Let’s be straight about this: Americans have done a lousy job of memorializing their achievements in cycling. Go to Belgium or the Netherlands and bars routinely double as the home base for a great cyclist’s fan club. That ought to be the natural order of the world.
The Handlebar and Grill in Denver helps to right previous wrongs. It’s a sports bar, to be sure, but a sports bar with a twist. Owned and operated by cycling enthusiast Mike Miller, the Handlebar and Grill starts with a basic (American) premise: good food at affordable prices. The menu focuses on burgers and sandwiches, but is broad enough to please anyone thanks to its generous range of salads, steaks and pasta.
What is different about the Handlebar and Grill is its décor. Miller is a charming guy and has met the elite of American cycling. Name a name from cycling’s (American) past and you’ll see what his—or her—signature looks like somewhere within the confines of his establishment.
It’s not enough to have some cool signatures. Taking care of them, matching them with pictures and framing the stuff nicely is what gives the Handlebar and Grill its charm. Funny how a nice frame makes you take something more seriously. Hey, it worked for the Mona Lisa.
From old team pictures to promotional trading cards and race posters, Miller deserves serious pack rat props. He obviously saved this stuff for ages. You’ll recognize the cover of Winning following Andy Hampsten’s Giro win … framed along with a pink jersey signed by Hampsten. There’s a 7-Eleven jersey with pictures of each of the riders. Other jerseys include this nifty white jersey with rainbow stripes on it, a signed Coors Light team jersey and a Team Z jersey with signed photo of Greg LeMond below it. There are bikes and bumper stickers and banners a-plenty. To reveal any more might spoil the fun of discovery as you walk around the place.
If you’re in Denver, it’s worth the trip. Heck, if you’re in Colorado, it’s worth the trip.