With owners transplanted from the Emerald Isle, Katie Mullen's Irish Restaurant and Bar is riddled with authentic Irish flourishes. The furniture, for example, was all imported from Nugent and Gibney Ltd in Ireland. Up to 500 people gather around the hand-carved tables, feasting on Icelandic cod battered with Harp Lager and burgers crowned with corned beef. Kathleen St. John of the Denver Post notes that the selection of food stands out among a sea of Irish pubs: “Katie Mullen's menu is intensely Irish, but that doesn't mean bland corned beef and cabbage.” In the kitchen, chefs combine diced lamb, veal demi-glace, and fresh herbs in slowly roiling pots of irish stew.
The fare fills the 11,500-square-foot interior with revelry, the clatter of silverware reverberating through four themed rooms: the Victorian bar, the Shop bar, the Pharmacy bar, and the Gaelic bar. Lights dangle from marbled and copper-paneled ceilings, and dark-wood and stone accents surround diners in each room. The same stonework, along with curlicues of wrought iron, warms in the sun around the large outdoor patio. On the weekends, live musicians strum their guitars and rock through ballads about how many pairs of sunglasses you should be wearing.
A laid-back, beachy vibe flows through BooDad's Beach House Grill; oftentimes, there's even sand on the floor from an outdoor beach with hammocks and a volleyball court. In the kitchen, cooks prepare Cajun-inspired dishes such as bacon-wrapped buffalo shrimp and New Orleans–style muffuletta sandwiches with Genoa salami, ham, and chopped olive salad. Diners can wash it all back with beers or mixed drinks served in glasses or 64-ounce fishbowls.
At Legends of Aurora Sports Grill, philly cheesesteak could mean a traditional sandwich, a pizza, or a 24-inch sub food challenge. For more than 20 years, Legends of Aurora?s hand-tossed pizza dough has formed the foundation for this and other pies, including the supreme and the White pizza, a sauceless number with cheese and tomato slices. And though their patrons order enough pizzas each year to pave a route from Peoria to Buckley, they somehow find time to nosh on pepperoni pizza rolls, Rocky Mountain oysters, calzones, chimichangas, salad, and wings as well.
The kitchen admirals at the locally-owned Krazy Karl's Pizza assemble a menu of savory pies constructed from daily kneaded dough and fresh ingredients, all enhanced by sudsy brews from New Belgium. Catch a specialty dough disk ($6.49–$10.99), such as the Border, cloaked in green chilis, jalapeños, pepperoni, and Cajun seasoning. Diners can also ask a team of hardhat-wearing Lilliputians to construct their own pie ($3.99–$6.99 per pizza; $0.50–$1.50 for each additional topping) from 20 toppings, including feta, meatballs, and cream cheese. The Pub grinder ($5.99) arrives swollen with thinly sliced rib-eye beef, bacon, and cheddar. The kitchensmiths round out the menu with seven garden fresh salads ($3.75–$4.99) and juicy rotisserie wings ($4.99 for six large wings) that perform barrel rolls in the air after bathing in savory sauces.
The bartenders at 12 Volt Tavern bolster its dive-bar cred with a daily two-for-one happy hour, pairing suds and spirits with a punk-rock-heavy jukebox that helped earn it Westword's Best Dive Bar in the ‘Burbs award in 2007. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., the daily happy hour lobs beer bottles ($2.75–$4.50) and cans ($2.25–$5.50) to those longing to grip longnecks or crush something other than Pringles cans against their heads. Draft beers ($2.75–$4.50) cascade from foam-flecked taps as imbibers sip to the refrain of rhythmically clacking pool balls and whizzing darts. Mad Dog 20/20 and its 10 electric libations glimmer and gleam over the bar’s pale light, headlining the top shelf of 12 Volt’s library of liquors and spirits ($3.75–$8). On weekends, local punk and rockabilly acts storm the intimate stage, blaring tunes that ricochet off the wall’s aluminum PBR signage and the ceiling’s bottle-cap frescos of Johnny Rotten’s boyhood pony (a cover charge applies to live shows).