First look: The Armoury opens in the Ballpark neighborhood

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It was a little late coming out of the gate -- the opening was slated for New Year's Eve -- but last night, the Armoury, a new pub that's themed around live music and European football, unlocked its doors in the Ballpark neighborhood.

See also: - Armoury, an "old-world pub," will open in Ballpark on New Year's Eve with chef Brian Laird consulting on the menu - The Armoury retreats from a 2012 opening but is set to open in January

The concept is a collaboration between Juan Padro, who owns Highland Tap & Burger (and is an owner, along with his wife, Katie, of Old Major) and Kris Baehre, the former proprietor of Highland Tavern. Brian Laird, who last cooked at Sketch -- and spent more than ten years as the exec chef of Barolo Grill -- is in the kitchen, and his tidy menu focuses on sandwiches, charcuterie, pizzas and sausages, which he procures from Paladori; he's also featuring a "guest" chef sandwich of the month, the first of which will be courtesy of Eli Odell, the exec chef of Highland Tap & Burger.

"It's an easy, clean, approachable menu that will be ever-evolving," says Laird, adding that he'll also offer daily specials and rely on feedback from the neighborhood. "It's important to us to see what the neighborhood wants in terms of food, and while I think we have a good mix of dishes, I'm definitely going to make it an ever-changing menu."

And within the next week or two, Laird will add weekend breakfast to the roster on game days -- soccer season is in full swing -- the menu of which may include meat pies made by the guys at GB Fish & Chips. "We're talking to the owners of GB to see if we can make that happen," says Baehre, who notes that the pub will open as early as 6 a.m. on weekends.

The space, furbished with hardwood floors, exposed red brick, several TVS, including a huge projector screen, a zinc bar and an antique back bar that exposes a gorgeous porcelain-baked enamel tap system, from which eight brews will be poured, feels vaguely like a sports bar, but with an edgy jolt of grunge. "It's a thinking man's bar with an emphasis on community, where everyone is welcome," says Baehre, noting, too, that the spirits selection focuses on whiskey and bourbon. "I think we're a bit more sophisticated than the average LoDo bar -- yes, we're showing European football, but we're not serving wings or poppers, and we've definitely got a great spirits list."

And tonight, the joint will begin its role out of live bands, starting with the Nuns of Brixton, a local cover band that channels the Clash -- and admission is free.

I stopped in yesterday to tour the space, the photos of which are on the following pages.

For more information, call 303-295-0215.

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