The Nest Bar opened just a year ago under new ownership and a new name. But the building on West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood has a long history as a watering hole; most recently it was called Shananigans, and before that it was T-Bone's Saloon, GG's and various other joints. The Nest's owner, Linden Morris, has spruced things up a tad, but not so much as to alienate drinkers who have loved all the previous incarnations.
Morris maintains a clean but pleasantly divey atmosphere that welcomes patrons young and old (but mostly old) from the neighborhood. When I popped in on a recent Friday after work, the bar counter was lined with folks wearing various levels of cowboy and construction-work ensembles. My friends and I opted for a small table near the door, next to a group of young Latina women also getting some after-work beers. The sun was still out, and the patio was full of gray-haired, leather-clad biker dudes smoking cigarettes. There were a few guys playing pool, and every so often, someone would sneak by them to try their hand winning quarters from the Bonus Hole game. A woman with big hair and sparkly flip-lops plugged several quarters into the machine but didn't have much success.
My friends and I grabbed a round of beers from a tap selection that included some local craft beers as well as the usual Coors and Budweiser products. Our server, Angel, a friendly older woman who has worked on the West Colfax bar scene for many years, was quick with the drinks, and learned our names immediately. That way, she could efficiently yell from behind the bar, "Sarah, do you want another round?" And of course, we did want another round. She regaled us with tales of the Nest's prior history and explained that she enjoys working at this "dying breed" of dive bar.
The Nest doesn't have a kitchen but often offers free food for paying customers, mostly hot-pot grub like chili and cheese sauce for nachos. Those nachos, little more than orange cheese sauce plus jalapeños from a jar, were the choice on my visit. My friends and I loaded up on those; they hit the spot almost as much as the beers after a long week. It was also happy hour, so all drinks were fifty cents off the already ridiculously cheap prices. The Nest offers three happy hours, like any good all-day drinking establishment. Folks can start first thing in the morning with discounts from 7 to 10 a.m., then return for a more standard 4 to 7 p.m. happy hour (which we caught) and wind down with another from 11 p.m. to midnight. At the Nest, nearly any time of day could be — as one gentleman yelled to another as he arrived — "Beer-thirty, mother*$#@er!"
Needless to say, there's plenty of friendly yelling (and more than a few mullets) among the Nest's regulars.
Along with free nachos every Friday, you can also partake in free tacos on Taco Tuesday, potlucks and free pozole on Broncos Sundays, and other occasional special foods and celebrations, such as the recent October 12 chili cook-off.
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This is a home-team bar in the extreme; the exterior is painted Broncos orange and blue for the Broncos, and every beer sign and piece of sports memorabilia inside reflects Broncos and Rockies allegiances.
Even though happy hour was winding down, customers kept pouring in the door. After devouring a significant amount of the complimentary nachos, we were ready to seek out other sustenance. The bartender offered us a parting shot — her signature shot, called the Angel Kiss, made with Tuaca and Tequila Rose (a strawberry cream liqueur I'd never even heard of). It tasted like those hard strawberry candies with the soft center, only in a good way (because of the booze). Just right to toast to the good life, to the Nest and to West Colfax.
The Nest Bar is located at 8807 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood and is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to midnight. Visit the bar's Facebook page or call 303-237-2203 for more information.