Few adults willingly walk into Casa Bonita without having first enjoyed an alcoholic beverage or two: It takes a lot of fortification to stomach the Casa Chilada platter while trying to keep track of your kids in Black Bart’s Cave, plus, most of the Skee-Ball machines are usually broken. Then again, the 41-year-old pink restaurant/entertainment complex is a bit of a civic treasure — a darling of the national media, a time capsule from a bygone era and, more recently, an official Lakewood Historical Society landmark.
Now that the shopping center where Casa Bonita is located is scheduled for some renovation and rejuvenation by its new owners, Broad Street Realty, Casa Bonita is cooler than ever before. And that property, now called Lamar Station Plaza, will garner even more cachet early next year when a new craft-beer maker, Westfax Brewing, opens in 3,600 square feet of space next door to Casa Bonita.
“We’ll be able to sit on our patio and watch people coming and going,” says Westfax owner Anthony Martuscello, who hopes that Casa Bonita’s adult customers will use the brewery as a pre- or post-party spot. “We’ll be happy to help parents, or anyone else, get their beer fix.”
Martuscello had been looking for space up and down Colfax (his original name for the brewery was Grand Avenue Brewing, playing off a nickname for Colfax, before he changed it to avoid a trademark conflict), but was sold on Lamar Station when Broad Street told him that Casa Bonita attracts 500,000 new customers per year.
Originally from New York State, Martuscello is an industrial engineer who moved to Colorado about five years ago. He hopes to take possession of the space in August, after Broad Street has finished some renovations. He’s aiming to open by the end of 2015, but says a more realistic estimate is early 2016. Westfax will include a 1,000-square-foot tap room with space for 87 people and a twenty-seat patio.
Martuscello, who has been home-brewing for six years, says he plans to hire a head brewer to operate the seven-barrel brewing system and to give that person a say when it comes to the beers. For starters, though, he’d like to make an English mild, a peach pale ale, a red IPA, a double IPA and a coconut porter.
So, will there be a Black Bart's Brown or a Casa Bonita Kolsch? “I'd love to work with them if they were open it it,” Martuscello says.
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