Several years back, I was on a European vacation that included 12 hours in Paris. We attempted to go to the Louvre, but the line to get in was too long so we waffled and moved on to score a croissant filled with horse meat. Like most people, we were going to the Louvre for one reason, other than to be able to say that we'd been to the Louvre: to see Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Sure, the Louvre has heaps of other stuff, and surely some fabulous art by one of the other Ninja Turtles, but I challenge you to name something you are jazzed up to go see at the Louvre. It's just a fact that there are places that you go to for one thing and one thing only. The Hangar Bar is one of those places.
Despite the marketing, you don't go to the Hangar Bar looking to score.
Neither do you go to the Hangar Bar for the music on Saturday nights, though you probably could. Hangar Bar regularly has live blues and no cover on Saturday nights, and in my experience the music is pretty solid and brings out a decent crowd.
You also don't go to the Hangar Bar for the great food. They do have food, but it is the type of fare that doesn't become remotely interesting until about 12:30 a.m. after a few cans of whatever. Think back to stuff you might eat while sitting around your dorm room drinking Mad Dog 20/20 and watching Jeopardy (those were better days, simpler times, weren't they?). Bag of chips? You bet. Meat stick? A taste sensation. Hot dog warmed up in the micro on white bread? I'll take two, with mustard please.
You go to The Hangar Bar strictly for the decor, and one single piece of decor to be specific: The Beer Can Bomber. You heard me right. The Beer Can Bomber, an airplane made of beer cans.
And not just any beer cans. It's a veritable wrecking crew, an all star lineup of low grade beers represented, in the original vintage cans. You've got those beers that are still hanging around like Blatz, Schmidt, PBR, and Hamm's, and other older hall of fame options like Rainier, Special Export, and Schafer.
The aerodynamic aluminum pull tabbed beauty hangs over the bar as if it were coming in for a landing on top of one of the pool tables. It dominates the landscape such that regardless of anything else that is going on in the bar, my eyes never stray very far from the lightly swaying beer cans, always making possible a comment along the lines of 'Holy crap, is that a can of Billy Beer?'
Maybe someday I'll make it back to the City of Lights and gaze into the eyes of the Mona Lisa. Until then, I'll make due with the City of Dives and its own artistic treasures like airplanes made of beer cans. The best part? I won't have to stand in line.
The Hangar Bar is located at 8001 E. Colfax, and has a website which lists its specials. If you can't get to the Louvre any time soon either, settle for the Beer Can Bomber... you'll be happy you did.
This one is like Where's Waldo, only fun and it involves beer instead of a dude in a red shirt.
Hop'n Gator? I'll bet it's fantastic with a steamin bowl of gumbo.
Everyone is welcome at this club.