19 December 2009

Crown Burgers

It struck me the other day that there was a major omission in my investigation of Denver dives - the greasy burger joint.  What list of dives can call itself complete without the inclusion of a fast food hamburger stop?  The hamburger is a widely interpreted dish, from the 99 cent variety, to the 15 dollar posh version with fancy meat all sorts of shiny gear on top, even to those that are starting to pop up on the menus at Mexican restaurants.  This makes it a perfect engine for a dive, as many of the interpretations find themselves on the soggy buns end of the stick.  In an attempt to fill this gap in my research, and fill my belly, I made a beeline to Crown Burgers for lunch. 

Crown Burgers has the look of a dive down pat, with the dated exterior, the antique drive thru sign (including duct tape!), and the absurd specials plastered on the majority of the window space, screaming at you to buy a gyro sandwich for $4.19.  I assumed that when digging into a basket at the Crown Burger your head ends end up in such a grease-and-meat induced fog that natural light is unnecessary.  Whatever the rationale, I was excited to get inside.

Crown Burgers is done up in classic fast-food joint decor: semi-greasy off colored laminate booths throughout, a counter to order at, and a hand-operated menu on the wall complete with worn-out pictures of the food.   Tacky menu pictures are a favorite of mine.  Unfortunately it seems that these days only the Chinese (with a few exceptions like the Crown, of course) continue to excel at making patrons uninterested in eating their food prior to ordering through the use of unappetizing pictures of their food.  The hallway to the restrooms was decorated with a stack of ceiling tiles that had apparently been forgotten about, as they were sorely needed in the front of the restaurant.  However, those stacked in the hallway were white, so perhaps they were being allowed to season in the back hallway to better match the greasy off-white tiles throughout the restaurant.

Crown Burgers is the home of the Royal Burger, otherwise known as the Royal Pastrami, otherwise known as the Pastrami Burger, a hamburger with pastrami on top (go figure).  There was also the Double Royal, but I shook off the notion, as it could possibly have temporarily paralyzed a small guy like myself.  The rest of the menu was a cornucopia of different heart-attack specials, (smothered chili-cheeseburger, et al) so I decided to stick with the house specialty and a 'Mixed', a combo order of fries and rings.  Arriving at my booth several minutes later was a good sized cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and onion... and then a heaping pile of pastrami.  It was like two sandwiches for the price of one, score one for getting a good deal.  The lady taking my order at the counter, who I believe was Stella, one of the owners, had given me the option of foregoing the roughage, but I didn't want to be too much of a savage and declined her offer.

First the Mixed.  Delicious as any fried bit of mung, the interesting thing here was not the fried bits themselves, but the sauce that came with:  Creamy, yellowish in color, definitely special, the consistency of mayonnaise, but not exactly straight out of the jar.  There was something else going on but I could not put my finger on it, as it really had no appreciable flavor.  I decided it's sole purpose in life was a calorie booster, as if you needed one after the rest of the meal.  Crown doesn't bother charging you for their boost, though, like some of those juice places do.  More value!

I eyed the Royal like a quarterback dissecting a defense.  Biting into it was a challenge due to all the extra baggage, and I would not recommend attempting this without a large pile of napkins at the ready.  The burger itself was nothing special - not over cooked, not under cooked, marginal seasoning.  The toppings were OK, and the bun was actually not that jacked up with soggy bits.  The pastrami had the flavor, and turned my notion of a good burger a bit sideways.  I wouldn't call it pure genius, but I would call it damn tasty.  Made me feel like a man.

Crown Burgers was my first attempt at a dive burger joint and in the end hit all the marks.  I left the Crown happy, a couple pounds heavier after the Royal Burger and Mixed, but lighter overall having filled the hole in my resume.

Crown Burgers is located at 2192 S. Colorado Boulevard, and has a junk website at crownburgers.org (as if they are a non-profit or something).  Treat yourself to some special sauce.

Crown Burger on Urbanspoon

04 October 2009

An Especially Dirty Martini

I just had an interesting thought about the bacon-tini. The good folks at The Berk certainly did a good job filtering out the bacon from their infused vodka. Maybe as a special some night, they should offer the Extra Dirty Bacon-tini, one that still has little chunks of bacon floating around in it. A cocktail you can chew! Then maybe garnish it with a nice slice, fried up crispy. Delicious.

03 October 2009

The Bacon-Tini

'Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal.' - Jules

The last couple of years I have noticed an abundance of praise and love being expressed for pigs. Celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain gush about its deliciousness. Great book titles like
The 2007 Report on Pork Rind Pellets and Pork Cracklings Made in Slaughtering Plants: World Market Segmentation by City (available on Amazon.com for a mere $795) or Pig Perfect: Encounters With Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them have hit the shelves in bunches. With that kind of coverage, what more could I tell you about pork that has not already been written or said? Maybe this: Hog makes a tasty beverage.

The Berkshire, a Stapleton restaurant that could be better described as a pig pleasure palace, offers a variety of martini called the bacon-tini. Normally The Berk wouldn't warrant mention in a blog about dives, but there was something about a cocktail-meat combo that got my attention. I like a martini now and again, and I enjoy a breakfast with hog, so why not? The bartender laid out the details for me: It's a dirty vodka martini with a couple olives. Key is the Svedka vodka that has been 'infused' with Daily's premium bacon, fancy speak for throwing some bacon in your vodka and letting it sit around for a couple days. I liken it to infusing the milk in your cereal bowl with cocoa crispies. Same principal. You can do this at home.

My Bacon-tini arrives and I promptly spill a quarter of it all over the bar. It takes a bit of restraint not to start sucking up martini off the bar, but I persevere. That's 2 bucks in a puddle! I further persevere and have a drink: it's got the warmth of a regular martini, but more depth and a fantastic peppery smokiness that could only come from the bacon. Pretty nice. The bacon really works. And I am not typically one for a dirty martini and the olive that comes with, but I even managed to choke that down.

Jules speaks many truths, and a pig may indeed be a filthy animal. However, perhaps the cocktail is the perfect hog delivery: If you drink enough bacon-tinis, who cares how filthy the pig was?

The Berkshire is located at 7352 E. 29th Avenue. The bacon-tini will burn a hole in your wallet at $8 a pop, but it's probably worth a go. 

Berkshire on Urbanspoon

11 June 2009

The Zephyr Lounge

I've always liked the idea of time travel. Go back in time and right wrongs (like that time I lost the 5th grade city-wide spelling bee on the word 'detract'; I spelled 'detracked', what am I, a mind reader? That garbage is still under protest ) go find out who shot Kennedy, or maybe even jump ahead a couple years to see if Mr. A's is still the friendliest lounge in Denver, or if the Cubs ever win the pennant. Alas, time travel has been thus far in history relegated to the movies and television, despite all the hard work done by Mr. Einstein in laying the whole thing out for us with his Theory of Relativity. Think of The Theory of Relativity as Einstein saying, 'Look, time travel is possible, and here are some numbers and letters that prove it.' Nice tune, Al, but the common dude can't dance to it. Time travel is indeed possible - I experienced it for myself the other night at The Zephyr Lounge - and I'm going to tell you what color the velvet drapes are. The best part: You too can travel through time, if you are ok with only being able to go back to the year 1981. Here are five things you should know for your trip:

1. There are colored lights involved. You are bathed in blue light upon entering the vestibule at The Zephyr Lounge, your first sign that something is amiss. Passing through the vestibule, my intrepid party and I felt a strong pull, one that was telling us to belly up to the bar. I could have sworn there was a hint of High Karate in the air, though that could have been Jeff's deo. We followed our noses to the bar, probably about 10 seats long, and immediately swung around to survey the landscape. The patrons all appeared to be fairly worn out and easily pushing 50. Which brings me to the second thing you should know,

2. The people stuck in 1981 are old. Several of the hairstyles could very well have been found at a backyard barbecue at Archie Bunker's house. Glasses were big (is that in style again? I could be out of the loop) Five or six members of a band were jammed together at one end of the bar, and had people dancing in the aisles. Literally, as there really wasn't enough room for much of a dance floor. The gray hairs and odd floral-print shirts of the band, not to mention the caliber of music, indicated that this was a weekend hobby for most of the members. Regardless of the fact that the crowd loved the mix of oldies garbage,

3. The music sucks. Maybe we were there on a bad night, as I don't want to anger any of the Kim Carnes or Eddie Rabbitt fans out there, but my God. When you are packing for 1981, make sure you throw some ear plugs in with a change of underwears, just in case. The only thing I loved about the band was the fact that there were so many members (and the barroom was so small) that they blocked the entrance to the bathrooms, and at several points right in the middle of a song, some guy straight off of That's Incredible! would be fighting his way through the band trying to get to the john. And speaking of God, he was sitting opposite the band in his own booth. That brings me to item number 4,

4. You'll find God at The Zephyr. Not necessarily find him, but he'll be there... a fancy statue and some God related decor, wall hangings and such, anyways. I found the God corner to be a nice touch - something slightly disturbing while being oddly comforting at the same time. Which brings me to the final thing you should know,

5. The hospitality is fantastic. The Zephyr did a fine job of making those of us from not around 1981 feel comfortable. For starters, to save confusion, every bottle, can, and decanter in the place had a price tag on it, very clearly illustrating the cost of getting hammered in 1981. Quite useful! Worth mentioning as a sidebar is that one of the offerings that I enjoyed was Hamms in a can. It was a good accompaniment to time travel, as it tasted like it was from the 80's. More amenities: Need a smoke? Despite smokers probably being relegated to the newly refurbished (for 1981, this probably means that they just laid down some green Astroturf that isn't pock marked with cigarette burns) patio area, for all the puffers out there The Zephyr provides an old-school smokes dispenser with a sign announcing 'Yes it works!'. And finally, if you have one too many well-labeled beverages and find yourself in need of a place to crash, The Zephyr can help you out with that as well. That's right, head outside past the newly refurbished patio and you'll find yourself at The Zephyr's very own motor lodge. What more could a guy ask for? Fantasy suites. You'll have to see it to believe it.

In the end, the secret to time travel wasn't a fancy contraption, a worm hole, Einstein’s letters and numbers, or driving 88 miles-per-hour (though that would certainly get you there quicker, probably even faster if you did it in a late model Camaro), it just took a short trip down Colfax and knowing which street corner to stop at.

The Zephyr Lounge is located at 11940 E. Colfax in Aurora. If you see the blue lights and purple velvet drapes, you’ll know you’re there.

02 May 2009

Dive-Off Part 2: The Breakfast Queen

I had butterflies of anticipation. Was The Breakfast Queen feeling the same? Was The Queen ready to fight back? The sign on the door told me no: it sweetly asked its patrons to have patience while waiting for a table, as The Breakfast Queen is a small family joint and everyone deserves their turn, and why don't you hold hands and sing Kumbaya while you wait. Ok, I made that last part up, but you get the gist. Those aren't exactly fightin' words. But as I took The Queen in, I started to get an inkling that the first ever dive-off wasn't going to be a TKO to the Breakfast King in round 1. Gumball machine in the hallway where we waited for a table, specifically put there to taunt my son? Check. Throng of local yokel patrons, from the young and surly to the old and innocuous? Check. Crappy wood paneling? Check, though much was covered up by the wall of mirrors that I assume were utilized to lessen the feeling of claustrophobia brought on by The Queen's lack of elbow room (the total table count = 15). Don't trust your patrons enough to accept credit cards? Blow to The Breakfast King's kidneys. Motley Crue on the radio? Dr. Feelgood indeed.

This was shaping up as a pretty good battle, but there one problem that became apparent by the end of the meal: It's hard to call The Breakfast Queen a dive. The food is nice - my breakfast burrito was certainly better than the bomb I got at The King (not to mention the burrito). The service is fantastic. Our waitress hugged some of the regulars as they left, and even succeeded in making us, a party of two first timers and one unruly kid, feel like we were frequent diners. It's not overly shabby - heck, even the carpet is presentable. There is really nothing to raise an eyebrow at, other than perhaps the array of posters of the Greek Isles that line the back hallway, making you think for a moment that you were walking into an office of the Greek Board of Tourism. If I didn't know any better, I was back home in Iowa at the local small town diner, where everyone knows everyone else and you keep coming back for the good company as much as you do for the food. In the end it was a tough call, but the first ever dive-off has to go to The Breakfast King by virtue of DQ. While I am not thrilled in ending a dive-off this way, I have no regrets about spending part of my morning at The Breakfast Queen. It's a fine breakfast option, dive or not.

The Breakfast Queen #2 (no relation to Breakfast Queen #1) sits unassumingly at 3454 South Broadway in Englewood. 

Breakfast Queen Restaurant # 2 on Urbanspoon

24 April 2009

Get Ready for a Dive-Off! Breakfast King vs. Breakfast Queen

The world is crazy for competition. Think about it - everywhere you turn there is some kind of competition thrown at you for entertainment purposes. From the mundane (bingo), to the absurd (a video game called Deca Sports 2 for the Wii will let you compete in synchronized swimming), to those so ridiculous I cannot help but pay attention to (The World Beard and Moustache Championship; I'm partial to the Freestyle categories myself), there is something out there to suit everyone's palate.

In order to keep up with the zeitgeist, I've decided to start up my own meaningless competition - The Dive-Off. There lots of dives out there, and distinguishing them is oftentimes challenging, so the idea is to drop them into a head-to-head match of bowel twisting and verbal abuse, and see which dive comes out the other side with its shuffle board intact.

What better starting point than The Breakfast King versus The Breakfast Queen? Two Denver institutions touting breakfast food with similar diner-style settings allows a pretty fair comparison, not that being fair is in any way paramount. The King obviously feels a bit superior to other joints, calling itself The Breakfast King and all. I'd certainly be ticked off were I a breakfast restaurant. This thing is getting hot, so let's get rolling! The Queen being outranked, I decided to hit The Breakfast King first.

136. That's how many items I counted on the menu at The Breakfast King. 136 - and that's not counting the multiple varieties of a single item, such as the omelette with cheese, or ham, or ham and cheese... and despite the name, its not all breakfast food. Anything from liver and onions to a bowl of cereal can be had. The maddening number of choices on the menu fits right in with the atmosphere of the place. It's as much bus station at rush hour as it is diner. When I arrived with my family in tow, the front door was blocked by people in line at the cash register. Once we navigated past that, we had to squeeze by a large group waiting for a table, slide around the gumball machine, and then twist our way through a maze of booths to get to where we ended up sitting. At one point, while trying to return to our booth from outside, I turned right instead of left at the gumball machine. I ended up at the lunch counter and eventually had to wander through the kitchen to find my seat. There are literally booths, tables, and chairs occupying every square inch of tattered carpet. Just about all of them were occupied with locals, half of which looked like they just rolled out of bed.

The Breakfast King has sat on its corner of Santa Fe and Mississippi since 1975, and the lady working the register told me that most of the people working there had been around since the beginning. Our waitress was certainly no exception - she looked like she had been continually adding makeup to her face every morning for the last 30 years, resulting in something that looked like the EPA might ask to have cleaned up along with the old Gates rubber factory across the street. Indeed, when my wife spilled water down the waitress' leg, she responded by doing a little jig - that's seasoning. The decor apparently hadn't changed much since the beginning either, between the crappy wood paneling and the brown and orange glass light fixtures that looked like they'd been picked up at a garage sale. There was a sign posted advertising Wifi that seemed a bit out of place. My hope was that someone had stolen the sign from a local Starbucks and put it up as a joke.

I settled on the chorizo breakfast burrito off the breakfast specials board and a cup of coffee, which saved me 15 minutes of wading through the menu. Does that make 137 items? Regardless, it was a pretty pedestrian breakfast burrito overall. It consisted of unseasoned eggs wrapped in a tasteless tortilla, covered in tasteless cheese, boring hash potatoes (potatoes on top of the burrito is a variation I've not seen before, and did not necessarily enjoy) and average green chile. And the coffee was rubbish as well. I may have been better off had I taken the time to peruse the menu aside from just counting items for my own enjoyment.

One of the highlights of traveling for me is having the opportunity to hang out at the airport. The hectic buzz of it all, the crowds of people all with an unknown destination and story, I find extraordinarily interesting. I think that's why I enjoy The Breakfast King so much. It's got a similar buzz about it, and the fact that you can get a gigantic plate of food for cheap gets you in the door. The Breakfast Queen has a tough act to follow.

Stay tuned kids - The Breakfast Queen is getting oiled up and ready to rebut.

The Breakfast King holds court at 300 W. Mississippi in south Denver.

Breakfast King on Urbanspoon

06 April 2009

High Tech!

Men and women ages 24-35 approve of the fancy map of the Denver dive bar world that I just added to the bottom of the blog.

01 April 2009

Barry's on Broadway

I stopped in to Barry's on Broadway the other night to check things out. While it is far too well kept up and organized to be a dive bar per se, it does have some redeeming qualities.

The first thing I laid eyes on upon entering was a naked female mannequin behind the bar. Interesting. It almost succeeded in sending me back out to Broadway. Scanning the crowd trying to ascertain the type of establishment, I gained some comfort in seeing a docile looking mixed bunch - the greasy guy who looked like he had been there drinking for 12 hours, a girl dressed in a pirate shirt (I gave her the appropriate 'Argh!'), and some 20-somethings carousing. The lack of stripper poles, chain link, or strobe lights also eased my mind a bit.

Most of the lighting is supplied by overly gaudy glass chandeliers, a touch of class that I found humorous in the bar setting. Finally, the men's restroom sported trough urinals, one of my favorite john accoutrements. Two-man capacity at 5 pm, three-man at midnight.

Barry's isn't the diveiest of dives, so if you are looking for someplace that makes you feel like you are in danger, go elsewhere. It is interesting enough to drop in for a beverage, though.

Barry's on Broadway is located at 58 Broadway in Denver.

Barry's on Broadway on Urbanspoon

24 March 2009

The Lancer Lounge

'I promise it's not a gay bar,' Matt told me as we made our way to The Lancer Lounge. Not that it mattered, despite the fact that we were two dudes out on the prowl together. Ok, not exactly prowling... our objective could be better described as slow-moving loitering. Luckily that type of attitude turned out to be par for the course at The Lancer, which is right up our alley.

The Lancer is located interestingly enough next to some uber-posh restaurant Matt had been to on a previous occasion, the patrons of which glare at you through a plate glass window as you pass. He described it as the type of place where you eat dinner, leave, then have to go somewhere else to eat dinner again because the piece of asparagus and medallion of beef they charged you $22 for did not quite cut it. The Lancer was quite the opposite. Everyone is too content or inebriated to glare, and we drank all night for $24.

To call The Lancer cozy is a bit of an understatement. The dark wood paneled ceiling was low enough to make you think you were in someone's basement. A sign on the cash register stating 'No Tabs!' welcomes patrons. The full bar, overwhelmingly full, has bottles stacked and crowded on every inch of open real estate on the back bar, some teetering on the brink of disaster. Speaking of the back bar, there was a small window there that looked through to the game room where a pool table and a crappy pinball machine reside. A nice touch. At one point during the evening, the bartender shouted 'Steve! Window!' to the other guy working there (for some reason they needed a multi-person staff to serve the six patrons). Steve proceeded to head around to the game room where the bartender set up a couple of shots in the window that they pounded. Steve then returned to whatever it was he had been doing. A bar staff that is drinking always gives me encouragement.

The crew of drinkers kept things interesting. There was the token guy sitting in the corner by himself getting blitzed on pitcher after pitcher of beer. Not much to talk to, but fun to watch. There was the pony-tailed bartender, dressed suavely in his white jeans and white fruit-of the loom T. He could easily have doubled as the bad guy on any given episode of C.H.i.Ps. Sitting next to us at the bar was a friend of ours, at least he acted as such. He stared at us quite a bit, alternating between an uncomfortable grin and a painful grimace, and grunted in our direction every so often. You cannot get much better than that, and you cannot get much better than The Lancer Lounge for a solid dive bar.

The Lancer Lounge is located at 233 E. 7th. Don't even think about opening a tab.

Lancer Lounge on Urbanspoon

08 March 2009

The Montview Bar & Grill

The Montview Bar & Grill: So much promise, so very little delivery. Located on a dark and cranky section of east Montview, its location has the makings of a great one. Unfortunately judging dive bars by their exteriors is as fickle a business as judging beers by their fancy labels. The night I pulled in, the place had the atmosphere of a senior center. A bunch of kids were playing slow games of pool in a large, well lit room off to one side. Most of the patrons in the main bar sat around watching with disinterest as a DJ tried in vain to drum up support for his karaoke session. We hardly lasted a beer.

The Montview Bar & Grill is located at 11680 Montview in west Aurora, up near Fitzsimons.

07 March 2009

The Sports Station Bar & Grill

I had a good feeling about The Sports Station Bar & Grill before going in the door, just based on the homemade sign out front, that was leaning curiously. And it did not disappoint.

The Sports Station Bar & Grill earned high marks as a dive bar. It had Busch on tap, a lousy beer if there ever was one, unless you are drinking in St. Louis (I've done that, and even in St. Louis I'd call it marginal). There was a bar know-it-all, a guy in overalls looking like he just rolled in from a Dexy's Midnight Runners tryout, who insisted to anyone listening that the brunette in Just Shoot Me was the same brunette that wowed us in Full House. Nothing like intelligent conversation over a pitcher of Busch to set young minds along the path of enlightenment. It's not the same brunette, by the way. The Station also provided questionable entertainment: One of the TVs over the bar was playing a rousing episode of How Stuff Works, where we learned how to put together an engine, no doubt to further the atmosphere of the Station as a place of learning. I've never been to a bar before where educational programs were considered to be a good choice for the barroom TVs, though I did catch some cartoons at The Silver Fox one morning, an interesting choice. If you tired of learning, you could turn your eyes to the other TV, which was broadcasting closed circuit video shots of the parking lot. Not much of a confidence booster in the neighborhood, though it beats going outside every half hour to make sure your car has not been stolen. Finally, the coup-de-grace could be found in the restroom, though I assume only in the men's restroom (sorry ladies). Trough urinals - a little touch of class that makes the bar patrons feel like family.

I am a firm believer that running a dive bar takes leadership. Matt and I saw a first hand example when we ran into the owner of The Station toward the end of the night. He had actually been there as long as we had, but was doing his best impression of the guy getting plowed by himself in the corner of the bar (a character you'll find in most dive bars). 'As long as there's people here drinkin, I'll keep the bar open,' the bar owner Brett told Matt and I when we asked when the bar closed. It was not until later that I realized that he had imparted on us a dive bar pearl of wisdom: Concentrate on the drink, let everything else go to pot, and a dive bar is born.

I don't think the arrow actually points to the front door.

The Sports Station Bar & Grill is located at 850 Dayton on the west side of Aurora. It is open 24 hours a day, as long as you're drinkin.

15 February 2009

Don's Mixed Drinks

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.

08 February 2009

Back to Bruno's

Add another name to the list of hard rockers that died young: Bruno's Saloon. (Here's a link to the post about my earlier visit) I can only speculate as to the reason Bruno's would have shut down. Perhaps the fact that one could drive by on any given night and easily come to the conclusion that it was abandoned? Or, the fact that you could sit in the parking lot on any given night and still question whether or not it was abandoned? Bruno's was a solid enough dive bar, but one thing about dive bars is that they tend to scrape by on some unknown means - they can be oppressively yet pleasantly seedy and still generate enough patronage to keep the doors open, but not enough to replace the light bulbs in the sign out in the parking lot. Bruno's apparently did not quite get this equation figured out. You can't say they didn't try, though. It is apparent from the pictures of their sign that they tried to cram their entire monthly list of specials onto seven lines - an attempt at efficiency that I enjoyed, but can confidently qualify as a failure. I think they chopped the M for Monday in half to fit more on the sign. Outstanding.
One thing is certain: In the run-down forest that is the Denver dive bar community, I heard Brunos fall.

Maybe someone got shocked out in the parking lot. Did somebody say High Voltage?