Boyd Rice, an honest-to-God magister in the Church of Satan, doesn't drink the blood of virgins -- but he does spend many hours sipping tropical elixirs at Tiki Boyd's, the tiki bar he designed inside the Ramada Inn at 1150 East Colfax Avenue. Once a dying sports bar that raked in about fifty bucks a day, the space is now overseen by general manager Aaron Specht and his band of tiki enthusiasts, including a few Modern Drunkards. And the pseudo-Polynesian hangout is hopping.
"The original essence of tiki was a uniquely American fantasy of what a South Sea island paradise might be like," says Rice. "You'd go there and drink exotic drinks out of a coconut. You'd meet bare-breasted South Sea island girls who weren't burdened with all the hangups of Western civilization."
While popped tops are not listed on the menu, the bar does offer a selection of specialty drinks -- many of them invented by head bartender Lorin Partridge. The Bronze Serpent is a frothy mix of multiple rums that bites back -- hard. For local flavor, there's a concoction that honors another tacky institution on the other side of Colfax: a pasty pink drink garnished with honey called the Casa Bonita. "I take mixology really seriously," Partridge says. "A tiki drink is not like a gin and tonic. If you are off on the proportions in a tiki drink, it will taste totally different."
If the drinks aren't enough to validate the bar as an exotic oasis, there's also the vinyl-only sound system that, as a house rule, softly croons the likes of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman on a daily basis. If it's not tiki, it doesn't get played here. "I went into a tiki bar in Vegas that looked great," Partridge says, "but if you have fucking Aerosmith playing, it destroys the atmosphere completely."
Tiki Boyd's is not a theme bar, but rather a cheap, boozy vacation that comes with a tiny plastic umbrella. Although it's only been open a month or so, the decor -- bamboo curtains, black velvet paintings of naked women and many items from Rice's own collection -- as well as the drinks and regulars promise to make it a hot destination in the coming winter months.
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Over in LoDo, another makeover has transformed the space at 1920 Market Street from B-52 Billiards to B-52 House of Booze (the area upstairs is still the Red Monkey). And now there's fun to spare, with four bowling lanes added to the club. For details, go to www.b52billiards.com