Bonnie Brae Tavern demolition looms — well-known restaurant may only be open for a few more months

Potential buyers are interested in building an apartment complex with 43 homes an room for businesses on the ground floor.

Outside Bonnie Brae Tavern on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

Outside Bonnie Brae Tavern on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The owners of Bonnie Brae Tavern on University Boulevard may tear down the neighborhood watering hole and restaurant to make way for a three-story apartment building with space for businesses on the ground floor.

A concept plan submitted to the city showed a 33,000 square-foot building at 740 South University Blvd. that would include a mix of retail space, restaurants and 43 homes.

Amanda Weston, a spokesperson for the city’s planning department, said in an email Tuesday that the plans for the 40-foot building are concepts and could change before they’re formally submitted to the city for review. No formal plans have been submitted.

Property owner Rick Dire applied for a Certificate of Non-Historic Status, which the city now calls a Certificate of Demolition Eligibility, and was approved. No demolition permit has been applied for yet.

Dire bought the building in January 2019. The building, constructed in 1944, was assessed for $1.9 million.

Dire said Tuesday the bar will likely be there for a few more months as potential buyers continue mulling the sale. The city “is a changing place,” Dire said. He and his co-owners started exploring a potential sale when they considered their five-year plan. He said staffing the restaurant has been an issue for the past few years.

“We’re a little mom and pop,” Dire said. “We pay our bills and get by.”

Once issued, his permit to demolish the building is valid for five years, so it will be good until May 2024.

Hi! You’re like us!

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.