Archive for September, 2010

Season’s Over. That was a Good Ride!

Denver by the Slice is known to be a baseball fan, but that’s not entirely what this post is about. Yes, the Rockies ended their home schedule yesterday on September 29. For much of the season, we were led to believe they were true contenders. In the end, they were true pretenders. But, it was fun and exciting at times, especially the crazy first two weeks of this last month. A pretty good ride.

The better ride took place every Wednesday from about the middle of May and featured hundreds of costume-clad cruiser bike riders plying over varying routes, mostly involving some Downtown Streets. The Denver Cruisers have a good time. And, sadly, their last ride of the season was also September 29. The theme for this week’s finale, “Ski In/Ski Out.” As these are mostly well-behaved, fun-loving groups of riders, imagine our surprise to see them kidnap an RTD bus, surrounding it and preventing it from running a red light on 15th Street. Good job! Those monster vehicles are far more dangerous moving than standing still. Reinforcements soon arrived and they all rode on. There is no word as to what happened to the bus. Likely, it was late.

Throughout the summer, the Denver Cruisers provided a weekly Downtown sideshow of costumes, lively banter, honking horns and bells. In June, they had “Dress Night.” Later, it was “Clowns”. Marie Antoinette rode by one night followed by a French Chef. To mark the real beginning of fall, the theme was “Tweed,” of course. To start the season off, they chose “Pink” which is the color we will all see plenty of this coming Sunday with the Susan G. Kommen Race for the Cure, benefiting the battle against breast cancer.

Well…like the Rockies…the season’s over. The bruisin’s are over. The cruisin’s over. Just wait until next year!

Tough to See the Clock!

Instead of putting animals on their tails, one airline is working hard to put Denver seats in seats. On the 16th Street Mall that translates to recent free pedi-cab rides to events and to filling seats at the porch area of Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. This is a delightful oasis dead center in the feeding melee that the area between Larimer and Curtis has become. And, a welcome spot it is.

About 40 people could be enjoying a beautiful Colorado day, a fine beverage from the small porch bar of Lannie’s and a nearly round 10″ whole (not by the slice) wood-fired pizza from the on-site Brava, our very own Pizzeria della Strada. Doesn’t that sound enticing? The pizzas are all about $7 with daily specials. Handcrafted right in front of you. Smells to match! Or, to go.

Comfortable chairs, nice wood furnishings, lights, bright yellow umbrellas and, hopefully, heaters when it gets cooler. And, sure, you know who the sponsor is, but that’s the beauty of the deal worked out between all the parties involved…Lannie, the Cabaret, the airline, the pizza guys, the landlord, the city and the Downtown Denver Partnership. This is under the able overview of one Jefferson Arca, a.k.a. Naughty Pierre on some nights, and amiable host at Lannie’s Cabaret. The Arca’s have worked hard to bring some of the best entertainment into the lower level cabaret space, often with the appearance of Denver’s own Lannie Garrett. Shows every night but Mondays, and you can see the schedule here at the website.

But, back out on the porch. Open Monday through Saturday 11-8, and planning on staying that way. Enjoy your seat.  No charge for bags. It’s just tough to look up and see the clock from right there!

Coffee’s On! Peet’s Opened Today on the Mall!

All they did was to open their doors Thursday morning in the Sheraton…and the line ran out into the lobby. Peet’s is a very welcome re-addition to the Mall.

Business people filled the outside chairs. Five Denver Bicycle Policemen enjoyed today’s complimentary pastries. And, by now, certainly a company or two of firefighters have made their way to Peet’s for their favorite brew. Good coffee has returned to Downtown!

Moose Sightings and Downtown Retail Infill

Yet another mountain-bred sandwich concept has found its way to Lower Downtown. Within a few weeks, the Smiling Moose Deli will open a branch on the Wynkoop Street side of 1515 Wynkoop. Smiling Moose began in 2003 near Vail, and now boasts stores throughout the Denver suburbs and mountain towns, and also in four other states.

The Moose serves sandwiches, hot and cold or custom built, salads, soups and breakfast all day. And, rumors of a coffee vendor in the small remaining vacant retail space next to the Moose.

The 1515 Wynkoop Building actually filled in their street-level spaces in a reasonable amount of time. With the cornerstone Fogo de Chao Brazillian Steakhouse, the 15th Street side includes Massage Envy, a dental office and Blokes, a “Gentlemen’s Barbershop” that serves beer with their haircuts. Adding the Smiling Moose to the Wynkoop side seems like a good idea with the ever increasing office density and traffic in the area now.

By contrast, the EPA building, over a much longer time, just doesn’t have much going for it at street level. A pizza place close to the Light Rail, and, of course, a branch bank office. There’s also the still vacant space once occupied by Starbucks, thankfully for only a short time. We have heard that the spaces in this building for retail are a bit odd, shallow and hard to keep compliant with the EPA’s requirements for their own office space.

Nonetheless, kudos to 1515 for not rounding up the usual suspects to fill their spaces. That’s the type of development variety to improve the neighborhood!

Downtown Dog Park Opening Thursday, September 23!

Dogs Downtown are marking their…calendars. And, at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, watch out for the on-leash rush to the new off-leash Railyard Dog Park. These are fancy dog digs at the intersection of Basset Street and 19th in the Riverfront area.

Seriously, a bunch of very dedicated people have been working on this project for six years. Raising money, securing the latest designs and consulting world-wide for Dog Park Best Practices. Denver’s newest dog park features separate areas for the big guys and the little guys, a gravel surface with engineered drainage, lights, trees and landscaping, shade shelters, seating and…water for the dogs and their managers.

But, they still need your help to complete the funding. The Riverfront Community Foundation has extended it’s matching grant until Oct 15th so that every donation received between now and then will be doubled! You can help out at their special events and by going to their website here.

 The hardworking Board of Directors includes A.J. Zabbia of 68 West Engineering, Amy Cara and Matt Mahoney of East-West Partners, and Brenda Smith, a Downtown resident.

After 7 p.m. Thursday, then every day thereafter, the new Railyard Dog Park will make a lot of dogs happy. Their own park. So, now Downtown has a kid’s park (LoDo Children’s Playground), people parks (think Commons) and one that’s going to the dogs.
Bark on!

Enjoy Peet’s Coffee…at Peet’s…Even Though They’re Not Open Yet!

Until the building fire alarm problem is resolved to the satisfaction of the Denver Fire Department, Peet’s will not open. But (and here is some inside information!) they are making coffee every morning and serving it for free! Stop by outside the inside door of Peet’s in the Sheraton for some delicious Peet’s Coffee. But, go early. It’s just in the morning.

Peet’s hopes to open in the next day or two, but if you are up early you can enjoy it now! That’s news you can use.

You’re All Invited!

A couple of hours after the bars close in Downtown Denver tonight, the REAL Octoberfest will open in Munich. And, run daily through October 3. This is actually the 177th Octoberfest, even though the annual tradition started exactly 200 years ago. They came up with a few interruptions and missed some years.

In fact, when it started it actually had nothing to do with beer. It was a horse race held to honor the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Pricess Therese. That was October 12, 1810. They had such a good time, a tradition was established to hold a festival every year at the same spot, the meadow later named Theresienwiese, just one U-bahn stop from Munich’s main station. Now, but not at the time.

In 1881, they started selling beer and attendance went way up. Today, over 6 million people will visit the grounds, full of tents and attractions. The 14 beer tents themselves seat a total of about 94,000 people, many more than can stand on 2 blocks of Larimer.

When the horses first ran, Prince (later King) Ludwig could hardly have imagined this event spreading around the world. Some of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations are in Vietnam, Brazil, Hong Kong, Argentina, Ireland and Cincinnati.*

But, if you go to Munich this year (and it’s the best time of the year in one of the world’s most attractive and functional cities), plan to pay about 9.5 euros for a liter of Munich beer. That’s about $11 today, about the same as two draft pints in LoDo. Or, you can opt for the Groundhog with Accordian at the Oktoberfest Shop for just 19.9 euros!

In 2012, Munich’s Oktoberfest ends on my birthday. Now, there’s an idea. What do you think? You’re all invited!

*”You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline — it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.”
— Frank Zappa