Andy Hawker grew up in Simla, a small town about 45 miles northeast of Colorado Springs. He spent most of his time there working at a filling station, and when you walk into his upcoming Englewood tap house, those roots are apparent.
Lights with tires around them hang from above the ceiling. Wrenches underneath the bar are used as coat hangers, and Hawker’s bar counter features a map of the old Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago.
And even though he is opening his tap house during an uncertain time, Hawker and his wife Lisa couldn’t be more excited to serve up drinks to Englewood.
Filling Station Tap House is on track to open at 3242 S. Acoma St. in mid-August. The tap house, which can seat more than 120 customers inside and another 100 at its patio, will sell beer and wine. Eventually, Hawker said he wants to offer whiskey and plans to host food trucks.
“We’ve always had the gift of hospitality,” said Hawker. “We love to have people in our home, and we love to entertain. We wanted to share that with the greater community.”
Hawker’s family has roots in Englewood; his grandparents owned a dry-cleaning business and a sewing shop during the 1940s in the city.
Lisa Hawker said she and her husband had wanted to open Filling Station Tap House in Littleton, their hometown, but after spending the past four years looking for a location, they decided on Englewood.
“It’s up and coming. There is a lot of great stuff around here,” said Lisa.
Although the Hawkers admit that they do think about the uncertainty of what the future holds, they decided to continue with opening up the tap house as they have been planning to do for five years.
Andy Hawker said the tap house got its permits in mid-March when the coronavirus swept the world and said there have been a few logistical issues with construction because of the virus.
“We had a choice to make. Do we pause or push forward?” he said. “After coming this far, we decided we have to take a leap of faith and push forward.”
If the state were to institute another stay-at-home order, the couple admitted that Filling Station Tap House would most likely go out of business because they don’t have enough in reserves to weather being shut down.
They said they feel confident in their ability to adhere to restrictions the state has placed on establishments, such as keeping tables 6 feet apart and carrying out cleaning protocols.
“Knowing business like the Filling Station Tap is still scheduled to open amidst the pandemic is a very positive sign for Englewood. I think this shows how there’s a lot of opportunity to be a business owner in Englewood with new people and new perspectives,” said Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Carroll.