Bonnie Brae is one of the most sought after neighborhoods in Denver and personally one of our favorites. The word “Bonnie Brae”, means “pleasant hill” in Gaelic and this wonderful urban neighborhood, with it’s curving tree lined streets filled with English Tudors, Cape Cods, and brick ranches, makes for the perfect idyllic urban setting. I’m not exactly sure where the “hill” is, but even back in the 20’s developers understood good marketing.
The neighborhood was planned and named by an influential Denver city planner and landscape architect named Saco Reink DeBoer. DeBoer was partially responsible for such Denver signature landmarks as the Botanic Gardens and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Houses were first built in 1923 but development stalled in the late 1920’s when the developer, Associated Industries, went bankrupt. The majority of construction occurred in the 1940’s and 50’s, so there is a real mix of architectural styles throughout the area. And as with other central Denver neighborhoods, some of the smaller homes are being torn down to make way for large modern homes with wonderful open floor plans and amenities.
The Bonnie Brae strip along University Boulevard is home to some terrific local merchants (no big chain logos here). Some of my favorites are the Bonnie Brae Ice Cream, Fisher Clark Deli, Bonnie Brae Liquors, and the Bonnie Brae Tavern.
The Bonnie Brae Tavern has been the rock of the neighborhood since 1934 and I’ve been going there for over 30 years. In fact you just might find ous there on a Sunday night after working with clients all weekend. The pizza is great and the beer is cold. It’s an authentic neighborhood institution.