Though drinking liberally is nothing novel in the fine city of Denver, Drinking Liberally is. Conceived in 2003 by two friends in New York as a means for young Democrats to talk politics over a pint, the organization has flowed across the country ever since; some ninety DL chapters have fermented in 39 states. And thanks to the efforts of John Erhardt, Denver is the latest city to belly up to the bar.
"A couple of us who live in Colorado and are active in politics met on a blog," Erhardt explains. "One guy had a Drinking Liberally group in Fort Collins, and it just seemed like we should have one here. I decided to step up and take the reins."
Last month, Erhardt steered the concept toward Mario's Double Daughter's Salotto for the inaugural swill session. More than thirty people showed up at the downtown lounge, including several Democratic Party employees. There was no real agenda for the evening, but most people broke off into groups, discussing topics ranging from the sheer insanity of Pat Robertson to ways that individuals can better promote Referendums C and D. Although Erhardt kept the evening open to people of all political persuasions -- provided they were interested in intelligent conversation and not screaming to the heavens that bleeding-heart liberals are un-American terrorists -- everyone there preferred donkeys to elephants.
"A friend of mine made a joke that he was glad to see that our counter group, 'The Shitfaced Conservatives,' didn't show up," Erhardt says.
Lefty libation lovers can drink and speak their fill again on Wednesday, September 14, at the second local Drinking Liberally Denver session. Erhardt is expecting an even larger crowd than before and has made several tweaks to the format -- including having participants introduce themselves and inviting speakers to deliver brief soliloquies. And although he hopes the night will eventually become a grassroots way for people to connect, he wants to keep things simple: "It's really just an occasion for like-minded people to get together and enjoy a drink."