It’s a perfect 78 degrees, an affable breeze offers its cooling gift, and the sun settles low against the mountains: a summer evening in Colorado Springs. While the scene is familiar and welcome, its happening in a city that is changing. One of the best, most welcome developments is on the food and drink scene, and the easiest way to explore it is with two-for-one drinks in the Colorado Springs Passport Program.
5:36pm This evening’s itinerary includes two stops—Pub Dog for drinks while the dogs play, and later Axe and the Oak for whiskey while the music plays.
5:44pm Anna, Dan, Dan, Karen, Jeremy, and Jeremy (more people, fewer names, makes it easy) order beers inside (two Princess Yum Yums, two Elephant Rocks, a Blueberry Cider, and a Habanero Hunny) and take the dogs out to the astro turf to run with their pack. The space is ideal: humans sit, drink, and laugh while dogs do the dog-equivalent of sitting, drinking, and laughing. Food: it’s a Tuesday, and Tuesdays mean tacos at Pub Dog.
6:30pm Dogs are done, tacos are gone, drinks are empty, time for the next stop. The dog-owners call it a night, while the rest meet some new friends at Axe and The Oak. Jordan and Brooke set up for the cornhole match, James and Brea catch up at the bar before joining the crew outside. Inside is dark and moody, but vibrant and packed with sound and happiness. Fire and ice, char and lemon and tobacco: machinery of the magic behind the bar, apparatus of the alchemy behind the best whiskey drinks in this city.
6:52pm Brea and James join Brooke and Jordan and the rest around the table outside. A spread of appetizers grace the table, a drink rests in every hand (thanks to the Passports), and competition swells (thanks to the cornhole). “It’s just a friendly match,” someone says, “we don’t need to keep score” they remark, scratching columns on a chalk board “just in case.” The match is kept cordial by the drinks they’re all enjoying: a Tobacco Old Fashioned, a Wet Indecent and Happy, a Pledge, and a Noble Experiment. Everyone agrees theirs is the best.
7:28pm The cornhole match is over, and having genuinely not kept score, the crew winds down, conversation around the table closes out the evening. Two stops tonight on the Passport Program; two-for-one drinks at 38 more establishments to go, establishments that are serving up unique-to-Colorado-Springs experiences, giving this city its voice, changing this city into what it can be.