito from Don's vending machine, which also dispenses cigarettes and candy bars.
The Irish Snug
What to order: Call in or order ahead online through ChowNow for your favorite Irish pub grub and beverages for curbside pick-up or social-distancing booze takeout. If you don't mind not getting booze to go, you can also stay on your couch and order through Grubhub. The pub is offering daily family-style specials, so if you've got a hungry family, you can get a meal like fried chicken, complete with salad and rolls, for $25 for two people or $45 for four. Aside from those tasty options, best bets here are definitely fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, or Irish potato nachos on a bed of delicious waffle fries. Just because St. Patrick's Day was ruined by coronavirus this year doesn't mean you can't have your own in-house toast to the Irish.
Other ways to support: The Snug is showing love for other local restaurants on its Instagram and Facebook page, so after you enjoy some of your favorites and are looking for your next to-go treat, the Irish Snug team has ideas!
Why I'll be back: There's nothing like sitting in the tiny, hidden "snug" seating area next to the bar, designed for covert drinking back in the early days of Irish bars. There's also a great downstairs space for private parties or just rowdy groups of friends, and the live music Wednesdays and annual Capitol Hill Hooley St. Paddy's Day extravaganza are always worth the time.
The Irish Snug is located at 1201 East Colfax Avenue and is currently open from 3 to 8 p.m. daily. Call 303-839-1394 or visit the pub's website for more information.
What to order: You have to plan ahead, catering-style, but the delicious Polish food and pickle shots might just be worth it. Email email@example.com or text 720-343-6699 at least a day in advance to make your booze and pierogi dreams come true. There are pierogi options with all kinds of fillings, plus Polish traditions like golabki (cabbage rolls) or flavorful kielbasa, or more basic American fare like burgers and sandwiches. Wash it down with a Polish beer or even a Bloody Mary with a kielbasa garnish.
Why I'll be back: This bar has all my favorite things: ghosts, karaoke and Polish food! The crowd is random, the bathroom is haunted, and there's a painting of Warsaw on the wall. The Colfax-adjacent patio offers prime people-watching for when we all get to enjoy summer patio season again.
Kinga's Lounge is located at 1509 Marion Street and is currently doing only order-ahead meals. Message 720-343-6699 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or visit the bar's website.
Lil' Devils Lounge
Lil' Devils is currently closed throughout the state-mandated closure period and is working on ways to keep afloat and find funding for staff and the business.
How to support: Contribute to the bar's GoFundMe campaign to support staff and the bar itself. Follow the Lil' Devils Facebook page for updates and petitions to support the bar and the industry in general during this crisis. Also, as a bonus, check out a picture of one of the incredibly creepy Halloween decorations holding a sign that says "THIS SUKS."
Why I'll be back: The team at this plucky little neighborhood gay bar really know hows to decorate for the holidays; any holiday is an extravaganza here. The tiki-themed patio, the welcoming crew of older gay men, and the live music and specialty cocktails make this place a breath of fresh air on the otherwise hipster-heavy South Broadway circuit.
What to order: Enjoy half off the bar's major-league collection of single-malt whiskey to go, or a $7 growler ($5 if you have your own container) of house beer or cider with your to-go or curbside order. Just call ahead for some traditional English fare like a ploughman's platter, fish and chips, bangers and mash, or even London broil to go with it. For something less British, there are also more American-style sandwiches and burger options.
Why I'll be back: The extreme commitment to everything British that abounds here is always fun, from the authentic red phone booth out front to the antique bar billiards game inside. The jury room upstairs is great for private parties, or actual jurors (since the pub is so close to the courthouse), and the food and single-malt whiskey go down better in the company of friends.
Pints Pub is located at 221 West 13th Avenue and is currently open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 303-534-7543 or visit the Pints Pub website for more information.
What to order: Wings! I've eaten a lot of wings, and Roo Bar's "crack wings" are among the best. The kitchen also fries up a mean cheese curd. Rotating food specials are on offer for pick-up and delivery. Call in or use the Slice app to order ahead, and bring a growler "or anything resembling one" to fill up with draft beer, or grab some wine or liquor to go. Also try the half-baked pizzas that you can finish off in your oven at home. In-house specials like 75-cent Wing Wednesdays and happy-hour prices are still on for takeout. And don't worry about it being late: Pick-up is available until 2 a.m., with delivery until midnight.
Why I'll be back: Pitchers of beer, buckets of wings, DJs and trivia are all better enjoyed in the spacious bar booths, or on the patio with a nice view of the mountains.
Roo Bar is located at 3480 Park Avenue West and is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call 303-455-8700 or visit the bar's website for more information.
SoBo 151 Czech Bar & Grill
What to order: See SoBo's Facebook page for a daily update on menu offerings, 10 percent off usual prices for everyone, and half-price food for unemployed service-industry workers. Curbside pick-up and delivery are available for tasty Czech specialties like schnitzel, strudel, kielbasa and bratwurst. I enjoy the Reuben sandwich and the Czech fried mushrooms, which are basically just fried mushrooms with a pickle-ranch sort of sauce. Snag some liquor, wine or Czechvar beer to go as well.
Other ways to support: Gift cards are always a great way to show love.
Why I'll be back: It's not nearly as fun singing karaoke alone in your house. Weekend karaoke is great here, plus pool, televised soccer and a crowd of friendly misfits hanging out every night means I always feel at home. It's another place that makes me happy on South Broadway.
SoBo 151 Czech Bar & Grill is located at 151 South Broadway and is currently open from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Call or visit SoBo 151's website or Facebook page for more information.
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Streets Denver (formerly known as Streets of London) will be closed during the mandatory shutdown.
How to support: Keep the rock alive by enjoying memories of past live shows at Streets while supporting local musicians by buying merch and music online to enjoy while social distancing. A little punk rock sounds pretty good right now. There's also a GoFundMe campaign to support bar employees.
Why I'll be back: Cheap drinks, loud music and a never-dull crowd will hopefully be the norm again at this Colfax spot that I will always love, no matter how much I think I might be getting too old to party there.
Streets Denver is located at 1501 East Colfax Avenue and is currently closed. Check out the Streets website or Facebook page for more information.
Keep up the good work, Denver! We've got this!
Note: Rules regarding to-go beer and liquor sales continue to shift, as do hours at the bars that are trying to stay open. Even though we continue to check in for updates, you should always reach out to the bar before heading out.