Heads or Tails?

A thirst for chips pays off at these bars

Stop me if you've heard this one: Guy walks into a bar and orders the cheapest domestic draft available. Bartender pours the man a beer before setting it down on the counter along with a small plastic coin with a bar logo on it. "The chip," the barkeep explains, "is redeemable for any drink here." The man is doubtful, but when the bartender walks away, leaving the chip behind, he realizes it's for real. The patron guzzles happily, studying the menu and contemplating his next move. The bartender must be crazy, you say, or the man is some sort of celebrity. The answer is neither, and this joke has no punchline. It's simply part of the nightly drink special available at Leon McNabb's establishments, The Park Tavern and Restaurantand The Bank Bar and Grill. The Park, 921 East 11th Avenue, and the Bank, 2239 East Colfax Avenue, each offer two happy hours, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to midnight. Order a drink during those times and you will receive a chip that's redeemable for any bottled beer, draught beer, well drink or house wine. For the first happy hour, the chips are good until 7:30 p.m. The second happy hour's chips last until 1:30 a.m., a few minutes before last call.

To clarify: Order two Blue Moons after work, and then enjoy a Cuba Libre and a gin and tonic on the house. Or order five Coors Lights at 10:30 and, come midnight, get five pints of Guinness for free -- a seamless transition from rowdy cowboy buzz to leprechaun hallucinations.

"It's the best deal in town," one patron comments. "Plus you can save your chips for later. At the end of the month, it's nice to get drunk for free."

Not only is it a great deal, but both bars are fine places to imbibe, regardless of coinage. The Park is a long, low stretch of wooden booths, a central square bar and a back room with all the necessary amenities: pool tables, darts, televisions and a jukebox. The Bank offers all of these features as well, in a red-brick environment with a second, less-crowded bar upstairs. Food is served until 1 a.m.

A word of advice: The Park and the Bank are the type of bars where you might run into people from high school whom you haven't seen in years and have no idea what to say to. Don't worry. With all the free drinks, you'll find plenty to talk about. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

All Hooked Up
Consumer Expo gives you the skinny
SAT, 10/18

Besides spam e-mail and incessantly ringing cell phones, there are other major drawbacks to living in the Information Age -- like Internet fraud and identity theft. To learn handy skills such as shielding yourself against such worrisome 21st-century problems, reading your credit report and planning for retirement, visit today's 2003 Consumer Expo.

"Our mission is to financially educate consumers," says Renee Beauregard, executive director of the Consumers United Association, one of the session's co-sponsors. "Especially in today's economy, people have lots of things to worry about."

The Expo will take place at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Over a dozen thirty-minute seminars will be presented by the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, the Colorado Credit Union League, Elderwatch and other organizations. "We've found that credit reports are something that a lot of people have questions on," says Beauregard.

There are several workshops designed specifically for families: Kids and Money, Financing College and Repaying Student Loans. "We're hoping to create a one-stop place where people can get a lot of answers," says Beauregard. "There are ways to protect yourself."

The expo is free, but organizers request that you pre-register. To sign up, go to www.consumers-united.org; call the CUA at 303-400-3456 for more information. -- Julie Dunn

Get Bookin'
SAT, 10/18

The early bookworm will find the best selection this weekend at the Denver Public Library's Fall Used Book Sale, where over 60,000 titles will be up for grabs. The sellathon, held at the library's main branch, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, will feature slightly worn hardcover books for $2 apiece and paperbacks costing only 50 cents each. New books, collectibles and larger, coffee-table books will range in price from $3 to $12. "We're looking for a home for every single book," says library spokeswoman Celeste Jackson. "We've got everything from children's books to cookbooks to self-help books."

The bargain bonanza can be found near the west entrance of the library, in the B2 Conference Center and library store space; it runs today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Teachers and home-schooling parents will receive a special 25 percent discount on all purchases. At tomorrow's Great Book Giveaway, which starts at 3:30 p.m., all left-over merchandise will be free for the taking to teachers and non-profit organizations.

"It's always a slightly crazy weekend, but definitely a lot of fun," says Jackson. Admission is free; for further information, call 720-865-1195. -- Julie Dunn

Taking Pride
GLBT Awareness Month thrives on the Auraria campus
THURS, 10/16

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