Girl Trouble

Swimclub 32 is buoyant, but sometimes just treading water.

I started wondering what the hell I was thinking to get involved with Swimclub. It was totally inconsistent, badly in need of serious culinary psychotherapy. Just walk away, I told myself. Total up the damage and go. But I hadn't listened when it was Meghan I was trying to talk myself out of, and I didn't listen now.

By dessert, Swimclub was all sweetness and light again. The simple chocolate gateau was so delicious that I ordered every other dessert on the menu. The mini-crème brûlée, a spread of house-made ice creams (Nutella, vanilla and a nutty-sweet caramel) -- they were all brilliant, and a bargain at three bucks each.

Because I am doggedly loyal, a plain old prince of a guy and also very lazy, I stuck with Meghan for about three months (she tried to stab me in month two), and we never so much split up as one day I just stopped going out looking for her. Technically, I guess we're still dating -- which should surprise the hell out of my wife. I spent about the same amount of time dodging in and out of Swimclub -- never bringing my friends again but flying solo as I tried to figure out the place.

Tapas the town: Swimclub 32 has made a splash.
Mark Manger
Tapas the town: Swimclub 32 has made a splash.

Location Info


Swimclub 32

3628 W. 32nd Ave.
Denver, CO 80211

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Northwest Denver


3628 West 32nd Avenue, 720-889-7946. Hours: 5 p.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday; 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Friday; 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday

Edamame: $2
Beet salad: $7
Ceviche: $9
Tuna tartare: $9
Ropa vieja: $8
Black cod: $9
Chicken and risotto: $9
Kobe short rib: $11
Kobe on the rocks: $12/$26

Closed Location

During that period, the kitchen lost its opening chef, Joel Holland, and picked up Chris Dougherty, ex of Brasserie Rouge, who's still cooking some of Holland's final menu. The crowds have waxed and waned, servers have come and gone, and the music is always different, but my problems with Swimclub remain the same: crazy inconsistencies from night to night and plate to plate, a swerving sort of wildness in the kitchen that means any meal can swing from unbelievably good (the beet salad) to unforgivably bad (the ropa vieja has never, ever been even okay), then back again (the ceviche has improved) for no readily apparent reason.

Maybe someday I'll learn my lesson. I'll get it through my head that there are more reliable houses out there, banging out more consistent plates. But while giving up on Swimclub would save me from some ugly nights, I know I'd also miss out on some pretty good ones. For now, at least, I'm ready to give this relationship another chance.

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