Photos: Gary Lee's Motor Club & Grub
This, declares Gary Lee Bomar, standing behind the bar of his new, eponymous Motor Club & Grub, has "always been my dream."
A dream, he continues, that's finally come to fruition after more than a year of blood, sweat and tears. "It's been a year-and-a-half process putting this together, and even four years ago, when I first looked at this building, I saw the potential, and while I still have a lot of stuff to do, it feels so good to finally be open."
It should: Bomar encountered a parade of delays and obstacles along the way, including vocal objections from the West Washington Park Neighborhood Association, which argued that a liquor license would sully the 'hood. But Bomar persevered, and on Saturday, he crossed the finish line, opening his vintage car-themed roadhouse in a former auto body garage.
And it's smashing. The exposed wood-beamed space is immersed in eye candy, with concrete floors, garage doors that open to what Bomar promises to be the "best patio in Denver -- or at least on South Broadway," black diamond tuft ceiling above the reclaimed white oak bar tricked out with rusty wrenches, shiny hubcaps from the '40s and '50s and beer handles designed from Chevy 218 piston heads (and exhaust pipes) and Flathead Ford racing pistols that double as light fixtures.
And everything in the bar, reveals Bomar, was custom-fabricated by his good friend Darren Cook, who in his spare time designs and builds amusement parks. Cook is also responsible for the bathrooms, which pimp mirrors from semis, bright-red mechanic rags in lieu of paper towels, and sparkling terrazzo countertops, which were a labor of long nights of heavy drinking. "We drank the hell out of Bud Light Platinum and Jägermeister bottles to get the glass to make the terrazzo counters," admits Cook, who claims that he and Bomar bought out every liquor store in Denver to accomplish the job.
In fact, there's so much to see -- railroad spike coat hooks and purse handles, a steel foot rail from the Rio Grande Railroad, a weathered Coca-Cola sign that takes up most of one wall, a brothel-red gas pump that Lee acquired from a nearby station, and a vintage cigarette machine that looks as though it might burst into flames -- that it's almost too easy to forget that Bomar serves a kick-ass menu of roadhouse grub, courtesy of chefs Alvie Claiborne and Nate White, who was cooking in the kitchen at Coop de Ville at the Stingray -- now closed -- before joining Bomar.