Englewood Grand Owners Open a New (Nameless) Bar in Asbury Provisions Space

This new neighborhood bar doesn't have a name.
This new neighborhood bar doesn't have a name. Molly Martin
"We're not naming this one; it's just for the neighborhood. Whatever people want to call it, whatever they want to tell their friends," says Phil Zierke of his new bar at 2043 South University Boulevard.

In 2016, Zierke, who has over two decades of bartending experience at spots like the Candlelight Tavern and the Horseshoe Lounge, opened Englewood Grand with his wife, Erika, at 3435 South Broadway.

That establishment quickly become a neighborhood mainstay, and earned a spot on our list of the 100 bars we can't live without. But while Phil Zierke has spent a lot of hours behind the bar at the Grand, he says he now has "an amazing staff" in place that's freed up a lot of his time. So last summer, when he heard that the eight-year-old Asbury Provisions had closed, he reached out to see if he could help.

Ultimately, the Zierkes ended up taking over the spot, and while Zierke says that it's still a "work in progress," this bar with no name and no set menu officially served its first customers on March 11.

So far, the bar has a beer list with fourteen options and a few wines by the glass. Beyond that, Zierke, who is currently working at the place solo seven days a week, can mix up "almost every cocktail. I have about 75 percent of the stuff I want," he says.

While Asbury Provisions was known as much for its food offerings as its drinks, Zierke is planning to go a much simpler route. "The kitchen [at Asbury Provisions] was an ambitious, awesome kitchen. Coming out of COVID, you get to the other side and you're like, 'This is going to be awesome.' Then you just get crushed with inflation, the labor shortage and all of that stuff. It's just a lot. I would love to do an awesome kitchen here, but I have a family," he explains.
click to enlarge
A dirty martini made by Englewood Grand owner Phil Zierke.
Molly Martin
Instead of a full food menu, Zierke will offer charcuterie options, salads and one major crowd-pleaser: all-you-can-eat spaghetti. "Something two people can crush, with one person making drinks and one person making food," he notes.

Mostly, though, he just wants this new venture to be "a place to chill and have someone taking care of you," he says. While this neighborhood around the University of Denver has several bars, most of them, like the Pioneer and Illegal Pete's, cater to DU students. And while the stools at the Stadium Inn are often filled by old-timers during the day, a rowdier, younger crowd grabs them at night.

This unnamed addition is more laid-back, middle ground. It's a simple spot to get a drink and maybe run into a few old (or new) friends — which is exactly what happened when I stopped by to chat, bumping into a TrashHawk Tavern regular I'd met a few months ago at that neighborhood watering hole on South Broadway.

Now the DU neighborhood has a new neighborhood bar to call its own, even if it doesn't know what to call it.

"It was so good to have Asbury here for the neighborhood," says Zierke. "It's so important to have neighborhood bars, and I don't think people realize that. ... It's important for all sorts of gatherings. Happy moments, sad moments — all those sorts of things. When neighborhoods don't have that, they're missing something. And people might not be able to put their finger on it, but once a neighborhood bar comes, it's like, that's it. Every neighborhood in Denver should have them."

Englewood Grand's second location is located at 2043 South University Boulevard and is now open from 3 p.m. to at least midnight daily.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin

Latest Stories