By ROBERT ELIAS DEATON
There is one thing you can’t miss when you visit Denver. The great outdoors beckons not only you, but every other person in the town. Runners abound; bikers cruise by; hikers have their backpacks ready to climb; and all invited by air as crisp as the first bite of an apple. Denver is the capital of Colorado and a quick way to orientate yourself in the city is to go to Colorado State Capitol Building (200 E Colfax Ave.; 303-866-2604).
Climb to the Rotunda and glimpse a view of the 200 mountains visible from the dome. You’ll also get a visual on the layout of the city, which will help you when you take to the streets— and, yes, some alleys. Biking around town is made easy with the 850 miles of paved off-road trails.
The city has a great system of B-Cycles that allows you to rent a bike in one location and leave it on the street at any of the more than 50 drop stations. For more information on B-Cycles in Denver visit denver.org/what-to-do/ sports-recreation/denver-b-cycle-rides. While we’re the first to admit that the concept of bus tour leaves us cold and shivering, don’t let that stop you from booking aboard Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours.
The “bus” is more like a rolling hillbilly shack with couches, recliners and horse saddles to make anyone feel at home. The tales heard aboard Banjo Billy’s run the gamut from ghosts to prostitutes to gangsters long in heaven, so prepare yourself (banjobilly.com).
Despite its conservative reputation, Denver knows how to throw a party. We always start a fun night at Charlie’s Denver for its mix of gay and straight clientele (okay, mostly gay and mostly men, but hey, it’s a country-western party). There’s line dancing, karaoke, trivia contests, and pool parties— without a pool (gotta love it).
Charlie’s Denver is located in Capitol Hill (900 East Colfax Ave.). Boyztown Denver will be remembered by the old-timers as The Brig. It’s now a sexy, gay strip club with a cabaret element and more than a touch of the old-school about it. Translation: young twinks, old admirers, and lots of numbers and dollar bills going back and forth (117 Broadway). For the leather crowd, and those that like them, the Denver Eagle brings that tradition to life in an authentic, rough, and stud sort of way.
You’ll get more attention if you wear a harness or something that says you know your way around a set of wrist and ankle cuffs. The Eagle appreciates the nuance (1475 36th St.). For great music and let’s-break-a-sweat dancing, head directly to Compound (145 Broadway at W 2nd Ave). It used to be called Compound Basix, and then tried Compound Denver. Now, either a part of the sign fell off, or it’s just plan Compound.
Any way you call it, it’s a super friendly place with sexy, sexy bartenders. When it’s time to do something other than drink, think Racines (650 Sherman St.). It’s a classy joint that’s been round for decades, is gay owned, and is open until midnight most nights (which in Colorado time is akin to four a.m.) Love the omelets at Racines, washed down with the strongest margarita in town.
There’s a local outlet of Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grill here as well. Located at 700 E 17th Ave., Mary’s has the best patio dining in town for lunch or dinner. While it serves the usual suspects in the form of burgers and wraps, the food is as fresh as the camp a la Denver.
Robert Elias Deaton is a world-traveling epicure who enjoys the finer things in life.