A kitschy glowing-blue placard reading “Cocktail Lounge” hangs at knee height by the door, both a Lite-Brite® invitation to take yourself less seriously and a sign of the spirit of the establishment. Named from the combination of two public houses in some forgotten town in England, the Wobbly Olive, a Colorado Springs bar and restaurant in the First and Main Town Center, is a safe space in all the best hopes of the term. This place was made for you to come in, sit down, and be whoever you are.
Started in a conversation after a mediocre restaurant experience and conceived as a space where conversations are the center piece, Wobbly Olive is a committed practitioner of the dwindling art of genuine listening. Proof: in the bar environment where numerous televisions are de facto wall decor, Wobbly Olive has just one, not too big, hung behind the bar, not always switched on, only to check the score, and only on important game days. The place appreciates the sincere longing to hear and be heard—the staff are conversationalists, the bar a platform for interaction, the dining tables aligned for dialogue.
The listening runs deep here. Owner Sean Fitzgerald and Executive Chef Supansa Banker have regular meetings at which they eat, eat, eat, listening to their palettes, generating award winning plates. The drink menu listens to the creative past, listing the Archbishop, a port wine based drink they found in a cocktail book dating to 1888. Sean listens to the present, too: he created a drink on the spot, calling it the Sour Old Lady. Ask for it, and tell them The Locals Bureau sent you. The whole place listens attentively to the moment: one couple who met at the Wobbly Olive returned some months later in wedding gown and tuxedo, ready for an impromptu wedding. The staff quickly transformed the dining area into a make-do chapel, and the couple walked out as newlyweds.
Sean is equally attentive to the future. He sees Colorado Springs as a unique melting pot, an amalgam of tastes, hopes, visions, and expectations. But what Sean is most attuned to is what’s next; he sees himself as partly responsible to the next generation of Colorado Springs' small business owners, giving his time and experiences to propel them into their entrepreneurial dream.