The Works Cheese Steak sandwich at DannikÕs Gunbarrel Corner Bar.
The Works Cheese Steak sandwich at DannikÕs Gunbarrel Corner Bar. (Paul Aiken)

Dannik's Gunbarrel Corner Bar

Food:Two and a half stars

Service: Three stars

Ambience: Two and a half stars

Price: $-$$

Address: 6525 Gunpark Dr., Suite 380, Boulder

Contact: 303-530-7423, danniks.com

Hours:

3:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

Credit cards: Yes

Noise level: Moderate, given the friendly vibe of the crowd, and the not too loud classic rock soundtrack, although it was pretty sweet when they played "Baba O'Riley" twice in 10 minutes.

Dannik's Gunbarrel Corner Bar handily lives up to its implied billing as a convivial gathering spot for area residents to enjoy a beer and a burger. It's your archetypical friendly neighborhood sports bar, complete with enthusiastic servers and a comfortable come as you are vibe. As to the setting, there's plenty of TVs for watching sports and a unobtrusive classic rock soundtrack plays in the background, a boon to a Who fan like me. Dannik's also often hosts live music and features open mic nights.

It's not terribly surprising then that the lunch and dinner menu spotlights classic bar fare. Choices include nachos, wings, in both chicken and vegetarian versions, as well as soups, salads, hot sandwiches, and entrees ranging from quesadillas to hanger steaks. There's a breakfast and Sunday brunch menu as well.


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At a recent weekend dinner, the first item out of the gate was the top notch $5 jalapeño bacon popper appetizer. While the menu described this addictive snack as deep fried, it lacked the heavy breading one usually associates with less appealing versions. Instead, the batter-free pepper's snappy but not overly heavy heat was better able to shine through, a nice complement to the high-quality bacon's meaty smoke. Artichoke spinach dip was a lighter alternative to a traditional cheese filling, but was no less satisfying and rendered the condiment of ranch dressing somewhat superfluous.

As condiments go, the sweet chili sauce accompanying the $7 smoky Gouda mac and cheese bites was a less successful accompaniment than that which came with the poppers. A more straightforward hot sauce or even ranch dressing would have made for a better fit with the otherwise enjoyable pasta. Gouda certainly contributed more depth of flavor than one would find in a straight up cheddar-based interpretation, and expert frying made for a surprisingly light and crisp exterior.

The Ancient Grain Salad at DannikÕs Gunbarrel Corner Bar.
The Ancient Grain Salad at DannikÕs Gunbarrel Corner Bar. (Paul Aiken)

A $3 cup of French onion soup was attractively presented in a small crock, and a decently-sized crouton covered with cheese. Too often, the beef stock in this bistro classic tends towards too salty or, on the other hand, lacking in flavor. In this instance, the soup possessed a respectably meaty savor, but it was diminished by an overabundance of rosemary rendering it more piney than beefy. Had the herb not been so overpowering, this would have been one of the better onion soups around.

As a prelude to her main course, my dining companion enjoyed a small house salad for an additional $2.50. For the money, it was a good value that was better than it had to be, consisting of crisp romaine, as well as colorful carrots, tomato, topped with crunchy croutons.

My friend's entree, an $11 cod fish and chips, featured well-prepared seafood, but as one would expect, what's touted as cod these days tends toward the bland. What was more puzzling to me, particularly given the more than acceptable quality of the other fried items, was that the fries were disappointing. The menu touts these spuds as cut, rinsed, and soaked for twenty four hours, and fried twice. While the golden appearance of these potatoes provided considerable eye appeal, they were under seasoned and would have greatly been improved with less limp texture.

Our server recommended both the cheese steaks and burgers here, and the latter is available with a choice of grilled chicken or patties of either ground beef, Alaskan salmon and black beans. Classic burgers and cheeseburgers are on tap, with a total of ten cheeses available as toppings.

I opted for one of the higher end choices, the $13 Dan burger with locally raised beef. I thoroughly enjoyed the thick patty, which was juicy and flavorful, and cooked precisely to my desired medium rare doneness. A generous slab of melted Manchego cheese was a nice upgrade from typical cheddar or Swiss, offering up a deeper level of tanginess and complex flavor.

A homemade bacon jam provided a pleasingly salty and smoky counterpoint to the luxurious dairy, and the bun was admirably more substantial than the typically too soft burger bread. As one would guess, I might skip the side of fries next time, going instead for the sweet potato option or potato chips.

Dannik's generally does well in its role of serving comforting tavern fare catering to a neighborhood crowd. In particular, the burger was hard to beat, and some small improvements to items like the fries and onion soup could elevate this friendly spot from a locals hangout to more of a dining destination.