Neighborhood Bar of the Week: Mind Your Q's in Ken Caryl

Q's Pub and Grille might not look too fancy, but it's a solid, friendly Irish bar.
Q's Pub and Grille might not look too fancy, but it's a solid, friendly Irish bar. Sarah McGill
On a Sunday night when the sky was threatening rain, I found myself down in the Ken Caryl area of Littleton with some time to kill, and decided to scope out the neighborhood bars in the area. Q's Pub & Grille seemed like just the right sort of place as I looked at Google Maps, and I could tell upon arrival that the app had steered me right this time. I pulled up next to the large, flat, building with windows full of beer signs and figured this would be a good place to grab a bite and a brew and wait out the storm.

Sunday football was in full force when I walked in, and the open, spacious bar offered excellent viewing on a large projection screen. The Broncos weren't playing, but it was still football season, so no matter. There was a clutch of youngish guys intently following one of the games, and a few couples in their forties and fifties enjoying dinner and drinks with their football. At the end of the long, curved bar, a graying dude with a bucket hat and a long beard chatted with some younger guys. At a raised booth in the corner of the dining room, what appeared to be a multi-generational family was eating supper together. The enclosed patio visible through one of the many windows around the perimeter of the bar also held a few people out there specifically to smoke (since the weather was less than ideal for outdoor dining). I found a spot at the far end of the bar, next to an older guy playing games on his phone. I struck up a conversation with him and the female bartender, and they told me a bit about the place.

Q's has been around for quite a while, and was once one of the only places in the area with a liquor license in this part of Littleton south of Hampden Avenue (what a sad place the southwestern ’burbs must have been). For the past 25 years, the bar has been owned by Jack and Jean Quinlivan, hence the name Q's (since Quinlivan's might have been a bit hard to pronounce).

Like the Quinlivan family, Q's is Irish, and celebrates the fact with some traditional pub fare: fish and chips, patty melts and Irish nachos, to name a few. I've developed the habit of ordering Irish nachos at most Irish bars I visit, and this version came out as an enormous plate mounded with crispy potato chips (hand-cut and fried, by the looks of them) topped with ample cheese, corned beef and sour cream, plus diced tomatoes and onions.

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Irish nachos at Q's hit the spot.
Sarah McGill

Wings, burgers and various chicken sandwiches are also popular, and there's a hot mess of a burger called the Hangover that's reminiscent of a Pueblo slopper, but is laid on a bed of tater tots before being drowned in green chile and cheese — and topped with a fried egg for good measure. If anything, that sounds sloppier than a slopper, and while it probably is something I should have tasted, I just didn't think I could tackle it solo. I was also working on a massive mug of beer; the bar pours draft beers big here from a range of Irish, domestic and Mexican brands.

Q's hosts fun happenings nearly every night of the week, plus annual events and holiday celebrations. Happy hour runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. every weeknight, with 25 percent off all appetizers. Wednesday is trivia night, with cash prizes and a DJ, starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night is Ladies' Night, with live music and happy-hour pricing starting at 8 p.m. for women. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday, Q's draws a crowd with its make-your-own Bloody Mary bar, with extensive juice options and an impressive claim of more than forty garnishes and other add-ins.

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This is the mural inside of one of the bathroom stalls at Q's. Why? Who knows?
Sarah McGill

Saint Patrick's Day is a major blowout, of course, but even the Halfway to St. Patrick's Day celebration that just happened in September is a big to-do, with corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, dancers, bagpipers and a rock-and-roll cover band to end the night. And that's only a "practice round for the big day," according to the team at Q's.

The stage was bare during my visit, but show up on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday and you'll find a musical cornucopia of local acts, with jazz, funk, blues, country, rock, folk and Americana all possibilities.

Without the Broncos to get the sports fans worked up, Q's was filled only with the quiet buzz of conversation; the calm, Sunday-afternoon feeling made me a little sad that the weekend was coming to an end. The rain subsided and I slipped out into the south suburbs, which looked clean and shiny out the windows of Q's, a welcome and friendly port in the storm.

Q's Pub & Grille is located at 10133 West Chatfield Avenue in Littleton and is open Monday through Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight, Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:45 a.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1:45 a.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit the bar's website or call 303-973-2905 for more information.
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Sarah McGill is a contributor to Westword's Food & Drink section and can be found exploring Denver's neighborhood bars. She is also a ghost story and karaoke enthusiast. Despite not being from Colorado, Sarah and Denver have been in a long-term relationship, and it seems like this one might be for real.

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