Located just one block north of Coors Field, Blake Street Tavern has been a go-to destination for Denver sports fans for almost 20 years. Decorated with sports memorabilia, Blake Street is littered with massive flat-screen TVs, allowing patrons to watch a game from any seat. Even two hours before Blake Street opened for the Rockies’ first home game of 2023, there was already an excited buzz in the air. Everyone knew opening day was here.
The Colorado Rockies’ home opener on Thursday was a picture-perfect scene with pristine fields and enthusiastic fans. However, on Sunday, April 9, sports enthusiasts will be disappointed to know that Blake Street Tavern, one of downtown’s liveliest sports bars, will be closing its doors after having success since 2003. Mollie Wilkinson has been coming for two decades.
“My family has grown up watching the Rockies and coming to Blake Street. It’s always been a great environment, great atmosphere,” she said. “My family, they’re kind of disappointed in the fact that it’s closing, kind of sad that it’s coming to an end. It’s definitely kind of the end of an era, but also brings back a lot of memories that are fun to look back on.”
Shelley Majeres, the general manager of Blake Street Tavern, has been working there for 17 years to the day on April 6. When she thinks back on her time working at Blake Street and being neighbors with the Rockies, she recalls one of her favorite memories.
“Before 2010, we were in the building next door, one block away [from Coors Field] and that was the year that the Rockies were in the World Series and got swept by the Red Sox,” she said. “It was packed because we were also a Red Sox bar at the time and anytime anybody hit a homerun, everyone went nuts. It was really cool because Coors Field was only four years old, and I would walk outside, and I could hear Carrie Underwood singing the national anthem. The town was just electric, it was really exciting.”
Over the years, Majeres has enjoyed witnessing Blake Street grow alongside the city of Denver and was proud of the way the bar adapted during the pandemic.
“The city has grown and gotten younger, tons of transplants,” Majeres said. “I really think the coolest thing about this place in terms of the pandemic and growth is that my boss, the owner, was a huge restaurant advocate. He had sued the governor over some of the rules. He was in the restaurant association with everybody fighting to make money and retain jobs. Some of the rumors are that we are closing because of COVID, but we’ve actually never been more profitable. We just chose not to extend the lease and it’s been a good run. It would have been 20 years on the 15th.”
Majeres said that she believes not continuing the lease was simply a personal decision for Blake Street’s owner. The building that Blake Street occupies is a historic landmark and she hopes that another restaurant will fill the void they are leaving to bring new fun to their old space. The owners of the building, Urban Resistance Group, have submitted plans for 300 apartments in the parking lots adjacent to the bar.
Blake Street not only offered Denver sports fans a place to watch a game but also served up award-winning food and drinks.
“We are famous for our nachos—we invented the skillet custom nachos in 2003,” Majeres said. “We have also won awards for our green chili, it is a recipe for our original chef from Durango, Mexico.”
As Blake Streets’ tenure nears an end, Majeres said that she has stayed at the bar two to three hours past the end of her shift the last couple of nights because customers have been coming to visit one last time and say goodbye.
“There are people online that have just said, ‘Hey, you know, I met my spouse here, we named our baby Blake, I had my first date here, I had to come say goodbye,’” she said. “I think it has had a huge impact on the community. We have regulars that are really upset. Even people that haven’t been here for a few years are like, ‘I’ve got to have one more beer, one more burger.’”
mabr / April 6, 2023
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