A friend of mine recently moved to Golden, and as is customary for me these days, I helped her check out her new neighborhood bar. In this case, it's Wrigley's Chicago Bar and Grill, at 18200 West Colfax Avenue, two minutes down the road from her apartment.
I sometimes forget that Colfax extends as far as Golden; this stretch is fairly quiet, and Wrigley's is set back off the street, up a small hill. The rectangular brick building is encircled by a massive wraparound deck filled with patio seating and space for live bands to play in the warmer months. There was still a trace of snow on the patio on the Sunday afternoon that we strolled in, so we headed into the warm and busy main bar inside.
I am a terrible football fan of any kind, but once again my visit to a bar coincided with a Broncos game, which is a sound-on affair at Wrigley's. We soon discovered that a benefit of arriving during a Broncos game is that you get touchdown Jell-O shots, whether or not you are actually paying attention to the game. Not long after we ordered flavored vodka drinks, a tray of shots was passed around (prompted by a score from the home team). The Broncos fans were young and old, but the majority were graying and seemed to have known everyone at the bar for years.
The bartender was friendly and decked out in orange and blue, as were most of her customers. However, Chicago sports memorabilia decorated nearly every surface of the bar itself. There were what looked like magic crystal balls with Cubs logos on them, a Chicago Bulls banner with the years of championship wins, and an assortment of shot glasses with Chicago sports logos. The reason for all this, and the name of the bar, is that owner Skip Perry grew up in the Windy City. Skip even proposed to his wife and business partner, Paula, at Wrigley Field during a Cubs game. When the Perrys opened the place in 2008, their goal was to make the spot both a welcoming bar for the whole neighborhood and a place for "wayward Chicago people" to meet others in the area and enjoy Chicago dogs and deep-dish pizza. The bar's tagline is "a taste of Chicago in the heart of the Rockies," a goal which the Perrys appear to have attained.
The food menu is extensive and includes much more than fare from Illinois, such as burgers, salads, Mexican options, and even Rocky Mountain oysters, which can be turned into "Cubbie Hot Nuts" with the addition of green chile and cheese. Not feeling quite ready for bull's balls smothered in hot sauce, my friend and I sampled some green chile and wings, and both had good flavor and came out quick and hot. We were too late for the all-you-can eat brunch buffet, which runs from 10 a.m. until noon on Sunday mornings. Wrigley's also has some impressively cheap food specials, such as a wintertime spaghetti dinner, starting on December 1, when every Saturday patrons can get a spaghetti dinner with salad and breadsticks for $3.95 with the purchase of a beverage. Taco Tuesdays are all year ’round, with $1 tacos. The food here has a loyal following and has earned several peoples' choice awards in various contests.
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In this sleepy, residential area of Golden, there's not much late-night activity, so the bar closes at 11 p.m. weeknights, 10 p.m. Sundays, and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. That's not to say there's not plenty happening here, at least if you believe the endearingly folksy homemade promotional video posted on the bar's Facebook page. The place also gets packed, according to regulars, for any Chicago pro sports game, as well as Rockies baseball. There are even TVs in the bathrooms so fans don't miss any of the game when they have to take a quick break. The other main event in the warmer months is live music. Wrigley's hosts "the best damn bands in Colorado" every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May to October. Some of the names of recurring bands from this summer's season sound pretty fierce, such as Mass Hipsteria, Liquor Biscuit, Trip Wire and Crossfire.
The pace of Broncos touchdowns and ensuing jello shots slowed down, so we made plans to visit another nearby destination. Before leaving, I couldn't help but notice a sign for the "Turkey Testicle Festival." This is an annual tradition at Wrigley's the night before Thanksgiving, all about drink specials and food, including all parts of the turkey, even the testicles. We didn't make plans to try the delicacy this year, but we'll continue to make new friends at the bar in the coming months, and maybe some of them will convince us to attend next November,
For menus, banquet rental information and other details, visit Wrigley's website or call 303-277-1551.