Among the hundreds of Irish pubs located all over the United States, the Irish Snug is truly unique. It this isn’t because of the vast array of beers it serves, or the unique two-story construction that houses a comfortable basement bar with velvety red couches and bar stools. It is not unique because it hosts a Monday night Bingo that is free to enter but has an over one hundred dollar jackpot.
It is unique because of its love for fitness. And since actions speak louder than words, the Irish Snug does just that: with the Snug Run.
Before the Snug Run was established, the concept the snug came about in Ireland. If you are wondering what a “snug” is, chances are you are one of the many people who envision bar patrons wrapped in warm cozy blankets, taking a snooze or watching television. This is far from true.
The snugs were private rooms with bar access that emerged in Ireland in the late 19th century, and was named thus probably because of their tiny size. Despite its tiny size, it had a massive aura of privacy to it, since all windows were set above head height and made of frosted glass. Historically, snugs were frequented by individuals who preferred privacy over festivity.
These people included women in a time in which drinking by that gender was frowned upon, or forbidden lovers who did not want to publicly parade their romance in large, crowded bars. Whether you were afraid to be chastised or simply just a shy person, a snug was a perfect place to take your evening drink.
The Irish Snug in Denver has a mix of this history and the modern. While having small, semi-enclosed spaces that are intimate and appealing for those who want privacy, the Snug also features larger, open spaces for those who have larger parties or simply enjoy being out in the open.
The first floor has clear glass windows along one entire side, displaying the comings and goings of those on East Colfax Avenue. The second floor, located in the basement, has a cozier feel, featuring couches to lounge on and a few large televisions mounted on the walls.
While it is always exciting to take a trip to the Snug, one of the premier reasons that makes the Irish Snug so great is its love of exercise and outdoor activity, also known as the Snug Run.
Only known via word of mouth by those living in the area, the Snug Run attracts visitors from all over the Capitol Hill and Uptown neighborhoods and beyond. Every Thursday night, beginning from 5:30 to 6:00pm, the Irish Snug hosts a 5k run, in which the reward is half-off drinks at the bar and a free spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad dinner.
Before beginning, participants arrive at the Irish Snug, where they jog down to the basement and sign their names in the sign-in sheet to confirm participation. This is important, since after ten runs, the Snug awards the veteran with a free t-shirt and a picture on their website, a type of 5k Digital Wall of Fame. When the signing is done, participants can begin their run at any point afterwards.
During the 5:30 to 6:00 timeframe, many individuals in athletic gear can be seen outside, stretching and chatting with friends or other regulars. Some have dogs in tow, hoping to give their friendly canine friends a little exercise as well. Finally, when all the stretching and conversation is done, runners begin down the street, the beginning of the 5k.
The entire run cuts through few regular streets, but mostly runs through the scenic Cheesman Park. Since it is not a race, participants can go as slowly or as quickly as they like. Some chat with friends in a leisurely jog, while others time themselves while running at a furious and seemingly impossible rate. Whichever your pace, you are guaranteed a workout.
Once the 5k is over, runners can head down to the basement. Some purchase half-price beers with friends and sit in the stools or couches. Others stand in the quickly-moving dinner line, which works buffet style: on one side of the pub, waiters and waitresses bring out large bowls spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, garlic bread, salad, and an array of salad dressings. Runners are seen sitting leisurely in the basement nooks provided, or on a warm, sunny day, take it outside to the patio, where they can chow down under the Denver sun. Whichever the choice, no runner is left hungry.
And the best part? All the food is free, a simple and delicious reward for the difficult yet similarly rewarding work of running a 5k. The Snug Run happens all year long, rain, snow, sleet, or shine, so the truly dedicated can enjoy the benefits of exercise and free food during every season.
Whether you’re an avid runner, a leisurely jogger, or someone who just enjoys Irish pubs, the Irish Snug is the right place to go. The Snug is traditional with a modern mindset, mixing the intimacy and privacy of the traditional snug with the social and exercise-oriented mindset of their patrons of today. Whatever the reason, the Irish Snug fits the needs of everyone who wishes to experience the best Irish pub in Denver.
The Irish Snug, you are tickle city!