Editor’s Note: After initial publication of this story, Schmitz said he is changing the name of Muggles Pub to Telephone Pub to avoid any copyright issues.
Raise your butterbeers — a new Harry Potter-inspired bar is opening in Lakewood.
The owners of Denver restaurant group Handsome Boys Hospitality plan to open Muggles Pub at 7260 W. Alaska Drive in the Belmar shopping district.
The British pub chain Baker Street Pub and Grill operated in the space until late 2018 and then became Winston’s Pub & Grill, which closed shortly thereafter in 2019.
“When we took over the lease and walked in it just screamed London pub,” said Handsome Boys Hospitality founder Josh Schmitz. “And for us, in everything we do, we always want to add an extra twist. So, the Harry Potter-inspired theme made perfect sense. Coming out of COVID, it’s not just a good cocktail that will bring you out of your house anymore — it’s an experience as well.”
Schmitz said he’s somewhat limited by what words he can use at the bar due to trademarks. But he said Muggles Pub — “muggles” refers to non-wizards in the series by author J.K. Rowling — will feature floating candles reminiscent of Hogwarts’ famous dining room, butterbeer-like drinks and other cocktails and Hogwarts house flags. It will serve concession fare like hot dogs and nachos.
The bar will be open 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on weekends.
Another Harry Potter-inspired pop-up bar called The Wizard’s Den debuted in Denver last January at 435 W. Colfax Ave. in Denver’s Central Business District and stayed open through mid-March. The immersive bar is back again starting Dec. 1.
Handsome Boys Hospitality signed a lease for their 6,400-square-foot space in early November, and Schmitz said they expect to open Dec. 1. Josh Kruse, former general manager of Uptown’s The District, will be Muggles Pub’s new general manager.
“We have a special event permit for the month of December, and we’re partnering with Mayor Adam Paul and the city of Lakewood to continue special event permits until our full liquor license comes through,” Schmitz said. “We were approached with the idea of Belmar being the new hot downtown of Lakewood, and they knew we were the only group that could get something like this up and running this fast.”
Seattle-based real estate investment firm Bridge33 Capital purchased Belmar in June with plans to “increase the vibrancy” of the shopping center.
Josh Sampson, owner of Good Baby Management, a Denver real estate and brand development company, is also opening a Holiday Bazaar across from Muggles Pub at 439 S. Teller St. from Dec. 3-19 with more than 80 craft vendors, fashion trucks, holiday-themed pop-up bars and live entertainment, according to Belmar’s website.
Good Baby Management owns Big Wonderful, a pop-up beer garden and festival, and Garage Sale, a Larimer Square vintage clothing and vinyl shop.
“I’m a west side kid to begin with,” Schmitz said. “I grew up going to Baker Street and was raised on the west side of the town. So, this is really full circle for me and goes back to my roots. To do something for that side of town is really exciting.”
Schmitz, 35, launched Handsome Boys Hospitality with his longtime friend and business partner Nick Brown during the pandemic and has since grown it from five to 70 employees. The restaurant group has offices at 1409 Larimer St., and Brandon Jundt, founder of Denver-based Wynkoop Financial, is a partner in the business.
The restaurant group owns three themed concepts in Larimer Square: Hidden Gems, a Wizard of Oz-themed ice cream shop at 1411 Larimer St.; Drunken Bakery, an Alice in Wonderland-themed bakery on its right; and Naughty List, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar at 1403 Larimer St., which was previously Spirits, a Halloween-themed bar for the month of October.
Naughty List will be open from Black Friday until New Year’s Day, and Schmitz hopes to open another concept permanently in the space afterward.
In addition to Larimer Square, Handsome Boys Hospitality has plans to open RiNo Country Club, a putt-putt bar with a biergarten at 3763 Wynkoop St. in early 2022, and Con Safos, a Mexican party bar at 1416 Market St. in LoDo, shortly after.
“If you’re not a little bit scared, you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough,” Schmitz said in regards to the multiple upcoming openings.