Zooming down 6th in my car, all I saw was a sign with the glowing words 'Don's Mixed Drinks'. What could be more intriguing than a place with 'Mixed Drinks' in the name (other than perhaps one with 'Beer' in the name)? And I still remember my first time through the doors, 3-years or so ago. Since then it has had a somewhat revered aura in my head, between the crappy wood paneling, the closet sized bathroom, the shuffleboard table, the ceiling tiles that looked like they were held together by brown stains, and that name... Don's Mixed Drinks. It didn't hurt that on that first trip the whole place was enshrouded in smoke. Regardless, I was excited to make a trip back.
That trip back came last weekend. I found it to still be lovably shabby, aside from the glare of neon that now highlighted the back bar. The name had changed to Don's Club Tavern, though to my dismay I found out that may have been the name all along. The smoke had also lifted, and the clarity opened my eyes to the true identity of Don's... a grade A faux dive bar. A fro-dive, if you will. To be certain, a crappy interior does not a dive bar make. The crowd was young, smartly dressed, and enjoying plenty of Pabst Blue Ribbons. I was also unaware that the mixed drinks were mainly of the Red Bull variety. Foul. Matt and I sat anonymously at a booth in the corner, enjoying a nice pairing of a High Life bottle and a mixed drink (had to). The drinks set us back $12 (solid for four bevs), and we watched the meat market scene, one that was more LoDo than East Colfax, unfold. About the time we were finishing up our beverages and deciding whether or not we wanted seconds, I noticed a sign on the far west wall of the bar which read 'After 80 years, Don's Club Tavern is finally expanding. Track the progress at myspace.com/donsclubtavern.' Apparently even the shab was not cool enough for Don's anymore. Thoroughly defeated, we left, hanging our heads in silence and mourning the passing of a classic.
Don's Club Tavern serves mixed drinks on 723 E. 6th in Denver, right around the corner from LoDo.