06 July 2015

Art Becomes Life Becomes Art

Returning to a familiar place after being away for a long time is a bit like an out of body experience. There's a feeling of deja vu, that everything you are seeing seems right, feels right and more or less fits that map of the world you've made in your head, but there are holes in your memory that you struggle to fill in - you've forgotten this place or the name of that street, and some things you expect to be there are not.  

I've been away for awhile, and as I've been attempting to fill in the gaps and give the City of Dives landscape a fresh coat of paint in my mind, it has become clear that as time has passed the landscape has changed. This is true in the world of Dives, despite the fact that sometimes it seems to be a place where time can be trusted to stand still. 

Charlie's Silver Fox, an absolute anchor of that bit of gray area of town north of the interstate near Commerce City, is no more. Where locals will go for a beer and burrito (one of Denver's finest burritos at that) at 9 in the morning is unknown. 

Feeling Blue
The Mozart Lounge has gone the way of it's namesake and died too early a death, only to be replaced by the thoroughly unremarkable Aqua Lounge. With what shall we remember Mozart now? I hope the ancient DJ spun the Requiem before closing the place down.

Similarly, Denver Dives has not successfully navigated the sands of time, and has itself begun to emulate its very subject matter, becoming a rundown remnant of a once semi-respectable blog. Upon checking in recently, I noticed that some of the pictures on the blog were no longer showing up. The remnants of what were once pictures are there, however the pictures themselves are not. Instead there are empty frames, like broken windows. Apparently Google had taken it upon itself to delete them for unknown reasons, maybe just to see if anyone was paying attention (it's not likely anyone was). Google can do that, because they run the internet. 

Further proof that Denver Dives has found itself located on the shadowy fringes of Blog-land is the simple fact that it has not been updated since 2012. Like the bathroom in the Hangar Bar or the wall-to-wall vinyl at the Club 404 Lounge, clearly Denver Dives has fallen into disrepair. I'd like to think that all the artfully broken windows and dusty old 'vintage' content give the place some character, however we all know that the letting things fall into disrepair = character rationalisation doesn't hold much water, but like many a disreputable dive bar owner before me, I don't care. You want real pictures and fancy up-to-date information, head on down the street to Zomato!

Love them while you can, friends, because they won't be here forever. Until next time...   

17 December 2012

Lion's Lair

Colfax.  It's embedded in the Denver psyche as a relic of its past as a watering hole on the way west, a destination for trouble, the dirty bits.  Like a junky in a halfway house, though, it's pulling itself up and dusting off the 70's.  You can now go there to find a juxtaposition of trendy hipster joints and coffee houses down the block from used car lots, dirt cheap taco stands, and purveyors of all things green and leafy.  And a juxtaposition of a street is a perfect spot for a place like the Lion's Lair.   

It is tough to pin the Lion's Lair down, as from entry you're receiving conflicting signals.  Cover charge is $5.  By sheer principle a dive shouldn't charge a cover, so you're left a bit salty.  Then, of course, as this is the Lion's Lair, you're awarded with some live music for your 5 hard-earned which takes away the sting a bit.  The Atomic Americans proceed to take the stage, which is cozily jammed up in the front corner of the smallish velvet covered room (complete with Velvet Elvis; solid) that is the Lair, and they're led by a guy with a keytar.  A frickin keytar?  I fought the urge to ask for my cover charge back and ordered a beverage.  

Every Girl's Dream: A Keytar Devo Doll
After that the 180s kept coming:  Beer options covered Old Style cans all the way through to Fat Tire bottles.  A bright shiny ATM sat in the corner looking respectable, respectable until you noticed that it is from 'Metropolitan Trust', or some such obviously made up bank.  Pictures of the Lion ranged from one sultry looking porn kitty to the ferocious version that adorned the hard rockin t-shirt that I scored for $10.  And the bartender's attempt at getting me to take my shirt off in order to try on the house t-shirt ('What? I can't hear you with your shirt on!') left me feeling scared and turned on at the same time. 

Hopefully you get the picture.  The Lion's Lair is well situated on Colfax, the battle of pleasant seediness versus gentrification that is going on before our eyes, as it'll cover whatever you're in for: a cheap can of anything cold, a craft brew, or five bucks worth of live music.  And if you're in for the music, don't be dismayed if the band's sporting a keytar - the one I saw kicked ass (even though the rest of the band was only average).

You can disturb the Lion's Lair at 2022 East Colfax.

22 October 2012

Dreaming of Dives

Ever wonder what 4 years of writing about dives looks like?  It looks like a cloud of neon graffiti, shining brightly through blackness of a seldom travelled back street, somewhere off Colfax.

26 November 2011

The Lakewood Grill

Some dives are so altogether confused and dismal that they simply throw the kitchen sink at you in the hopes of getting something right.  Such is the case with one little west Colfax beauty, The Lakewood Grill, and its dizzying array of amenities that include a couple of shabby (no doubt) apartments.  To follow is my buddy and dive-kick Matt's investigation.

The combination of the vintage neon sign and Colfax Avenue location drew me in like a mosquito to a bug zapper. Upon closer inspection additional signs advertising karaoke and happy hours (plural) lets you know that this is a place that proudly serves PBR and Rolling Rock.
More than one?  Why not?

Lakewood Grill has the dubious honor of holding the oldest liquor license in Lakewood (1952), so this place has some history. There is something nostalgic about having a drink at a place that cut its teeth when Johnny Cash was releasing his first album “Johnny Cash and His Hot and Blue Guitar”.

Since its start in the 1950’s the grill added a “Sports Annex” to the building which, despite sounding like it might hold a regional NCAA final four match, or a nice squash court at the very least, is only home to a couple obligatory pool tables and a pinball machine. The menu boasts breakfast anytime and the breakfast burrito I had for dinner was tasty and a good value.
If they're going to serve
breakfast anytime, you may as
well have breakfast anytime.
On my way out my interest was piqued by the three upstairs Lakewood Grill apartments. Are these for the bar staff or raffled off to loyal patrons? One is left to wonder. So next time you are on West Colfax and need a beer, breakfast, apartment or just want to practice the Japanese art of karaoke stop by the Lakewood Grill.

The Lakewood Grill's one stop shopping can be found at 8100 West Colfax Avenue in... Lakewood. 

Win Stuff! No One Did

In my world, free stuff is fantastic.  Unfortunately last month a big pile of really nice free stuff went the way of lost socks and Nigerian millions, as the free tickets I had to the tasty food and drink event put on by 5280 magazine went unclaimed.  For my next contest, I am setting the bar higher, and aiming to actually give something away to the winner.

Thank you to Dr. Faustus and liz for the entries, but next time leave me a way to contact you!