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 It's been replaced by an English-style pub called "The Black Boar".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
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
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 The booths have been replaced by rustic-looking wooden tables.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.