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Old Chicago, Denver

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A visit to Old Chicago, on Colorado Boulevard, in Denver. Any questions? I'll explain over a pint.

Early in February 2006, I returned to present at the Privacy Foundation at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. My topic was the technology of so-called “Digital Rights Management” systems present on some modern compact discs, and in particular the nasty XCP software that led to some significant litigation against Sony BMG late last year.

Guests speaking for the Privacy Foundation do not find themselves in want of anything to do; the event is well-choreographed, ensuring that everyone has time to get settled into their quarters, to discuss the day's presentation, and then to engage in some discussion with other attendees after the program. Then everyone leaves.

This time around, however, I was scheduled to make an appearance at a Barnes & Noble the following day. Thus, instead of getting on my way, I had some extra time to wander around the area to see what might be found. Looking for a place to lunch, I headed out of my hotel and down to Colorado Boulevard. Like much of the area, the street and the surrounding layout was built for cars. Lots of sprawl. Lots of walking to get anywhere. Crossing the street means hoping that everyone in each of the twenty lanes of traffic at an intersection will obey the traffic signals instead of hoping to get a hundred points for whacking a pedestrian.

In such a situation, I was not inclined to walk far, so I stopped just a few blocks away, at the first place that appeared to show any promise: Old Chicago. As I entered the establishment I was reticent, as I am far from a fan of the whole “sports bar” scene. Nevertheless, the place was nearly empty and I thought I'd give it a fair shake. Sports bars won't fill up until some time after quarter past noon.

Taking a seat at the bar, I found myself toward the middle of a relatively small bar; sparsely-populated high-top tables abounded. The place was certainly designed to support many groups who wished to watch games relatively independent of the rest. To my right, sat two men at the end of the bar, discussing some match or other in some detail. At the other end of the bar sat a woman sitting alone, watching women's ice hockey—Winter Olympics, United States vs. Switzerland, six points and zero, respectively—as she inhaled one Marlboro after another.

My pint of Guinness came quite nicely poured and I ordered a personal “classic” thin-crust pizza: mushrooms, pepperoni, sausage, and cheese. Much to my personal satisfaction, the bar's audio was switched from the hockey game to some tune obviously performed by Squirrel Nut Zippers, though I didn't recognize it. I surveyed the bar and found that an observation I once made about bars having more televisions than active minds might be literally true in this place. By one o'clock, few other people had joined us.

Clearly, they take their beer seriously here. An impressive array of thirty taps sat behind the bar. At the far end was a thirty-first tap that was apparently installed some time later; Guinness proudly bore the distinction of the special tap on the end. Other taps carried a wide range of options from the usual suspects to things I've never even heard of. Great Divide Breweries Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. Buffalo Gold Premium Ale. Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Singletrack Ale.

The pizza was very good, the bartender friendly but not too chatty, and as I paid the bill, I decided that I like the place. It's still a sports bar and you'll not find me anywhere nearby during the sort of big game that attracts fans to such places, but at a peaceful moment, it was an excellent spot to enjoy lunch and a few moments of quiet reflection in an otherwise busy visit to Denver.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2006-02-27 08:48 AM

pizza and beer in colorado

Posted by smilesforeveryone at 2006-03-08 10:47 AM
Old Chicago's great! You definitely need to try BeauJo's in Fort Collins, though.
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