Traveling from bar to bar on a fifteen-seat, pedal-powered vehicle with a sober driver steering sounds like a concept that could go far in Denver, a city where both the beer and bicycling scenes are in high gear. That's what Nick Vannucci will be counting on when his Denver Pedal Bar gets under way this week. The bike/bar concept, which got its start in Europe, has already taken off in several American cities, including Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville and Austin. And Vannucci thinks the green factor could further fuel its success here. "We're not using any fuel," he notes. "We're not even using any electricity to power our sound system and light system. We're completely green. You're getting exercise at the same time, but you're also metabolizing your alcohol faster while you're pedaling. So you're actually getting less drunk, which some people might not want — but it's good while you're doing this tour."
While the Denver Pedal Bar features a beer barrel and a tap, as well as those sound and light systems, there won't be any actual beer drinking allowed because of Denver's open-container laws, Vannucci says. But he's worked out a deal with Vitamin Water to have free samples on board so that people stay hydrated. Keeping them entertained should be no problem. "You're in the open air, so as you're coming though town, you're cheering back and forth with people on bar patios and bikers," he says. And if that's not enough amusement, the tour guide/driver, who is seated in the middle of the contraption, will run folks through trivia games that focus on Denver history, brewery history and Rockies history.
In addition to customized itineraries, the Denver Pedal Bar will have two regular routes: a RiNo route that starts at Billy's Gourmet Hot Dogs and includes such hot spots as the Walnut Room, Larimer Lounge, Meadowlark, Matchbox, Blake Street Tavern, Breckenridge Ball Park Pub and Whiskey Bar; and a Rockies route, a two-hour daytime bar crawl that ends at Coors Field before a Rockies game.
Denver Pedal Bar
You can rent the Denver Pedal Bar for $180 an hour, with a two-hour minimum for tours (and a maximum of fifteen passengers). Take a test drive this Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, when Vannucci will be offering free rides around the neighborhood starting from Billy's, 2445 Larimer Street.
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Club scout: After short-lived runs as Jezebel's Juke Joint & Brothel and Gin & Sin Speakeasy this year (and many other identities before that), 3862 High Street has just re-opened as High Street Bar & Grill. Frank Blea, who's owned the hundred-year-old building for over three decades, is having some of his family members manage the place, which is in the process of becoming more of a sports bar. Extra TVs will be installed in the coming weeks, and the kitchen should be up and running in the near future as well.