Happy Tap has taken over the former Smiling Toad Brewery location at 1757 S. Eighth St. The new taproom, open daily, features 15 weekly-rotating, diverse beers on draft, wines and seltzers, and food trucks at least Thursdays through Saturdays, plus prepared foods otherwise available in-house, and Sunday pot lucks. Renovations include a new sports room with ping pong, darts and TVs with all the sports channels.
Why the sports leaning? Owner Bret Helton, 26, has pitched five seasons in the MLB, having been drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015. He’s currently a free agent, hoping to sign around Christmas, and he plans to run Happy Tap personally during his off seasons. Helton graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School, where his little brother still attends, and his father, Barry Helton played football in the NFL, helping the 49ers win two Super Bowls, in 1989 and 1990.
“This is something I can focus on in the off season to keep me busy,” says Bret. “This is my favorite place in the world, and I lived in a lot of places. But to stay here and build my reputation outside of baseball… maybe expand to another bar later… I saw the opportunity here, so I made the leap.”