I've been fascinated by bikers since I first saw Gimme Shelter, which documents what happened when the Rolling Stones supposedly asked the Hells Angels to act as security for a concert at Altamont Speedway in December 1969. After that, I read two of the books by Hells Angels founder Ralph "Sonny" Barger and watched him in Hell's Angels '69 and Hells Angels on Wheels, which Jack Nicholson starred in a few years before he did Easy Rider. And then there was Hunter S. Thompson's first-person account of hanging out with Barger and company and getting a royal ass-beating by a few members of the gang in his book Hell's Angels.
Still, I never got a bike. It was just easier, if not quite as cool, to keep driving a car and living vicariously through those books and films. But walking around the Wide Open Saloon (5700 Lincoln Drive, just off I-25), which recently opened in the back of Top Gun Motorsports, during one of its weekly Wednesday bike nights, I started having second thoughts. Top Gun was open that night, too, and a bunch of killer bikes were on display outside of the bar, which is essentially a massive patio with a stage and beer stand. A band was playing classic-rock covers, and the Prison Bus Bistro (essentially a converted school bus) was serving some grub. (It also serves breakfast at Top Gun on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 11 a.m.)
While it was definitely a lively scene, I felt like a poser for driving to the joint, especially since there were just a few other cars — probably the bandmembers' — on the street, alongside a ton of bikes. But, hey, what do you expect for a biker bar attached to a bike shop? I might have to come back for hot rod night, which is every Thursday starting at 6 p.m. Wide Open also brings in live rock, blues and country bands on Saturdays and Sundays.
Wide Open Saloon
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Club scout: While the Funky Buddha (776 Lincoln Street) is a bit out of the way for the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive, Patrick Hansen and Path One (aka Todd Hebenstreit) are hosting their own art show on Friday, July 3, with DJs Sounds Supreme and Low Key at the decks.
DJ Brian Howe just started a Saturday-night residency in the Beatport Lounge at Beta (1909 Blake Street); on Fridays, he holds court at Lure (1434 Blake Street). A few blocks away, Below Bar (1422 Larimer Street) has introduced some new deals: On Fridays, ladies drink free wells, domestics and champagne from 9 to 11 p.m.; Saturdays, it's open bar from 9 to 11 p.m., when $10 gets you all you can drink on wells, domestics and champagne; and on Fridays and Saturdays, enjoy $5 Monster-and-vodkas all night long.
Finally, Shotgun Willie's (490 South Colorado Boulevard) is hosting a weekly Thursday-night Amateur Strip Off; gals who try out get a shot at a $300 cash prize — and a possible gig.