Mark Miklos and Rob Tompkins have been buddies and bikers for over a decade. For many years, they talked about “one day” opening a biker bar together, so when a local bar in Golden, CO went under in fall 2017 and the property went on the market, Mark and Rob needed very little convincing to jump in with both feet.
“It was the beginning of September 2017 and we decided to go for it,” says Rob. “There hadn’t been a biker bar on the west side of town since the Buffalo Rose shut down and there was a huge calling for a place where we could all get together.”
Not men to dither, Rob and Mark opened “Dirty Dogs Roadhouse” just a month later on October 12, 2017. Rob is the owner and Mark is the manager. (Read on to hear about the bar Mark now owns in Sturgis!)
In the month between buying the Golden, CO property and opening their doors, Mark and Rob focused intensely on the menu and entertainment.
“We have a really good menu,” says Rob. “Before we opened, we held a big taste test for 40 or 50 people and we served up all the food we were considering. We got thumbs-up and thumbs- down and we built our menu around the most popular tastes from that night.”
With one caveat.
“We didn’t take any changes or advice on our burger,” Rob states emphatically, adding with dramatic flourish, “Within four months of opening, our burger was voted the 6th Best Hamburger in Denver on the Denver A-List. I think this year we’re going to be a ‘contendah!’”
Dirty Dogs Roadhouse also hosts live musicians five nights a week, from solo acts (think: Dave Frisk, Tony Rosario) to big-name bands (think: Nightwolf, Band of Brothers). The bar has an indoor stage and an outdoor stage. Currently, the inside stage is home to the big bands while the smaller acts enjoy the outdoor stage.
According to Rob, Dirty Dogs wants to enjoy a positive relationship with its neighbors, so they are currently erecting a large wall outside to mitigate sound. Once the wall is up and other sound buffers are installed, the bigger bands will also play outside.
The outdoor stage is sponsored by Rider Justice, a motorcycle advocacy organization that I launched last year. Rider Justice offers free traffic ticket support, free insurance reviews, and fights for bikers in the courts and legislature.
Why would I launch Rider Justice? Because I’m as mad as you are about discrimination against bikers and how many bikers are hurt on Colorado’s roads. I go to all these biker rallies and there is a feeling of desperation because every single one of them can name a friend who was hit or killed by a distracted driver. They feel like they’re under assault. I created Rider Justice because I’m sick of the discrimination that bikers face in our legal system, and the injuries they sustain on our roads.
Rob says he was willing to partner with Rider Justice because, “I believe in what Scott’s trying to do. It’s an unbelievable thing. Scott has come in here multiple times and talked to Mark and me. He has a deep passion for helping bikers and he’s a solid person.”
So, here’s the recipe for magic at Dirty Dogs Roadhouse: good food, live music and bikers. But wait! If you’re imagining a scary bar where bikers toss menacing looks at each other, think again. Rob says that he and Mark pride themselves on creating a positive, welcoming environment where even families feel welcome and comfortable.
“We have high chairs for babies!” says Rob, making his point.
And, as if it wasn’t enough to open one bar, once the Golden bar was established, Mark ran out to Sturgis to open his own bar, which is also called Dirty Dogs Roadhouse. Bikers are already finding the fun bar and Colorado bikers love the feeling of “coming home” to a familiar spot.
“We offer the same burgers, the same wings,” says Rob. “Why mess with a good thing?”
Opening two bars in two different cities in one year has been a life-changing experience for the two men, but Rob says he’s “never been happier.”
“I rarely have a day off, but I’m loving it,” he says. “I used to work in a factory and now I’m my own boss. It’s twice the work but so much more satisfying.”
Visit Dirty Dogs Roadhouse online and in person (Golden and Sturgis) today!