South Broadway, whether in Denver or Englewood, is changing all the time, with more new up-and-coming restaurants and bars, and of course, plenty of weed stores. So a neighborhood joint like the Full House Sports Bar & Grill that stands the test of time is a bit of an anomaly in an area so full of newcomers. But Full House (having nothing to do with the TV show; the bar pre-dates the sitcom) is a dive bar with self-respect and a willingness to put in the effort to keep up with the times.
The bar has been known as the Full House since 1969, other than during a couple of short-lived interludes when the business was briefly sold and renamed. Prior to that it was a Chinese restaurant and a carhop spot called Harold's Drive-In. The bar has changed hands a few times, but current owner Rich Bolsinger, a veteran of South Denver bars who for a while owned the Castle Bar & Grill in Littleton, has been the proprietor for quite a few years.
On a recent Sunday evening, a friend and I popped in to check out the place. The crowd was a mixed bag, with some younger guys bro-ing out about football, a family eating appetizers at one of the tables, and a variety of old-timers with a variety of beard lengths and camouflage attire. Full House-branded camouflage hats and hoodies are also available, as well as black, pink, red, and other colors, and some of the patrons were sporting them. The slogan "If I'm not home, I'm at the House" adorned the back of the shirts, a nod to the affectionate name the regulars call their favorite bar.
It seemed like most of the folks in the place on this particular evening had been there many times, but they were all friendly and helped us learn the history of the bar. An older gentleman who worked in HVAC and had an impressive ZZ Top-style beard told us he's been coming here for thirty years, and that even after all that time, "you never know what you're going to get," adding that he's seen a lot of new faces, a lot of old faces, and has had many good conversations on the House's bar stools. Those bar stools turned out to be one of the highlights of the experience: The comfortable, cushioned seats were one of the reasons that the bar area was full.
There's plenty to do here, and plenty of time to do it. The bar opens at 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday through Sunday, and doesn't close until 2 a.m. each day. There's also a happy hour bright and early, from 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays and 8 to 10 a.m. weekends. The second happy hour offers even more bang for your buck, running from 4 to 8 p.m. daily. Aside from food and drink specials during happy hour, there are also daily food specials and various rotating events each week. Monday is Music Bingo, Wednesday is Trivia, Friday and Saturday nights host DJs and karaoke, and Sunday nights bring Texas Hold ’Em Poker tournaments. All the traditional bar holidays are observed here, and sports, especially football, are big. The TVs boast the newest, clearest picture, and there are a lot of them, positioned at every angle so there's no seat in the house where you can't see the game.
If you aren't watching sports, a selection of board games are available, plus darts, pool and Silver Strike video bowling. Or you can talk to your neighbors or listen to music; on this particular Sunday, there were country and rock selections coming from the TouchTunes jukebox. For a few minutes, a group of the older gents in the place sang along unabashedly to the Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira."
My friend and I sampled a few beers and split an order of wings (you can get two flavors in one basket) and some "Loaded Tater Barrels." This delicacy is a set of extra-large tater tots stuffed with bacon, cheese and chives. They're highly recommended if you're a tater tot fan looking for something a little extra — or a lot extra, in this case. Other house specialties include a Philly cheesesteak and various multi-ingredient burgers. Breakfast is served daily, and there are also Mexican selections to choose from in addition to the plethora of American bar snacks, sandwiches and even salads, if you're still on some sort of New Year's Resolution diet this far into January.
One thing we didn't do was join the mug club, since it's currently closed to new members. But existing mug clubbers get $3 beers in their own 32-ounce glasses with their names engraved on them. There's a similar option with shot glasses, with $5 shots in a personal shot glass. The club is so popular that there aren't any spots for newcomers, in part because the display shelves, back-lit in red lights along one wall, are completely full. Here and there, the mugs have a few dollars tucked into them, a "buy a friend a drink" sort of situation where patrons leave a little surprise for their friends to find later. After all, you never know what you're going to get at the Full House Bar and Grill.
Full House Bar and Grill is located at 4272 South Broadway in Englewood. For more information, call 720-485-4494 or visit their website.
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