A friend and I were looking for a place to for some happy-hour snacks and drinks that wasn't right in our own neighborhood when we came upon the website for Jay's Grille and Bar. The prospect of a "great view" — despite the location in an industrial part of town — and eighty-cent wings sealed the deal.
My friend is new to Denver and enjoyed the tour of the industrial parks and wastewater management plants we drove past to get to Welby, the neighborhood that Jay's calls home. I used to cat-sit for another friend who lived in Welby, but I didn't know about Jay's at the time; those cat-watching forays would have been better with some quick trips down the road for beers and wings.
Jay's is located at 7820 North Washington Street, above a liquor store and candy store on the second floor of a strip mall-type building. The sign and building bring to mind a Red Lobster or some other chain restaurant, but Jay's is independently owned and much more of a neighborhood meet-up spot. Since the building is on a slope, the main entrance to the bar is on the side (so you can park on the uphill side and walk in without taking stairs), where you can see the neon sign proclaiming that Jay's is for "Food, Friends, Fun!"
We headed on in, ready for all of the above. Jay's is spacious and has plenty of booths and tables for more restaurant-style dining, as well as a slightly enclosed bar area with a pool table, giant Jenga, Buzztime trivia, and plenty of TVs. That side of the space opens onto a huge patio with the as-advertised beautiful view of Denver. The location is far enough north of downtown that we could see the entire Denver skyline rising above the nearby buildings and lights. It was a little chilly for a patio drink, but the view is visible from inside as well, because there are ample windows facing south.
We grabbed a couple of stools at the high, laminate-topped bar, joining a few couples and older gentlemen getting their happy hour on. We ordered huge mugs of beer from the selection that included a few craft options as well as the usual Coors and Budweiser products. Happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close weekdays, with $1 off all the huge mugs of draft beers and fifty cents off regular-sized Coors and Bud Light drafts. Next up were some fries and eighty-cent wings. The food options here are plentiful, with breakfast served all day, plus salads, steaks, burgers and tons of Mexican options with Denver-themed names like the 5280 Burrito and Colorellenos. Food is made fresh — no frozen pizzas or taquitos from a bag here. There's also a kids' menu; Jay's is a very friendly place for all the neighbors, including young ones.
Our bartender listed off an extensive variety of wing options, and we went with the sriracha and sweet chili sauces. They were both good choices, particularly the sweet chili wings, which had just a little kick, making for a deliciously unhealthy happy-hour meal. Other food specials worth considering are $8 Burger Mondays, $8 Fish Friday with fish and chips, as well as bottomless mimosas, micheladas, and Bloody Marys from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. If you live in the neighborhood and are feeling too lazy to come in for food, you can get some delivered via DoorDash, Uber Eats or Menufy.
A few younger bros trickled in for beers, as well as some additional groups of older guys. Two gentlemen who looked to be in their fifties were wearing very similar tan hats and flannel shirts; my friend and I joked that they were "twinsies." People chatted or half-watched an NBA game and Guy's Grocery Games. Top 40 country songs crooned their way out of the jukebox.
Our ornately tattooed bartender said she had been working there for a long time, but not since the bar opened in 2006. She explained that in the summer, the patio is so popular that management posts signs regarding throwing things off the balcony (don't do it) and instructing guests where they can and can't smoke.
On the way out, we stepped out onto the patio one last time and then stopped to look at the Jay's merchandise for sale, which included a shirt with the tagline "The Place with the View!" The evening was better for getting under a blanket on the couch for some Netflix bingeing than for staying out past happy hour, but when warm weather returns, the place with the view and its "Food, Friends, Fun!" will surely draw me back.
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