While we're living in these strange times, it's important to support our neighbors, including the owners and staff members of your local watering holes, many of which are still open, offering to-go and delivery options. And even those that are closed for now may be selling gift cards that you can use in the future.
Here's the third in our series on helping these critical community gathering spots, focusing on some favorite bars in northwest Denver and neighboring suburbs like Westminster, Wheat Ridge and Arvada.
Billy's Inn4403 Lowell Boulevard
What to order: Tacos, burgers, tortas or anything else that strikes your fancy. You can't really go wrong with the variety of fresh and creative Mexican options. There are also some enticing drink specials to go with your food, such as margarita growlers — $36 for the first one, $30 thereafter. So if margaritas are in your plans, Billy's Inn has you covered. There are also half-priced wines and $4 select twenty-ounce draft beers. Call in or order online on the Billy's Inn website for curbside pick-up or delivery within a two-mile radius from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. daily.
Other ways to support: Buy gift cards. The bar is also currently running a special "thank you" for customers who purchase gift cards by giving a little something extra. A $20 gift card order comes with $5 extra, $50 comes with a $10 "thank you," and $100 worth of gift cards gets you a $20 additional gift card.
Why I'll be back: The mix of food and drink options, relaxed environment, nice covered patio and interesting local history (stories of Mafia bosses, car shops, and other "old Denver" things abound here) of this historic bar will bring me and others back when this is all over.
Clancy's Irish Pub7000 West 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
What to order: So many awesome and creative specials are going down right now on this Wheat Ridge pub's Facebook page, including CBD-infused cocktails, Guinness milkshakes, and screamin' deals on bottles of liquor. Always good bets at Clancy's are burgers, salads, shepherd's pie or the various interesting Irish-inspired sandwiches. For example, worth a try is the Irish Castro, which is basically a Cuban-style sandwich made with corned beef. Pick-up is available, or UberEats will deliver your favorites right to your door.
Other ways to support: Buy a Clancy's T-shirt with your to-go order for $25 to support unemployed Clancy's staff. Or donate to the GoFundMe campaign supporting the bar and staff.
Why I'll be back: The maze-like bar is full of character and fun little nooks and crannies for enjoying a beer with friends. The beer and booze selection have plenty of options for any taste, and there's a little hidden game area full of fun and quirky arcade games. Live music and trivia keep things interesting, too. St. Patrick's Day here is fun but not annoying, with all the things you want, like Irish music, green beer and corned beef and cabbage, but thankfully not the things you don't, like herds of drunk LoDo bros. So here's to next St. Paddy's Day at the oldest Irish bar in Colorado.
Colorado Plus Brew Pub6995 West 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
What to order: Crowlers (big cans filled and sealed at the bar) of beer, cider, mead or hard seltzer from your favorite local breweries (though cans are in short supply all over town, so call first to see if they're available). Oh, yeah, and food. Burgers, green chile, wings and truffle fries are my recommendations. Burger options here involve all kinds of shenanigans, with toppings such as cheese curds, jalapeño poppers, fried pickle chips, blue cheese, bacon and various other tasty combinations.Specials include ten wings for $10 on Wing Wednesday; a killer deal of one of a limited choice of Crowlers and a classic burger for $14 on Thursday, aka "Burger and Buzz Day"; and a quart of pork green chile and a Crowler for $18 on Monday. During happy hour, every day from 3 to 7 p.m., it's buy two, get one free on Crowlers to stock your fridge. Here's a nice bonus: Since the toilet paper hoarding situation doesn't seem to have abated much yet at grocery stores, every to-go order comes with a complimentary roll. New specials are popping up all the time, so keep an eye on the Colorado Plus Facebook and Instagram feeds for more deals.
Other ways to support: Gift cards! Every $50 gift card purchase comes with a free Crowler of any housemade beer to sweeten the deal.
Why I'll be back: Colorado Plus has a bright patio, a nice Colorado-style wood and steel interior, a very Wheat Ridge crowd of younger and older neighbors, multi-generational families and anyone else in the mood for some beer and conversation. This is also a great place to host private parties in the party room, or attend one of the quarterly Beer Dinner events, with pairings of local beer and uspcale food.
The Grandview Tavern & Grill7427 Grandview Avenue, Arvada
What to order: I have mainly tried the bar snacks at the Grandview, and highly recommend the pickle fries or pretzel cheddar cheese curd bites. The texture of the breading on the curds, thanks to the pretzels, is on point. The Grandview is also known for substantial and well-executed burgers with lots of toppings. Or check the bar's Facebook page for rotating food specials. Order online on the Grandview's website through ChowNow, or call in for curbside pick-up. Pair your grub with a craft beer or cocktail, or just a simple Coors Light. Honestly, whatever strikes your fancy in the alcohol department, the Grandview's got your back.
Why I'll be back: The beautiful, historic interior, the mix of regulars (some of whom will talk to you while waiting for their blind date), and the speedy and welcoming service make this neighborhood spot a pleasant one, even on a busy night. It's the sort of place where everybody knows your name, and the staff and patrons will learn your name quickly, even if you're a newcomer.
Hoffbrau Colorado9110 Wadsworth Parkway, Westminster
What to order: Recently back on the limited menu by popular demand: fan favorite prime rib! But if you're not quite ready to tackle a full-on slab of prime rib, there's a sandwich version, the prime rib French dip. For more of a snack, I suggest the wings; both boneless or bone-in versions are on the limited menu. Also worthwhile are the burritos; I've had the breakfast burrito, and there is also a beef burrito available now. Whatever you order, get the Brau chips — homemade potato chips that really hit the spot. If you're observing lent, the Hoffbrau is also offering various fish-based specials the the Friday before Easter.
Why I'll be back: Live music, a crowd comprising everyone from grandmas to cowboys to rock-and-rollers, a massive space with plenty of pool tables and dart boards, tons of huge TVs and sports memorabilia everywhere make the ’Brau always an entertaining spot. I'm sure I won't be the only one lining up to get back in the mix for one of Westminster's finest bar experiences once we are all able to enjoy a pint together in person again.
Mead Street Station3625 West 32nd Avenue
What to order: Call ahead for food and booze to go curbside or for delivery. I recommend the fries here, perhaps with a burger or sandwich, or the delicious smoked wings. There are also cauliflower wings and boneless wings.
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Other ways to support: Gift cards FTW!
Why I'll be back: Lovely people, a large draft beer selection, and a relaxing spot make a visit in person worthwhile. In my experience, it's much more entertaining to eat wings and drink beers at this bar than at my kitchen table by myself.
Note: Rules regarding to-go beer and liquor sales continue to shift, as do hours at the bars that are trying to stay open. So check for the latest info before heading out.