Archive for March, 2011

100 Chimes to Mark Sunset Today!

If you rely on the bell chime of the Daniels & Fisher Tower to tell the time, be forewarned! Today, to mark the 100th anniversay of the tower, the chimes will ring 100 times at sunset. Sunset, by the way, will occur at 7:21. But, now you know.

The D&F Tower was originally added to the corner of the former, very large,  Daniels & Fisher department store that occupied that block. Mr. Daniels, who had bought out the Fisher interest in 1897, had thought the tower a good addition to the corner. Spend some time and examine the details. It’s a beautiful and complex structure that was mercifully saved from destruction by becoming a Landmark in 1969. The rest of the block was bulldozed in 1971.

And, if you are lucky enough to live in Brooks Tower, at about the 18th floor, northwest corner, you have a very nice “living room clock.” Albeit a bit noisy once every 100 years!

Where Am I Eating?

Proper Urban Pickles

Most days, Westword runs a little item on their blogsite under the same title as above. Then they show a picture of a runny burrito or a big pile of falafel from some joint in Far East Aurora that we are very unlikely to ever visit.

Well, Denver by the Slice eats around Downtown alot. And, often, we come across something really good. Like pickles! Where, you may ask. Let us know if you know.

DBTS story follow-up: Last week we reported on the new Taco Bistro going in next to the Smiling Moose on Wynkoop Street. Well, at that time, the guy putting the front door on said it was “Marge’s”. Close, but no cigar. It is actually “Marg’s”, apparently a derivative of the beverage known as Margarita. And, there will be a hearing for the liquor license on April 25, confirming our earlier reporting. We do strive for accuracy here!

RTD Throws a Curve at Rockies Traffic!

Over 50,000 people will strike out next Friday, April Fool’s Day, to Opening Day of the Colorado Rockies. Thousands of those fans will arrive Downtown by Light Rail. And, they’ll be confused.
The tunnel through the station is gone. The walk will be even longer as the mobs make their way back to 16th Street, then to Wynkoop and then to the Stadium. That hot dog will sure taste good by then! Pedi-cabs should be doing what used to be called a “land office business.”

But, just wait until July. That’s when the new Light Rail platform opens, and the Mall Shuttle is extended. What was a convenient trip from the Light Rail to the Ballpark has become a multi-modal trek, and, at best a very much longer walk. If we read the construction progress right, passengers won’t have much choice. We suspect that this form of transit to the games will diminish, and, depending on the team’s performance, the Rockies will notice. Look for a Rockies promotion in August for  “Free Pair of Dinger In-Soles” with Light Rail ticket stub.

Developing Story. Can this Really Happen?

But, bigger issues are facing RTD pitching. Tax issues. Office issues. And, what to do with that pesky Historic Union Station. Union Station Advocates, a group that really cares about preserving the historic building and making it an even more important part of the Downtown neighborhood, has weighed in here, at their site on proposed uses.

The RTD Board needs to do the right thing with the station. And, the right thing is to issue an RFP for re-development with strict guidelines. This will provide some imaginative and innovative re-use proposals that could take the shape of turning the station into a hotel, a shopping destination, or a civic facility. Certain requirements must be met. The station must have both RTD and AMTRAK ticketing and information areas. A destination restaurant is desired. And, of course, the space needs to maintain its historic integrity.

What we don’t want to happen is for the RTD Board to decide to just keep the space, move their offices in, and basically make this no more an exciting space than the basement at the Market Street Station is now. With a hot dog stand.

This is a complex, major redevelopment project. Keep it on track to a cohesive and vital centerstone for Downtown. And, a great component of a great neighborhood.

Places to Go…”DBTS” Visits the Men’s Room

We all have favorites. Favorite restaurant. Favorite bar. Favorite patio. Favorite beer. Favorite song, team, book or nook. Well, when you think about it, you probably have your favorite W.C. as well. The one at the next place you’re going instead of the same old just functional boring space where you are.

We don’t purport to have visited every public men’s room in Downtown Denver. Who has? But then, the dog probably didn’t really get to every tree in the park either. So, here, we’ll flush out a few of our favorites and hope to hear from you about others we shouldn’t miss.

Stand to the Left, Please

If you haven’t wandered down the stairs in the lobby of the Oxford Hotel, you probably haven’t seen the “Kings”. The hotel opened in 1891 and we suspect these fixtures were there at that time. If not, we can’t imagine someone moving them down the stairs. They are true works of art, the largest urinals in the State of Colorado and well worth a visit. And, the Ladies’ next door is far from shabby as well. Visit both. It’s OK. And, while there,  look for an old cowboy hanging around. Of course, when you are actually looking for a ghost, you never see them. Others have.

Just across the street from the Oxford sits Mangiamo Pronto at the corner of 17th and Wazee. We like the food. We like the bar and the service. We really like the decor and atmosphere. And, we really, really like the early 50’s Ducati poster in the men’s room! It’s for the “Cucciolo” (Little Puppy) motorbike that catapulted Ducati into motorcycle legend. The poster had to help! Take a look.

Crepes n’ Crepes in Writer Square is just the right amount of French. And, when you visit the restroom (either one, really), you can almost imagine you have just walked into the bathroom of your three-star hotel in the South of France. And, that’s a nice thing. Please close the door when you leave.

Back towards the ballpark, a bit of corporate opulence can be had at The Keg Steakhouse. Make your way through all us hipsters in the bar to very nice, stylish digs. The doors are heavy but worth the work. Wood, chrome, towels.

And, All that Jazz!

And, speaking of hipsters, we’ll put this one in for historical significance. Tom Noel includes this facility on his fascinating and entertaining historic LoDo tavern tours. It’s the men’s room at El Chapultepec, and we suspect it has looked like this since opening in 1933 as soon as Prohibition ended. The little corner jazz club at 20th and Market has had many famous visitors. Your visit can be spent thinking that Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Frank Sinatra and even Bill Clinton may have gone here. Not all at the same time, though.

We’ll keep exploring, taking notes and reporting back to our Denver by the Slice readers on the best places to go. It’s our job.

Parking Meters Staying Overnight Tonight!

These are some Smart Meters! They even have their own website. And, there, you can read the rules for the long-awaited Overnight Parking On the Streets of Downtown which begins tonight.

Overnight Guests?

The city has figured out which days to sweep which sides of the street, told the meters, and now people, partiers and guests have a way to park on the street overnight. Parking will now be $1.00 per hour from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Then, it’s only 50 cents an hour from 2 to 6 in the morning. And, free from 6 to 8. The meters are smart. They know this.

Parkers will just have to read and pay. Big city overnight parking has arrived!

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

 

Guy Called "Jimmer" Takes On Guys Called "Zags"

Everybody’s sitting down. Except the players. If you were there, you might not recognize it.

Saturday at the Pepsi Center featured two NCAA Tournament games that were not nearly as exciting as the games played there on Thursday. But don’t tell the spectators, who, only in the rare photo above, never really sat down. Game One on Saturday saw Richmond pummel the upstart Morehead State team. But, the entire section above was occupied by newly-arrived Morehead students who NEVER sat down!

After their game, they disappeared only to be replaced by BYU students and supporters who filled the arena like a swarm of locusts. And, they never quit jumping out of their seats as their team pummeled Gonzaga!

All that spirit was well and good, but a lot of people paid (on various markets) hundreds or even thousands for tickets and good seats for these tournament games. But, none of those tickets said “Obstructed View”. Like at Fenway Park in Boston. And, we assure you, the views were obstructed. Except for the rare moment pictured above.

And, by the way, the games we saw on Thursday (Morehead State v. Louisville and Richmond v. Vanderbilt) were two of the most exciting and enjoyable college basketball games you could watch in an afternoon. And, over 18,000 people, sitting down, were well-rewarded!

Downtown Taco Sighting! Right Next to the Moose.

Could this be “America’s Next Great Restaurant”?

If you want information about something, sometimes you just need to talk to the guy putting the front door in. Right next to the Smiling Moose on Wynkoop between 15th and 16th, we’re getting Tacos! In about a month, according to him, we will have a Marge’s Taco Bistro. Our very own Marge’s Taco Bistro.

Of course, Denver by the Slice will continue to pursue this story. We want to know who Marge is, if this is a locally unique concept, and how good the Margaritas are. We also want to know how the “taco” and the “bistro” thing goes together. Well, why not?

You may have seen this new NBC reality show called “America’s Next Great Restaurant”. Four investors, including Bobby Flay of food fame and Chipotle founder Steve Ells, are trying to decide between some restaurant concepts, choose a winner, and then open three around the country immediately waiting to get richer.

"Au Bistro", Jean Beraud

Some of those concepts are pretty lame. Some just not fully thought through. Limbo (for when you can’t decide), Saucy Balls (so you can snicker as you invite friends), Hicks (which is not related to our Governor), and a few others.

But, what will Steve Ells think when he walks by Marge’s on his way to corporate headquarters a block away? Or, the rest of his employees? Or, the Gauchos from the corner?

Well, they might like the roll-up street windows at the Bistro. Or, the rumored margaritas. (We haven’t seen the permit signs yet, but in a previous article on the Slice, here, it was discussed) And, they might really, really like the tacos! Wouldn’t that be fun?

A bistro in LoDo serving tacos out the window. Another food group added to the block already serving up lots of beef (Fogo), moose and muffins. Bon chance, Marge!