Image courtesy of 3 Kilts
3 Kilts Tavern is Denver’s only queer-owned and operated Irish pub. They feature an amazing menu that boasts items that are not only made in-house but filling and unique. Try their Colcannon Bites, House mashed potatoes, rashers, cabbage and onions, breaded and fried into little croquettes. Served with homemade white gravy, it’s a stellar option. They have food specials with almost every one of their nightly events and every weekday luncheon. Including a knockout Taco Tuesday! Between the food, events, and lovely staff, this bar and restaurant are at the top of our Denver pubs list.
This homie ‘Pop and Pop’ shop recently had its 2-year anniversary! I got to sit with the owners Wayne, Bret, and Kevin right before their celebrations to talk about what makes them different from the other queer establishments in town.
GayDenver: How would you describe 3 Kilts Tavern?
3 Kilts: Three Kilts Tavern is your neighborhood bar. Your local Pop and Pop shop where everybody’s accepted. If you have a problem, get out, Take it somewhere else. Our food is made in-house. We pride ourselves on great, personable service. We keep everything light and fun but will not tolerate disrespect or intolerance.
No matter who you are, what you are, and whatever your pronouns are, come in and enjoy yourself. We want people to come and relax and enjoy themselves, have some really good food and great conversation.
GayDenver: Tell us about the three of you. Where are you from and what did you do before owning 3 Kilts?
Wayne: Kevin and I met through mutual friends about 10 or 11 years ago. And so we were hanging out as friends. And then we used to go to the black crown for a wine night with a bunch of friends. And it’s kind of a weekly thing. And that’s where these guys met.
Bret: Kevin and I met and started dating on the DL. Eventually, we announced that we were together. A few years passed and we got married.
Kevin: And we’ve been married for 6 years now.
Bret: Grew up in Wisconsin, and moved to New York City when I was 18. I went to college to be an actor and ended up becoming a bartender. I got sick of life in New York and moved here because my brother lives here. Met Kevin and the rest is history.
Wayne: I’ve been in Denver since I was about two years old. I still work full-time as an accountant for a construction company. I pop in a couple of times a week and do some payroll and you know, show my face every once in a while.
Kevin: I was with Costco for 25 years after I got out of the Navy. I was in the Navy for 10 years. Brett wanted to open a place, and I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do this’.
GayDenver: Where did your name come from?
3 Kilts: We wanted it centered around our friendship. A friend of ours made the logo for us. A lot of people don’t know that the animals on our logo are from left to right it’s us: Wayne is the bear, Brett is the otter and Kevin is the Beagle.
GayDenver: You opened during the pandemic isn’t that right?
3 Kilts: The week we were opening the city said we go to 50% capacity. We stayed optimistic and pushed take-out options. We just rocked it and the neighborhood brought us in and supported us.
GayDenver: How have things changed for you over the past two years?
3 Kilts: We opened our first location at 16th Street Mall at 16th and Champa. No matter how we decorated or changed things up we couldn’t make it feel like home, like a relaxed neighborhood vibe. It was just this big concrete space we couldn’t make it as welcoming and homie as this location feels. The rent was ridiculous there as well. We couldn’t be happier with the difference.
GayDenver: How are 3 Kilts different than other queer bars in Denver? Besides being Irish.
3 Kilts: We never made a conscious decision to try and be different than the other Denver bars. We didn’t analyze the other businesses to formulate what we wanted to do. We started with the idea, we knew we wanted it to be Irish pub, we knew what the name was going to be… Everything just kind of fell into place. All the decor on the walls was sitting in Kevin’s and Brett’s basement for years. We lead with our authentic selves and the community responded positively.
GayDenver: What kind of food do you offer?
3 Kilts: We have a scratch kitchen and there are maybe two items on the menu that we don’t make ourselves. Our food menu is available until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10 pm all other nights. We broil all the meat and shred it in-house. We make the rouxes for our soups, we bread items like fish and chips, and the list goes on. Our kitchen staff does a phenomenal job.
GayDenver: What happy hour specials or food do you offer?
3 Kilts: Oof! We have a lot! Monday- Friday we offer happy hour from 4 pm to 7 pm. During happy hour we offer $5 drafts, $4 wells, and wines.
For food, we have something good cooked every day for lunch and dinner!
Taco Tuesday: $6.00 – 3 Street Tacos – Choice of Chicken, Steak, Carnitas One Protein Per Order
Wings Wednesday: $6.00 – 5 Wings
Slider Thursday: $5.00 – 2 Sliders Choice of Beef* or Lamb* $1 upcharge for Lamb One Protein per order
GayDenver: What kind of weekly events do you run?
3 Kilts: We have events daily that are often synced up with our food deals. Every other Tuesday, we do an open acoustic jam, bring your guitar, keyboard, or whatever, and play with other people. That’s a really fun one, those sessions can last hours.
Every third Friday we have drag bingo.
Tuesday: Karaoke from 9 pm to 1 am with three street tacos for $5
Wednesday: Trivia from 7 pm to 10 pm with 5 wings for $6
Thursday: Karaoke from 9 pm to 1 am with 2 sliders for $5
Saturday: Karaoke from 9 pm to 1 am
GayDenver: If you could put anything on a billboard what would it say?
Kevin: Come to 3 Kilts Tavern and enjoy some great food and conversation
Brett: Don’t think you’re funny *erupts into infectious laughter*
GayDenver: You are gay-owned and queer-operated. Do you advertise this?
3 Kilts: We do advertise it. Just not as an end-all. We are proud to be queer-owned and operated and we do advertise that fact but we don’t identify as a queer bar. We don’t have rainbow swag everywhere, we have what represents the three of us.
We aren’t shying away either, we’ve got our flags proudly displayed. There is a massive one on the roof! We’ll always be honest about who we are and what we are about, but our sexuality is just a portion of us.
GayDenver: Is there anything you would like to say to the readers?
3 Kilts: We are a Pop ‘n’ Pop ‘n’ Pop shop. We went through a lot of struggles to get to where we are, which in a way is good. All we want is for people to come in and see what we have to offer. Everyone that comes through those doors is surprised in one way or another, whether it’s our personable service or house-made food.
Just know that these 3 kilts give a [email protected] about you. Come in and try us out, we want to meet you!