Beer, karaoke, beer, projection screens, beer, friends of Ireland, beer, and good times. Oh yeah, and beer. Lots of beer.
If you're looking for any or all of the above, look no further than our city's Northern quadrant — erm, quindrant? — where such appetites will be easily satisfied. It's there you'll find sports fans, brewery fans, Air Force Cadets, and folks who like to climb up on the bar and sing "Pour Some Sugar on Me."
So let's start with that last one. The premiere northern haunt for karaoke fans is Good Company Restaurant & Bar (7625 N. Union Blvd., goodcompanybar.com), consistent Best Of winner where feverish renditions of Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," and the latest offerings from Katy Perry and Ke$ha go in and out of tune with cheerful abandon.
Those who prefer to abandon themselves to the luck of the Irish can get lucky at Dublin House (1850 Dominion Way, 265-8820), where 2-for-1 deals and, yes, karaoke, are sure to lift spirits — as are the patrons there. There's also more than a bit of Ireland to be found steps away at Erin Inn (6480 N. Academy Blvd., 598-3004). Also look for a daily rotation of dirt-cheap shot specials, a kind of value menu for vodka, whiskey, tequila, ad infinitum.
And after all that, you can venture over to the Back East Bar & Grill (9475 Briar Village Point, backeastbarandgrill.com) and try to figure out what's so back east about a bar up north. Find out over pizza, beer and the game, whatever the game happens to be. Relaxed atmosphere and a super-friendly staff draw a varied clientele, as do the cheap drinks and a decidedly decent tap selection.
Meanwhile, you can find pretty much all the games at Hondo's Sports Bar & Grill (4659 Centennial Blvd., hondoscoloradosprings.com), where every cut, gash and bruise will come to life as your favorite boxers and hockey stars earn their money on huge projection screens and high-definition monitors. Also good: free wireless (just like Starbucks!), pool tables, live music on weekends, steak specials, and extra-healthy breaded and fried jalapeño slices.
And because northerners apparently love their televised competition, three other sports bars are also worth a mention: All-American Sports Café Bar & Grill (12225 Voyager Pkwy., allamericansportscafe.com), Champps Americana (1765 Briargate Blvd., champps.com) and Overtime Sports Bar & Grill (2809 Dublin Blvd., theovertimecos.com).
For larger parties, the beer's cheaper by the bucket at Duffy's (4861 N. Academy Blvd., 599-7739), where the atmosphere is about as low-key as Tom Waits' voice on a bad day. Speaking of which, smokers will have a chance to bond together out in the parking lot. Just like in high school, except for, you know, the proximity to pool and darts.
After all this, how about a cup of coffee to settle your stomach? You can get it at A Second Cup (13860 Gleneagle Drive, asecondcup.net), the sister restaurant to Monument's Coffee Cup Café. Of course, with more than 20 craft beers on draft, you may forget the coffee here and just pair fresh alcohol with some of its served-all-day breakfast items, such as the Manly Marine Meal of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, country fries and toast.
If you head farther up I-25 to O'Malley's Steak Pub (104 State Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, omalleys.biz), you won't have to worry about driving home after a night of debauchery — the Tri-Lakes Safe Ride shuttle bus runs Friday and Saturday nights. And what that really means is the chance to take full advantage of O'Malley's Tequila Tour (try all 35-plus tequilas and win prizes) or its "21 at the O." That's 21 shots — and a commemorative T-shirt — for the bargain price of $49.99.
Oh yeah, did we mention beer? For the home-grown variety, you've got four choices on this side of town.
Trinity Brewing Company (1466 Garden of the Gods Road, trinitybrew.com) features wonderfully odd, experimental saisons and the like that incorporate spices and unique ingredients usually seen in food. Brewer Jason Yester and crew also offer around 30 guest taps with great beers from around the country to pair with menu items like seitan buffalo wings and Colorado bison sliders.
Former Phantom Canyon brewer Andrew Bradley oversees six house beers (get the standout IPA) plus special "Brewer's Whimsy" nights on Tuesdays, featuring super small-batch specialty ales (think 10 gallons) at Colorado Mountain Brewery (11202 Rampart Hills View, cmbrew.com). It's also a sharp restaurant with great views of the Air Force Academy (from which the owner graduated) and mountains.
Though it's a California-based chain, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse (5150 N. Nevada Ave., bjsbrewhouse.com) serves respectable beers that are made in Boulder. The outfit's food is surprisingly good, too. Lastly, Pikes Peak Brewing Co. (1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument, pikespeakbrewing.com), a brand new outfit, tentatively anticipates launching in mid-May with four house beers and a scenic beer garden.