By Brad Lopez
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You know that scene in The Mask where Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz are swing-dancing to the rumbling tom-tom beat of "Hey Pachuco," the song by Royal Crown Revue? Well, that clip was showing on a bunch of TVs at Maloney's Tavern (1432 Market Street), which had its grand opening last week. About twenty minutes earlier, there'd been a clip from another Carrey flick, the one with the boob jokes. And then Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible" started blaring through the place, followed by Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" and a bunch of other tunes most people know by heart.
Maloney's has a DJ booth right by the front door, and the music he plays on the iMac — along with the film clips, movie posters and hundreds of photos of pop icons that fill the new watering hole — is intended to conjure up fond memories, according to Oliver Badgio, Maloney's director of development.
As I looked at the Woody Allen picture above me, I thought of my dad. He'd taken me to see Sleeper at the Ogden Theatre in the early '70s, back when it showed flicks. I fell asleep halfway through, and it wasn't until nearly two decades later, after he passed away, that I finally the saw the film in its entirety — as part of my own Allen marathon, when I watched every single film he'd directed. Near the photo of Allen was one of Jacqueline Bisset. But I'm not going to get into the effect her role as the hot mom who seduces her son's friend in Class had on me when I was a teenager.
While I was watching The Mask clip, I'd thought about this gal who bartends at my favorite bar in New York City — the Holiday Cocktail Lounge. She'd dated Peter Greene (the actor who plays thug Dorian Tyrell in the film) before he moved out to Los Angeles and jump-started his career with a bit role in Pulp Fiction. The owner of the Holiday supposedly loaned Greene $500 to move to California; if I remember correctly, he never got his money back. After The Mask, Greene went on to make quite a career out of playing thugs and junkies.
Maloney's worked its nostalgia magic on me. And obviously, I'm not the only one, because the Denver location — which occupies the former home of Tommy Tsunami — is the seventh spot to open since the chain got its start in Arizona in 1991. If things go well downtown, Badgio says Maloney's might expand to Cherry Creek and the Denver Tech Center.
Club scout: In the alley between Market and Larimer streets, you'll find Bill Ward's slip of a bar, Slim 7 (1443 Larimer). And off a narrow walkway on the other side of Larimer, he's now opened Below, right next to his new Pie Hole. The two underground spots at 1442 Larimer are about as yin-and-yang as it gets: Pie Hole is the brightly lit, sparsely furnished late-night pizza joint, while Below is the sinful goth lair. The tricky part is finding either of them; best bet is to enter the alley behind Comedy Works (1226 15th Street) and head toward the doorman in the courtyard.
Congratulations to bartender Rich "Nacho Biznezz" Ewing, brother/partner of Scottie Ewing, owner of the Sugar House (1395 West Alameda Avenue), for winning the local Finlandia Vodka Cup, held November 5 at Martini Ranch (1317 14th Street). Ewing beat eleven other bartenders who were judged on art, style and craft while creating three cocktails: an aperitif, a long drink and an after-dinner drink. Ewing will be flown to Finland to compete against other winners from the United States; the American winner then goes up against bartenders from 25 countries in the tenth annual International Finlandia Vodka Cup.
DJ Uplifter just started a weekly reggae and dancehall night on Fridays at the Mystery Night Club (753 Santa Fe Drive). There's no cover before 10 p.m., and after that it's $5 — but the first drink is free. Finally, the club up north that's been known as La Maravilla for the last decade has changed its name to Oceans. While the 800-person venue at 13015 County Road 16 (a mile north of Highway 85 in Fort Lupton) is switching to country music Wednesdays through Fridays, it will continue to have Mexican dances on Saturdays.