Enjoying the ambiance at The British Bulldog on the evening of June 13, 2012 are soccer diehards, from left, Sean Manning, Tess Falcone and Chris Kortsha.
EDITOR'S NOTE: With Euro 2012, the Olympics and World Cup qualifying going on this summer, now's the time to pull up a barstool, order a cold one and enjoy soccer on the tube. To get you primed, Burgundy Wave will be reviewing Denver's best soccer bars in the coming weeks.
STOUT & BROADWAY – Group B games unfolded in scintillating fashion on Wednesday, and for the first time since Euro 2012 kicked off, Sean Manning and Tess Falcone weren’t at one of Denver’s premier soccer bars – The British Bulldog or The Three Lions – to watch the action.
On Wednesday night, though, they are back at the Bulldog to talk coed-league soccer along with friend and teammate Chris Kortsha.
Manning speaks from experience when he says both bars, which have the same ownership group, have filled with fans for Euro games during the morning/early afternoon time slots. “It’s a good scene,” he says.
Do you have a favorite spot in town to watch soccer? Let us know after the jump.
Good scene nicely sums up The British Bulldog, Denver’s original soccer pub. This place, with its cozy ambiance and working-class vibe, feels like “Cheers.” Sit for a spell and you’ll hear the wait staff greet regulars by name as they stroll in under the Bulldog Supporters Group flag at the door. Besides being English Premier League central (especially Chelsea), this is ground zero for BSG members, who fill the pub hours before Rapids games and ride the Bulldog Bus to Dick’s.
Falcone, who will be rooting heartily for Spain at Euro, says The Bulldog and Lions are the only bars in town that truly cater to the soccer crowd, opening at 5:30 a.m. on weekends for EPL matches.
“They do their best to give you that environment,” she says. “If you’re a soccer fan, you’re happy.”
The Bulldog offers an authentic British pub experience – as if that would be in question when you see the patio fronting Broadway draped in English flags. The menu is spicy, filled with Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, along with a healthy dose of pub fare and salads. The walls are festooned to the hilt with ELP paraphernalia – scarves, banners, jerseys and the updated EPL table. I sit comfortably on the long bench along the wall, which offers an excellent perch to view the Bulldog’s many TVs. Tonight, they’re tuned mostly to baseball, although one massive screen is showing a replay of the Oct. 16, 2011 Tottenham-Newcastle match.
I’m enjoying a $2 domestic draft (happy hour price) and the delicious $7.99 Pub Burger (just $5 on Sundays).
“Twenty-five years ago this was a gay bar,” Manning points out. “It was under different ownership back then.”
He’s been coming to The Bulldog since moving to Denver from Boulder two years ago. He discovered the Three Lions when it opened last August.
“This one is definitely more the Chelsea bar,” he says, adding that he has no relation to the “other” football Manning. “Chelsea has definitely built a following here.”
Although Manning and Falcone are Liverpool fans – and Three Lions is more the Liverpool pub – they toggle between the pubs.
They are also both Colorado Rapids season ticket holders. If they’re not pre-gaming at The Bulldog or Three Lions for home games, they’re parked on a barstool for away matches. They say that BSG has three coed teams and one competitive men’s team.
“People appreciate (the game) more if they play it,” Falcone says.
And when soccer newcomers start to enjoy the Beautiful Game, they often find their way into a place like The Bulldog, where the soccer environment enfolds you like an oversized Union Jack.
“Plus,” Manning says, “this is Denver. We like to be fit”
“And drink too,” adds Falcone as she sips her beer.
Pub Rating Guide
0 - Awful, horrible. You call this place a soccer bar?
1-3 - Poor. You trying to model your bar after Toronto FC?
4-6 - Decent. A reasonable joint, but you could have done a lot better.
7-9 - Great place! Did nearly everything right with few mistakes
10 - Perfecto!
I’ve only eaten there once, but if the Pub Burger is any indication, the grub is quite tasty. Check out the fried pickles, mac & cheese wedges and Punjabi hot wings.
The beer selection is top notch. The Fullers ESB is a bar favorite, and you can get the brews from over the pond served the authentic way – room temperature.
This is as full-on authentic soccer pub as they come. Would be nice to see an MLS table alongside the EBL standings. (There is indeed an MLS table there, it's just on the other end of the bar near the stairs - ed)
Quick service, delivered with a smile.
I got a pub burger and two Colorado Native ales, which were on happy hour special. Total bill: $15.11. Righteous!
Soccer friendliness: 10
If you can’t find someone here to talk soccer with you’re just not trying.