It's hard to find a Denver neighborhood without a neighborhood bar, and it's almost as hard to find a neighborhood without a bar owned by the Little Pub Company.
Through March, the company owned fifteen establishments, including stalwarts like Don's Club Tavern, the Irish Hound, The Spot, Wyman's No. 5 and the British Bulldog.
Now, Little Pub has added four more bars to its stable: the College Inn, which has held down the corner of Eighth Avenue and Birch Street for decades; Dirk's, 7500 South University Boulevard in Centennial; Gibby's, 1555 South Havana in Aurora; and Pifler's, 11353 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood.
"It's kind of dreamy," says Little Pub founder Mark Berzins. "To have four places you know are well-run and successful. That's pretty tremendous."
Little Pub bought the four bars from the B.U.F.F. Brothers Group on April 26, and now has nineteen bars; B.U.F.F. Brothers still owns FuNuGyz in Parker.
"Our motto is, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'" explains Berzins, adding that he plans to keep the names and menus, as well as the kitchen and bar staffs. "We may tinker with some things as we get down the road, but we very much want to keep those places as they are."
Little Pub has opened a number of its own bars, including the Hound, Three Dog Tavern and The Elm, but Berzins says he's taking the advice of his new CEO, K.C. Gallagher, that it's a lot easier to buy a place that's already running.
"Why build when you can buy a local champion?" he asks. "Neighborhood bars are a universal need. They don't take a lot of effort if you have a good crew working in them. That's why we make the commitment not to mess with things too much."
And with that business model in place, Berzins adds, Little Pub could just as easily own thirty bars as twenty.
posted: January 17, 2011