One of the best dive bars in Denver is happy enough without you. It can be found surrounded by parking lots on a desolate spit of no mans land, in an area bungled by Broadway shooting straight southward across the jacked up diagonal grid of downtown Denver's streets. It's not exactly right around the corner from anything, or super convenient to anyone. The sign hanging over the door simply says 'Bar', giving away nothing and giving you no reason to assume that it is anything out of the ordinary. You have to want to go to Bar Bar. And one night we did, and we were not disappointed.
|I stole this picture from Westword.|
The Carioca Cafe, as Bar Bar is known to the tax collector, accosts you (probably literally, on some nights) with reasons to not bother and move on. First and foremost is the clientele. I would put them a step down from the welcome wagon or a friendly neighbor bearing cookies. You might find, as we did, a gentleman wandering around on the sidewalk, and sometimes in the street, outside the bar between drinks. His surly looks did not really scream 'welcome!'.
Bar Bar goes one step further to discourage one from spoiling its dive bar riches - it kicks you right out on to the street, as happened to the fellow sitting next to us at the bar. He must not have appreciated the effort made by Bar Bar to keep the place cool by strategically placing dangerous looking box fans around the room. Or perhaps he got greedy and tried to grab get an extra cigarette out of the coffee cup where Bar Bar had them on offer 3 for a dollar. A very nice amenity and fairly priced, by the way, and I don't even smoke. The poor guy could have tried to pay with a credit card as well, which is disallowed. A handwritten sign attempted to make it obvious that cash is king at Bar Bar, but the sign obviously failed. Whatever it was that got him booted (probably the fact that he had a hard time staying upright in his stool and was yelling in the direction of the barman) I felt for the guy. We were enjoying the hell out of Bar Bar. Its general disrepair and pictures of people we didn't know that covered every square inch of the dingy walls were somehow comfortable and familiar, and the three beers and three beers only on tap (Bud Light, Bud Heavy, and PBR, in case you were wondering) spare you the trouble of decisions, making it easy to get into a zone and spend some time pondering. Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got, know what I mean? Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Bar Bar isn't the place where everybody knows your name, though, it's the place where nobody knows your name, no one cares, and sometimes that's a good thing.
On the way back to our car, I noticed that there was graffiti on the side of the building, adjacent to the parking lot. It was nothing too elaborate, only one word actually: 'Sloshed', which I thought summed up Bar Bar pretty well.
Bar Bar is located at 2060 Champa. Go find it.