Openings and Closings

Neighborhood Bar Trash Hawk Tavern Now Open on South Broadway

Molly Martin
Beer-and-shot combos, Montucky cans, Malort and "trash charcuterie" (aka Lunchables) are on the menu at TrashHawk Tavern, a new bar at 1539 South Broadway in the former home of Alternation Brewing Company. In this era of craft-cocktail bars, TrashHawk is a refreshingly low-key addition to the Overland neighborhood.

"It's a neighborhood bar," explains owner Erin Homburger, whose family — all thirty-plus members — live nearby. Homburger grew up in Denver, too, but spent most of her twenties living in Chicago before returning to Colorado. A lawyer by trade, she'd long dreamed of opening a bar, and while working from home during the pandemic, she got more serious about making that dream a reality.

Homburger lives just five blocks away, and when she saw that Alternation was shutting its doors in 2020, she reached out to the owner and learned that he was selling the building. She began the process of buying the space in September 2020, and in February started transforming it with the help of many family members.

A fresh coat of forest-green paint covers the walls, and wooden tables and chairs give the space an outdoors-inspired vibe. The walls are covered with retro objects, everything from sports memorabilia to license plates, taxidermy and an old map of the Front Range. Many of the pieces came from Homburger's relatives, like a Denver Broncos plaque from her grandmother's basement. Others were purchased from estate sales, Goodwill and other thrift stores. The bathrooms are plastered with old ads from Life magazines, and a large elk head is on its way. It will be hung over a red shag rug in the hallway leading to a large back room and the back patio.
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Molly Martin
The result is a bar that feels lived in already, even though it just opened on October 18. Homburger plans to show games — yes, she has NFL Ticket and Altitude Sports — as well as bring in food trucks. Starting November 3, new barbecue joint Plates by the Pound will be popping up at the bar every Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. (trivia will be happening at the same time). But otherwise, TrashHawk is a place to hang out, sip a Coors and meet some neighbors. Cocktails are on the menu, too, listed as "trash drinks," with options like the Babygirl (a double tall vodka soda), the Pink Nasty (Smirnoff vanilla vodka with orange Fanta) and Sister Lucy (a White Claw on ice with a well tequila floater). "My rule is no muddling," Homburger notes. "I just want people to come in and not feel intimidated in any way. I just want people to be comfortable."

So what's with all the "trash"?

"I have a group of friends, and we call each other 'trash fam,' and I'm the oldest — they call me 'trash mom,'" Homburger explains. As for the "hawk" portion of the name, that's a slightly more tragic story. After finding a fallen hawk in her backyard one night, Homburger tried to reach a raptor rescue to help. The rescue said it was unable to come out to pick up the bird and instructed her to put it under a blanket and drive it over. As her dad headed over to help her move the bird, something unexpected happened: "I was standing with my neighbors in the front yard, and [the hawk] is just standing on the ground, and I'm looking him in the eye, and he looks at me, looks at the street, looks at me, takes off, and at the same time a FedEx truck..."

The day after the hawk's tragic ending, Homburger put in an offer on the bar and needed to choose a name for her LLC. TrashHawk wasn't initially supposed to be a name that stuck, but it did. "That's kind of a vibe," she says.

Indeed, it is. Cheers, TrashHawk. 
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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

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