Scrogues and scrogue sympathizers:
As the National Stonewall Democrats are expecting a record number of LGBT delegates at the upcoming shindig, and there will surely be no shortage of bloggers and journalists of all stripes looking to dance, drink and otherwise “something else” the madness away, the following installment for the rainbow-striped comes to you courtesy of Denverite Daniel Gonzales, whom you may know from the gayzette blog, Box Turtle Bulletin, Beyond Ex-Gay and Ex-Gay Watch.
Many a gay will descend upon Denver for the Democratic National Convention including but not limited to delegates, protesters, and Anderson Cooper. First I’ll break down the highlights of Denver’s gay social scene each night and and the end of the post hit restaurants and some other gay businesses and attractions.
On Friday nights the boys head a few blocks south of downtown to The Compound and Boyztown. Compound is a small dance club (no cover!) which has a diverse crowd (all ages, all ethnicities) shaking it to gay dance hits on this night. A few doors down the street is Denver’s only gay strip club, Boyztown (also no cover!). Also excellent this night is “Lipgloss” at La Rumba ($5 cover last I went). Lipgloss spins Indie, Brit-pop and Electroclash and to best blend in with the mixed crowed I suggest you buy your outfit at American Apparel, Goodwill or Urban Outfitters.
Saturday the 23rd Denver’s gay scene is partying like it’s Pride Weekend all over again. Tracks (Denver’s 22,000 sq. ft. flagship gay nightclub) is throwing the Unity Dance headlined by DJ Manny Lehman. Cover at Tracks will vary throughout the night from $10 to $25 — if the line is anything like Pride, expect to wait half an hour or more. For a less “circuity” party with no cover, just two blocks away is The Eagle where gayzette (a local gay rag) is throwing an “Atlantis” party. The Eagle is more of a cruisy fetish bar/club but the crowd is all ages and you won’t feel out of place if you’re in “normal” clothes, however guys in swimwear that night get drink specials. Also sure to be busy is Denver’s country western bar, Charlie’s and Latin club El Potrero.
- Tracks – 3500 Walnut St
- The Eagle – 1475 36th St
- Charlie’s – 900 E Colfax Ave
- El Potrero – 320 S Birch St
Things start early on Sunday since you kids have to be up for the convention and us locals have to be up for work the next day. Bear bar The Wrangler draws in everyone from bears to twinks for their beer bust, which is most packed from 5-8pm. I’m told if you don’t want to wait in line, get there by 4. After The Wrangler you have two choices: either a rooftop pop-music dance party or Denver’s premier drag show. Club Vinyl‘s massive rooftop is packed (prime hours 8-11ish) with every letter in LGBT (no cover!). Meanwhile the curtain goes up at the VIVID drag show at Charlie’s at 8pm featuring the most diverse drag talent in town.
Denver isn’t very happening on a Monday night but if you want a relaxing place to grab a drink I’d suggest the flamboyantly designed yet impressive back patio bar at Hamburger Mary’s. Also Denver has several charming gay neighborhood dive bars including Broadways, R&R Lounge, The Barker Lounge and BJ’s Carousel.
- Hamburger Mary’s – 700 E 17th Ave
- Broadways – 1027 Broadway
- R&R Lounge – 4958 E Colfax Ave
- Barker Lounge – 255 S Broadway
- BJ’s Carousel – 1380 S Broadway
Tuesday night Denver’s hopping again. The dancers are back on stage at Boyztown fresh from their night off and it’s also underwear night at The Eagle (no cover at either!). The Eagle has a free clothing-check and there are drink specials for those willing to strip down.
- Boyztown – 117 Broadway
- The Eagle – 1475 36th St
Wednesday night Denver lets it all hang out. My personal favorite is Drag Queen Bingo at JR’s (free to play). JR’s website says the balls drop at 9pm but personally I’ve never seen things get started before 10 (drag time probably). Instead of watching a drag queen up there, if you’d rather be the one on stage it’s amateur night at Boyztown. Be there before 10 when the show starts and remember to leave at least one inch of fabric between those cheeks to keep it Colorado legal! Lastly, Denver’s other big drag show is more “touristy” and located on the 16th St Mall at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret that night. Tickets are $17 (reservation accepted) and show-time is 9:15 on August 27th to accommodate people attending the convention.
Thursday is the night of the twink, pretty boy and skater lesbian. Those old enough to drink go to JR’s for insanely crowded half price night (no cover!). Those too young to drink (and those interested in them) go to Tracks for the only 18+ gay club night in Denver. At Tracks that night you’ll enjoy dance remixes of pop hits and hip hop in the smaller lounge room. If you’re over 21 there’s no cover till 11pm and $5 after. Oddly Tracks doesn’t get crowded till at least 11 on Thursdays.
Denver’s gay neighborhoods are spread out along the periphery of downtown but a stretch of 17th Ave. from Logan to Emerson has a concentration of excellent and very gay restaurants that include Avenue Grill (amazing buffalo steaks), AIX, WaterCourse Foods (vegetarian), Steuben’s (contemporary and hip takes on classic diner food) and Hamburger Mary’s. On weekends (Saturday and Sundays) I highly recommend Bump And Grind where the waitstaff serves brunch in drag for those willing to wait half an hour for a table. For Sunday brunch the other place to be is Kiva for its unique Southwestern brunch menu. On weekdays Denver’s socialites and power players take breakfast at Racines, commonly referred to as “Gaycines.” For Mexican cuisine Denver’s gays flock to Benny’s for Colorado style green chili and hard-shelled chili rellenos. Denver’s most well known Mexican restaurant is Casa Bonita which was portrayed with surprising accuracy on an episode of South Park (video link). Casa Bonita is sort of a mix between Medieval Times and Chuck E Cheese only with a Mexican theme. The food is terrible but the cliff divers are hot and the last time I went they did their damnedest to ignore the gayboys heckling them.
Other Gay Stuff
The gayest gym in town is unquestionably the 24 Hour Fitness at 4120 E. Alameda Ave (many of the dancers from Boyztown and gogos from Tracks work out here). For shopping head to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. For shopping of a more sexual nature or to pick up the local gay rags visit The Crypt at 139 Broadway. For coffee check out DazBog at 1201 East 9th Ave and then walk four blocks east to Cheesman Park on weekends to play volleyball with the bears, kickball with the lesbians, or work on your tan with the twinks.