The Golden Bee in Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Golden Bee in Colorado Springs

The Golden Bee is a traditional 19th Century English Pub with a modern focus on fresh food.  Located at the historic Broadmoor Hotel, the club casual atmosphere provides a fun and memorable way to relax with family and friends after a day of hiking and sightseeing in Colorado Springs. 

If these walls could talk, they would tell almost 200 years of history, starting with how the interior décor made its way from England. 

The hand-carved African mahogany, pressed metal ceiling, and other fixtures of the pub were brought to the United States in the early 1800s, making their way from London to New York City for installation in a New York pub.  In the late 1950s the W & J Sloane Company, a decorating firm commissioned by the Broadmoor Hotel, discovered the pub interior crated in a warehouse in New York, after the original New York City pub was dismantled to make room for an apartment complex.  The décor and fixtures were shipped to Colorado Springs and have been at The Golden Bee since its opening in 1961.

Some of the armchairs came from an old British schooner.  Light fixtures were reproduced from illustrations from the gaslight era. Etched glass for the doors was produced from history books portraying pre-war English pubs.  English prints were obtained from print collectors in England.

Everywhere you look, there is a feature of interest, and most likely a great story to go along with it.

Location:   1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Menu: Dinner begins with complimentary cheese spread and crackers, a typical restaurant starter in the 1950s and 1960s that most restaurants discontinued long ago.  I love the mix of old traditions with newer trends in food.  It shows a nice balance, and that some traditions are worth keeping.

 Daily features are a throwback to family-owned British pubs, where the proprietor might just offer one choice each day.  It is also a great way to feed guests on a destination holiday, staying at the hotel, who might be eating at The Bee several nights during a week-long stay.  The daily features offer some traditional British fare, like Bangers and Mash, and Chicken and Biscuits, but also some American favorites like Crispy Baja Fish Tacos, Pulled Pork BBQ, and Cajun Crab Cakes.  Every day there is one feature available.

The Gastropub features are all offered every day and include some choices you would certainly expect in a British pub, like Fish and Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, and a classic Reuben sandwich. The Shepherd’s Pie is made authentically with flavorful lamb, not beef as some American restaurants try as a substitute.  The Golden Bee Burger gets a bit of a facelift with herbed goat cheese, tomato jam, candied bacon, arugula, and pickled red onion. I typically don’t order a burger in a restaurant unless there is something special about it.  Kudos to the Golden Bee Burger for screaming of special.  Yum! 

For those looking for a full dinner, the House Smoked BBQ Pork Spareribs might fit the bill.  Served with coleslaw, potato salad, and green chili cornbread, the half or full rack is the classic summer picnic dinner and washes down well with a local brew.

I’m noticing more and more Buddha Bowls on restaurant menus lately.  A Buddha bowl is a vegetarian option whose name comes from ancient traditions when Buddhist monks would stand in the streets with their empty bowls, relying on villagers to fill them with donations of food.  It is a reverent title for, “a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but no meat.”  The Buddha Bowl at the Golden Bee was delicious and full of variety, with a combination of seared tofu, brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, mushrooms, edamame, sweet potato, steamed cabbage, and fresh vegetables.  The waiter even asked if I would like to top it with some fish or chicken, which would technically make it no longer a Buddha bowl, but would still be a healthy, delicious choice.

If the delicious food and historic décor aren’t enough to get you to make a reservation at The Golden Bee, then perhaps the large selection of British beers and ales, as well as a few local varieties will do the trick.  Ordering a yard of beer, served in a graceful 3 feet tall glass, complete with a wooden stand, is a tradition brought to the United States from Daphwood House in Buckinghamshire, England.  For the less ambitious, half yards are available.  The novelty is the same, the volume is just less and probably means fewer trips to the restroom.

The Colossal Pretzel Twist comes to the table hanging from a hook on a stand.  Too large to put on a plate, it is a great shareable item and pairs nicely with yards of beer. 

Thoughts: We began our summer evening at The Golden Bee with dinner on the patio.  The open-air bar covered by a green and white striped awning allowed the fresh mountain air to cool us down as the sun set.  After dinner we moved into the lower pub, where a nightly highlight is the Ragtime piano player who entertains for two hours until songbooks are passed around, spirits have warmed up the crowd, and it is time for a sing-along that lasts until midnight.  The repertoire is deep, including patriotic songs, college anthems, songs from summer camp, and over 100 years of classics, sure to please every generation.  The pianist even knew many movie theme songs, popular with the younger guests.

The Golden Bee knows what people need after a big day of hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, or whatever else people go to Colorado Springs to do.  A fresh, delicious dinner, a few brews to relax tired muscles, and some laughs around the piano are a great way to end a day.

The service was attentive and prompt.  Without question, the Golden Bee is experienced in catering to all ages of guests, families on vacation and businesspeople at conferences.  This is definitely an American classic that shouldn’t be missed.

Price Range: Appetizers $10-$16.  Soups and Salads $6-$12.  Burgers $6-15. Entrees $16-$29. 

Victoria Hart

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