A few hours after the Broncos barely beat the Dolphins, The Beach Nightclub just a stone's throw from Mile High Stadium is mostly empty. The tailgaters and fans and revelers have all departed, leaving just under a dozen Manning jersey-clad people all huddled in one part of the spacious club.
It was busy earlier, the lone bartender says. But now, it's just a small group of people who all seem to have come here together, or at least all know each other. The owner is here, his nephew is here, and so is an employee from another business the owner supposedly runs.
An elderly woman takes a shot with two younger men who seem like relatives. The Cowboys and Giants game is on, but everyone is too absorbed in conversation to pay attention to the game. The place is certainly a dive. It's changed hands and names three times in the last year, and the new owners haven't done a lot to make it their own. It's one-third sports bar, one-third nightclub, one-third empty space. Old chairs and a foosball table are stacked in an area that was once clearly a kitchen and is now storage space. Empty bottles litter the place. At one point the bartender pours a Pepsi from an actual half-full two-liter bottle. There are no taps of any kind. The owner spends most of the time in the back corner, in conversation with various patrons. It's clearly just business as usual, which is surprising, considering what happened less than twenty-four hours ago.
On Saturday night, there was a shooting right outside the bar at closing time. KL Tha General, a local rapper, was slain, and two others were injured. The evidence is still here: Window frames are covered in plastic wrap and duct tape. There are a couple of bullet holes near the front door. A loose piece of police tape lays untouched on the floor near the pool tables.
Despite the glaring presence of the tragedy the night before, everyone in the bar was in good spirits, clearly trying to move on. A regular even tried to pretend the incident happened across the street at the Denny's. It was clearly a lie, probably told to keep the mood light and the focus elsewhere.
After a couple of beers it was obvious The Beach wasn't the best place to grab a nightcap with friends on a Sunday night, but that had little to do with what had happened the night before. Shootings unfortunately happen, the damage is assessed and swept away, and for The Beach, the party goes on.
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