Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Early Look inside The Black Boar in Eagle Rock (formerly The Chalet)



As you may have heard by now, or noticed, if you've driven or walked down Colorado in the past week or so, The Chalet is no more. It's been replaced by an English-style pub called "The Black Boar". The new place does not officially open until Thursday (8/20/09) but your intrepid neighborhood blogger has done some reconnaissance on your behalf to bring you these grainy, low-resolution images, giving you an idea of what is afoot inside The Black Boar.



First, the big news: the pub has three flat-screen TVs. When I walked in on Monday evening to check the place out, all three TVs were tuned into a Manchester United vs. Birmingham English Premier League game (without the sound on, thankfully). I spoke to the bartender (a very friendly guy who I believe also worked at The Chalet), who explained that they had purchased a big soccer cable package and would be showing a lot of soccer, in addition to rugby, baseball, and football. I forgot to ask, but assume they would also show basketball for big games, finals, etc. He also said that they would plan to turn the TVs off at 10 p.m. every night.



I believe the Chalet had four beers on tap. The Black Boar has eight: Hoegaarden, Downtown Brown, Old Speckled Hen, Harp, Fuller's ESB, Fuller's London Pride, Murphy's Stout, and Strongbow, I think my dark cell-phone-camera pics don't show the full line-up. All beers are $5, I believe. They've got a number of bottled beers. I was a little concerned by the presence of PBR on the bottled menu. The controversial PBR is well documented as the douchey hipster beverage of choice. I don't think anyone (aside from dangerously inebriated college students) has ever argued that the evil swill tastes good; certain people just seem to think it looks good to be seen drinking it. Picking PBR undermines any argument that one is stocking only the best beers. < / gratuitous_editorial >

They don't have food at this point, but apparently they are cool with people bringing in food. Tacos from CaCao, a burger from The Oinkster, or slices from Brownstone with an Old Speckled Hen to wash it all down? YUM.



The jukebox is where it was before, and apparently has 75% of the same music as it had at the time The Chalet closed. The walls still have the same stone look. The carpet has been taken out; there's now a hardwood floor. The booths have been replaced by rustic-looking wooden tables. Pub tables, I assume. There are lots of candles everywhere, and hanging lanterns and old-English-pub-style hanging candelabras or whatever. Rustic rustic pubby pub. The wall decor is now English-pub-style decor (bulldogs, English things, etc.). As before, a (fake?) fire glows in the fireplace.



The Black Boar was not fully open at the time of my visit, so I couldn't gauge the crowd. There were a couple friends of the management or bartenders hanging out. The discussion focused on the pot dispensary that had opened up next door and the gangbusters business the pot dispensary was doing. Someone at the bar mentioned that the dispensary had a "Wolfgang Puck" baker or chef on site to make goodies and snacks for the dispensary's customers as they treated their ailments in the dispensary's groovy lounge. (Review of new pot dispensary coming soon!)



This was just a very initial taste of the new place. I have to be honest, I mourn a bit for The Chalet. The Chalet was impeccably done, with a great theme, and a warm, cozy ambiance. It's funny that I now pine for a place that sought to simulate a place from yesteryear (old-time ski lodge) now that it's been replaced by yet another simulation of a different idealized past (the archetypal English pub with a weird, vaguely ominous name involving a lion, bear, boar, dog, or pig). Nothing lasts. That lovely old neon "Chalet" sign may be in a dumpster somewhere, or a recycling bin, or perhaps lit up and hanging in some lucky teenager's bedroom. Hold onto your old Chalet matchbooks! They're a piece of Eagle Rock history now.


All beers, on tap and in bottles, $5.

Everything changes, including the places we love. I'm going to give The Black Boar a chance. It's still our neighborhood local, as it was when it was The Chalet, and when it was Toppers before that, and as it will be when the next makeover comes around. Perhaps all will seem right in the world when I wake up at dawn next year, walk down to The Black Boar, and have a pint with some friends as I watch the World Cup.

15 comments:

Food Comma said...

the big question is: WHY?

Octopus Grigori said...

FC: That was actually my first question when I walked into the place. The bartender said "Because it was time." We didn't really get into it much further than that. I've heard rumors that the management of The Chalet was looking for a way to expand the place's appeal. I'm not sure if the place is under new ownership or what.

The redo seems to be intended to draw in a somewhat more meatheady and rowdy crowd, though the place remains a bit too subdued and dim to qualify as a sports bar. (We'll see if they hold to their TVs off at 10 p.m. rule.)

I'm trying to resist reflexively disliking the new place because it's not The Chalet -- not a super easy task. We'll see how/if it grows on everybody.

chanchow said...

scoop!

gilliebean said...

Thanks for this. My only desire for change is for them to add food.

Anonymous said...

It would be better with food. Pub and grub.

Anonymous said...

Eugh. I'm so depressed. I had no idea The Chalet was closing.

Anonymous said...

I miss Toppers.

Misha said...

NOOOOOOOOOOO! BRING BACK THE CHALET!!!

Anonymous said...

I miss Toppers Tavern: I once saw the owner punch an obnoxious drunk customer in the face then walk back behind the bar as if nothing had happened ! Classic !!

Cynthia W said...

Glad we had a chance to have a drink at Toppers in early 2000 before it went away. Like The Chalet, though, too.

hoauwant said...

I heard that the owner wanted to make the place less intimate for too many couples were making it in the booths at the Chalet. RIP Chalet. Oh, how I miss thee.

Octopus Grigori said...

UPDATE: Have confirmed that the ownership remains the same -- they just wanted to go in a different direction. I've been back a couple of times, and I have to say, the place is growing on me. The bartenders are super friendly -- and that's 80-90% of what I care about in a bar.

brandon said...

this a fucking travesty. why can't the good places simply be left alone? why does everything have to get fucked with??? stupid stupid stupid asses.

Anonymous said...

This is a free tip to any local bar owners reading, and it's what I would do if I owned a bar. In addition to allowing local eatery imports (I wouldn't allow fast food chain junk though), I would provide a sample subset of menu items from selected local eateries, and import them for customers daily. Maybe a small transport markup would cover the cost, or market price if the source offers a wholesale discount. If the eatery is close enough, or gets a piece of any markup, they might even be willing to deliver from their full menu through the back door, as if the bar had a huge kitchen hiding in back.

In a market as rich in food variety and quality as Eagle Rock, there's no reason for a good bar to compete in anything other than drinks and atmosphere. Act as a community-conscious food reseller instead of competitor. Anything that keeps people seated, drinking, and happy is good -- especially if the overhead cost is low (i.e. at or lower than the TV sports package cost). I'm sure the local restaurants would welcome the additional customer seating space.

Anonymous said...

I will have to go and give this place a chance. We used to go to the Chalet every once in a while, I don't understand why people invest so much money in a bar and then hire a bimbo for bartender, all the local bars seem to go this route. Pretty girl with the beer cap remover stuffed in her ass crack. EWE. But I loved the ambiance of the Chalet and how dark it was inside.