Downtown Colorado Springs Wrap-up Round-up

We love living in Chicago now. We appreciate all the things that big cities have to offer, including the progressive attitudes of the citizens and the people in charge. But Colorado Springs has its charms, and it was really hard to leave. The downtown area is very pretty with lots of trees and flowers (when the city can find it in the budget to water them) and beautiful historic homes and buildings (for now anyway). There are lots of little shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, a couple of cute parks, a public library, some art galleries, and two museums. It’s flat so it’s easy to walk or bike around, and the views of the mountains are stunning.  Here are some of the things we loved about living in downtown Colorado Springs (along with some of our gripes, as usual).

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are cautious.

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are usually pretty cautious.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast. Click this pic for their website.

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious!

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious! Probably the best bacon in the COS.

Tejon St. Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Tejon Street Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richards. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richard's. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richards.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richard's.

Paris Crepe- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

Paris Crepe -- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are fun places to sit and have a picnic.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are relaxing places to sit and have a picnic.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

 

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are little locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are great locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also  St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's pseudo honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's faux honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, The Olive Branch, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware that they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

 

We’ve devoted a lot of space on this blog to downtown, and this post is not at all comprehensive (we didn’t even mention Shuga’s!). So please check out our other posts for tons more things to do. And be sure to let us know what your favorite downtown things are and when new shops and restaurants open up! We might not live there anymore, but we still care. And of course we’ll be back at some point. Hell, maybe we’ll even come back and get that coffee truck we’ve been dreaming about rolling.

 

Gunning for second place

It’s that time of year again, where we shamelessly ask for your vote on The Independent’s annual Best of Colorado Springs survey.

Last year, we tied for third with then-Business Journal writer John Hazlehurst and decided that he must be destroyed. He has since moved to the Indy, which means that while he still pens a regular column, we have not seen any Hazlehurst-specific “blog.” Consider yourself destroyed, Mr. Hazlehurst.

The first-place winner was a coupon thing, so whatever with that. Who can compete with bargains? The second-place winner is a member of Big Media, and who can trust Big Media?

It’s time for Oinkety to be the Springs’ No. 2 blog.

You have to vote for at least 15 things for your ballot to count. Here’s a sampling of what we voted for:

  1. Best Wait Staff: Detz Cafe.
  2. Best Restaurant for Tourists: Paris Crepe.
  3. Best French Restaurant: La Baguette. The one on Chestnut.
  4. Best Patio Dining: Shuga’s.
  5. Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Taste of Jerusalem.
  6. Best Food Truck: Phat Hattie’s.
  7. Best Burger: Drifter’s.
  8. Best Place for Ice Cream: Dogtooth Cafe.
  9. Best Local Beer for Winter: Bristol’s Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, of course good luck getting any.
  10. Best Breakfast: Smiley’s.
  11. Best Caterer: Blue Sage Catering.
  12. Best Place for an Over-the-Top Gift: Pink Kitty Studios.
  13. Best Photographer: Pink Kitty Studios.
  14. Best Naughty Business: Pink Kitty Studios.
  15. Best Local Twitterer: @barelyescape.
  16. Best Local Blogger: Oinkety!

Adrienne and I agreed on a few of the categories. But we disagreed on a bunch, too:

  1. Best Neighborhood Restaurant – West: Adrienne enjoys La Baguette, but I like Cucuru.
  2. Best Neighborhood Restaurant – Central: Adrienne went with Shuga’s, while I went with Detz.
  3. Best Restaurant for Dining Alone: Adrienne would rather go to Shuga’s alone, and I prefer Poor Richard’s.

In fact, for just about every category, Adrienne picked Shuga’s. Best Happy Hour; Best Patio; Best Place for a Wedding Reception; Best Appetizers; Best Soup; Best Bartender (Kevin); Best Place for a Fancy-Pants Cocktail. Someone has a Shuga’s addiction.

Vote for Oinkety or this cat will cry

We sometimes write about cats. That alone is worth your vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day has been a week-long event for me.  Saturday was the parade in downtown Colorado Springs, last night was the Jack Quinn’s run with a St. Patrick’s Day theme and today is the actual day itself!

Jack Quinn's Running Club, St. Patrick's Day Edition, Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Jack Quinn's Running Club, St. Patrick's Day Edition, Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I don’t think too many places are having specials- it’s one of the busiest nights of the year, after all. But here are three that will have Irish food and live Irish music.

McCabes Tavern: 520 South Tejon Street, (719) 633-3300
All Day Party. The Tim Finnegan band starts at noon. Corn Beef and Cabbage, Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie and other Irish fare will be available.

Jack Quinn’s:  21 South Tejon Street,  (719)385-0766
Irish bands, Irish step-dancers and pipers provide non-stop entertainment from open to close. After 5 PM on St. Patrick’s Day: $5 cover and no minors allowed

Bands:  County El Paso 11 AM
Blackthorn 12 PM
Whiskey Monkeys 4 PM
Bullet the Blue Sky: A Tribute to U2 7 PM
Brian Clancy and Irish Row 9:30 PM
Big Paddy 9:30 PM
 

Tony’s Bar:311 N. Tejon
Corned beef & cabbage and Green beer.  Tomcat Trio will be playing live.  No cover charge. 24oz tall boy can of PBR or Miller High Life and a well shot is only $5.00. Or a tap beer and well shot for $4.00. House shot (house calls it) $3.00. Well drink $2.00. Hot dog and a bag of chips $2.00

A bunch of misc. pics

Cowboys is the Colorado Springs Gilley’s

We play this game when we’re out in the world: If we see someone who looks like a celebrity, we say, “It’s the Colorado Springs __________.”

Sometimes the celebrities are a little obscure (the guy in the blue hat — it’s the Colorado Springs waiter in that one movie with Tom Cruise with the racecar.) Sometimes the celebrities aren’t even celebrities at all. (OK. Standing by the door, with the boots. It’s the Colorado Springs my girlfriend in the eighth grade.)

The rules to this game are pretty flexible. Why am I telling you this? Because we’ve played this game all over the city, and by far, the best Colorado Springs celebrity-watching is at Tony’s and Cowboys. We’ve written about Tony’s before, but we haven’t said much about Cowboys. (Beware: Their website plays music. Ugh.)

I have a lot of mixed feelings about Cowboys. On the one hand, I can really appreciate a good country bar. On the other hand, Cowboys is only a country bar in name. It’s more like a country-themed regular bar. When Bret Michaels plays at your venue, and rap and dance music are on your playlist, you’re not a true country bar. But whatever. It’s fine. It’s also expensive. Drinks are pricey, and there’s usually a cover charge.

We went to Cowboys a few weeks ago to see the Eli Young Band. I go to these kinds of shows with Adrienne (grudgingly), and she goes to Motorhead and Black Sabbath with me (grudgingly). Relationships are about compromise.

Anyway, the Eli Young Band was enjoyable. High-energy. Personable. I’m a pretty tepid pop-country fan, but live shows are usually a good time.

Lead singer for the Eli Young Band, who played at Cowboys in downtown Colorado Springs

The Eli Young Band singer (the Colorado Springs Wayne Newton!)

Lead guitarist for the Eli Young Band, who played at Cowboys in downtown Colorado Springs

The lead guitarist (or the Colorado Springs Eddie Vedder).

Lead guitarist for the Eli Young Band, who played at Cowboys in downtown Colorado Springs

The bass player (far right) is the Colorado Springs guy from Midnight Oil

There were a lot of “celebrities” in the crowd, too. We saw the Colorado Springs Mickey Rourke, the COS Kendra (reality TV star!), the Colorado Springs Kenny Chesney. I interacted briefly with the Colorado Springs Angie Dickenson, whose view I was blocking. Sorry, Angie. The Colorado Springs Tiger Woods was there. And the COS Git-R-Done guy. All in all, a delightful, star-studded night. The crowd at Cowboys is younger, a lot of GIs from Fort Carson. A decent place overall.

And who are we in this game? Good question.

The Colorado Springs Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Adrienne is probably the Colorado Springs Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The Colorado Springs Bob Saget.

Me, I'm probably the Colorado Springs Bob Saget. Listen, we can't all be the Colorado Springs Brad Pitt.