Not to get all “80s TV Show” on you (and really show my age) or anything, but makin’ your way in the world today really does take everything ya got.
Having places of refuge, where you feel truly welcome and wanted can make a crap day (ahem, or week… or month,) feel just a little less awful.
Some times you
wanna NEED to go where everybody knows your name.
When we left the city almost 4 years ago (4 YEARS!! WOW… did you think I would make it!?) it was one of the things I worried about most. Where would I go, in the spread of the ‘burbs and all of those strip malls and chain restaurants? It wouldn’t be like our little corner of the city, with my sushi bar and coffee shop just down the block: and my beloved little pizzeria/ wine bar just around the corner waiting to pull me in after a tough day and feed me flatbread with olive tapenade and Rose and make it all better.
Where would we go when The Mr traveled for work? Who would be as happy to see Jr and I toddling through the front door for dinner as the waitresses and chefs at our little sushi place? His baby self giggled and flirted as they passed him around, making googly eyes and feeding him little bits of things while I ate my miso soup, piping hot. (Hot food/drink = the ultimate mommy treat.)
Those neighborhood places are, quite literally, the center of the world in this mama’s heart. What would I do without that?
Oh Keri-from-four-years-go…. you need not worry at all.
It is true, it took a while. There were some false starts with places where the love affair ended when it had hardly begun.
Then came our discovery of the awesomeness that is Big Choice Brewing, a truly spectacular mix of spectacular beer brewed and sold by equally spectacular people. I never miss a chance to
gush shamelessly sing their praises, and it instantly rose to the top of my list of places I want to go to celebrate or commiserate the ups and downs of life.
Slowly… slowly, I started to find my places here. A couple good coffee shops not too far away, a great sushi joint from the city that opened a second location within walking distance from The Casa, a little diner where the waitresses call you “honey” and freaking ADORE my kid.
Then, just a few months ago, the cherry on top of my sundae of local hangouts came into being. A perfect combo of great creative chef-driven pub food, a rotating craft beer list, really cool “Colorado Casual” decor, and a bookshelf full of games that keeps Jr excited to go back again and again. It is the joy and beauty that is The North Side Tavern.
Much like Keri does whenever something new is opening in this town, I was practically beating down the door to come in when they opened. The location was sorely in need of a “something for everyone” kind of place, with great local personality to make it stand out.
BOOM – NST delivered.
The bar includes ample electric outlets with both traditional plugs and USB spaces, and the owner Steve is all too happy to see you using them (as I frequently do during a working lunch when I get stir-crazy working at home.) Current favorites for me are the “construction zone burger” (so you can build your own,) the Colorado Cuban, and the traditional wings. The crispy Brussels sprouts and naked nachos both call to me after a long day as well.
There are good happy hour specials on both drinks and appetizers, and a kids’ menu that Jr loves – their chicken tenders are like preschooler catnip. Andplusalso, we lobbied to get get them to offer BBQ sauce, because it is Jr’s current favorite condiment, and TAH DAH – they did!! (No more tiny Tupperware of BBQ in this momma’s purse!!)
It has quickly become a true gathering place for the neighborhoods around it – a place where Gina or Anthony behind the bar will greet you by name when you walk in for happy hour or dinner with the family.
At night after the littles clear out to get tucked in, The NST hosts local bands on weekends, with the coming acts available on their website.
It’s been a minute (or a year) since I’ve done a Local Love feature here, and it hasn’t been for lack of the love. Quite the opposite. I have found so very much to love, indeed.
So I have added a Local Love tab on the top menu – if you find yourself here in the perfectly in between spot between Denver and Boulder, for a visit or as a fellow resident, check out some of my favorite spots around the area.
Of course, I am always itching to try something new and wonderful – so if you know the area please do give a shout out to your faves down below, or in the comments on the Local Love page so we can all enjoy.
Finding “your places” where you live means so much more than just knowing who has the best burger or latte (although that never hurts.) It is finding what speaks to you in a place – what connects you, and grounds you. It’s finding the people and places that make you proud to call it your home.