I'm from the East Coast. From Maryland, to be precise. I realize this may impact my credibility with some Denver natives, but I have been living here more than ten years so at least I think that gives me at least a few Denver points. Being from elsewhere, I do appreciate the fact that Denver has little corners that show love for all of its many transplants. The Mile High City's best neighborhood bar for Boston sports fans is definitely the Elm, in the Park Hill neighborhood on East Colfax Avenue. I live in Mayfair, on a block that is primarily home to babies, dogs, and retirees. It's quiet in this part of town, and the Elm is just the sort of neighborhood bar that fits right in here.
On a Friday night during a Red Sox game, I stop in for drinks with a friend. We take a seat at the bar among the assortment of buttoned-up-looking men of various ages silently sipping beers and staring intently at the big-screen TVs broadcasting the game.
Friendly bartenders introduce me to general manager Daniel Arthur, who fills me in on how this neighborhood bar became every New-Englander-living-in-Denver's neighborhood bar. Before it was a bar, the building used to house Mott's Drug Store, an old-fashioned pharmacy complete with a soda fountain and makeup counter. Almost twelve years ago, it was reopened as the Elm by the Little Pub Company, a family-owned operation that runs several other local bars of the neighborhood-pub variety.
In 2007, there happened to be three Boston natives running the place, so they decided to try their hand at making it a Red Sox bar. It was the place to be that year to watch the Rockies play the Red Sox in the World Series...if you were a Red Sox fan. From there, the number of folks coming to watch Boston professional sports teams began to grow, and now it's also the best spot in Denver to watch the Bruins or the Patriots. "But don't hold that against us," says Arthur.
We don't. My friend and I start things off classy with craft beers from Upslope and New Belgium before moving to cans of Olympia and an order of tater tots. As a connoisseur of tater tots, I recommend the Elm's for their crispy texture. Looking around, the interior of the bar is an interesting mix of modern woodworking designed to resemble 1930s art-deco style, and a variety of Boston sports-themed signs and knickknacks. And plenty of TVs. The crowd is very laid-back and includes several families with kids. The Elm is definitely another bar where you can take your kids, which works well in a section of town that has recently begun to skew toward young families.
We also discover that the Elm is not only a place to meet your neighbors, but also a place to meet the people who want to be your neighbors. A clean-cut white guy in his twenties overhears some comment I make about the fact that I live nearby and asks me if I know of any places for rent in the area. He's going to be starting graduate school at the Anschutz Medical Campus and is looking for a rental between downtown and Aurora before he officially makes his move from a town near Olympia, Washington. He gives us props for the Olympia can selection.
This seems like a very common situation these days, with the continuous migration of people from everywhere in the country to our fair city. We give him some advice on finding an apartment and wish him luck. Welcome to Denver, my friend. And welcome to the Elm, your soon-to-be neighborhood bar.
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