Then and Now
The Tavern has always been a mecca for celebrities. In this 1953 photo, a young Mickey Rooney, seated second from the left, holds court, entertaining his friends and enjoying the ambience that’s made the Tavern a legend for 74 years.
photo courtesy of the Broadmoor Hotel
The Golden Bee
An Englishman once said, “You can tell a good pub by the way it fits around your shoulders.” For more than 50 years, the Golden Bee has done just that. It’s blended warmth and friendliness, dark wood and sparkling glass, foaming ale and lively conversation.
From its opening in 1961, Brigitte “Kitty” Baschleben, one of the Bee’s original waitresses, says, “the place just hugged you.”
As you sang along to the honky-tonk piano, hoisting yards of ale, you never knew whom you could be sitting next to - from Liberace and John Wayne to Marlene Dietrich and James Brown. “The beauty of the Bee,” says long-time pianist, Bud Kruezer, “was that strangers met and linked arms and became best friends at the end of the night.”
Over the years, the pub’s popularity caused it to become too snug, and patrons had to be turned away. That’s what motivated the recent renovation.
Retaining the feeling of intimacy was paramount. As Steve Bartolin, President and CEO of the Broadmoor, says, “Very careful attention has been paid to replicate the interiors precisely so that the same look and feel of the original Bee is carried throughout.”
The downstairs area is being built outward to increase the seating capacity to 119. A wonderful storefront will capture all the details of an 18th or 19th centuryLondon pub - from leaded glass windows and hand-forged ornamental iron to flower boxes, gold lettering and gas lanterns.
An exciting new feature is a tented roof top garden which will add additional lunch and dinner seating for 40 during the fair weather months.
The original menu featured four items, two of which were ice cream and Steak and Kidney pie. The new menu will be expanded but will still offer their classic pub favorites, including Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips and English Cut Prime Rib. You can also expect to see a larger selection of single malt scotches, British and Irish beers on tap and the introduction of European “large bottle format” beers.
When the Bee reopens in April, the word is that the first song they’ll play will be “The Bee with the Sting on its Tail” from the original Bee songbook. As you link arms with the person next to you, hoisting a yard of ale, you can be sure the Bee will fit perfectly around your shoulders.
The Tavern’s Garden Room
On February 14, The Tavern’s Garden Room, now called Le Jardin, reopened with a dramatic glass-enclosed ceiling giving it an elegant European conservatory feel. The focal point, a sixteen foot chandelier fashioned from hand-forged iron works and sparkling crystals graces the entrance welcoming guests to its stunning atrium, featuring lush greenery and colorful florals.
If you close your eyes, you can almost visualize the original Garden Room, an outdoor dining area called the Tavern Lanai, which opened in the spring of 1939. Guests were served by red-coated waiters in bow ties amidst a profusion of roses and blooming plants.
It wasn’t until 1953 that the Tavern Lanai became the glass-roofed Garden Room with the addition of a fountain and two live flamingos. The plan was for the flamingos to stand in the fountain. Unfortunately, they had a mind of their own. They loved to shock diners by landing in the middle of the tables, so they were subsequently moved to the zoo.
When the Tavern opened in 1939, you could order a Club Steak for $.90 or a Shrimp Cocktail for $.40. Today, you’ll still find the best hand-cut steaks and seafood in the city, including Alaskan King Crab and Jumbo Shrimp. Two menu additions - a Dover Sole Meuniere and a Maine Lobster Thermidor - would make Spencer Penrose proud. Both are classics from the original menu in 1939.
In addition to an expanded wine list, you can also enjoy a wide range of classic cocktails, including such favorites as the Sidecar and the Negroni.
From the early days, the Tavern was a mecca for celebrities like Mickey Rooney and Charles Coburn. The Grande Dame of the Broadmoor, Julie Penrose, had her very own table, just to the left of the entrance, called the Count’s Corner, where she entertained friends and celebrities.
As you sip a Sidecar and enjoy a Maine Lobster Thermidor, you can almost feel her presence, tipping her head in greeting and welcoming you to enjoy an unforgettable evening.