Drunk of the Week
Renewal is sweeping Cherry Creek, and I highly recommend that you check it out. Of course, you may not be able to do so, because the wait for valet parking clogs up traffic for a mile around. If you do actually make it to the corner of Second Avenue and Clayton Lane and have enough self-control to not pull out a large-caliber handgun or tactical nuclear weapon in order to encourage the valets to move along at a faster clip, you'll notice a corner restaurant/bar jammed with people. North (190 Clayton Lane) is the latest iteration of Cherry Creek's trendiest spot. The first (that I experienced, at least) was the Cherry Creek Grill; then Elway's usurped much of the "with-it" older crowd until gridlock on First Avenue became so intense that people couldn't get across, and they returned to the Grill. Now with North on the north side, I have no doubt that all of Cherry Creek will soon fall into a violent, gangsta-rap-style feud over the coolest crib in the hood.
North is definitely a contender. It's very open, and the dining area blends nicely with the bar so you can breeze through and bounce from victim to victim. The bar setup is more like a convivial high school keg party than the racetrack style of many nearby spots, and the crowd is certainly younger and much more overtly sexual. While some restraint was shown by our group, the atmosphere spawned the fastest pick-up I've ever witnessed by the Head of Drinking Regrets -- and he did it with self-respect intact.
Still, while North attracts a younger clientele, it is not your salt-of-the-earth Cricket crowd -- a casual crew that stands in marked contrast to the usual constipated Cherry Creekers. I don't care if you're Scott looking for the South Pole -- you don't wear a scarf indoors, and there is never an okay time for an ascot. Those colored handkerchiefs in the breast pocket are borderline, too; the wearers clearly mean to look distinguished, but the result is derelict. And don't even get me started on the unkempt hair that's making a comeback, probably as a backlash to Tom DeLay's lacquered 'do.
190 Clayton Lane
I don't think the Cherry Creek Grill is taking this competition in stride. In a blatantly retaliatory move, someone there primed the most pathologic female drinker I have seen in quite some time, then sent her to North after she'd fallen off a bar stool. We watched in amazement as this strikingly attractive soused woman flitted from guy to guy with no apparent evidence of a conscience. Guys tripped over themselves to get her attention, which she showed by distributing random kisses and allowing any hand to be placed firmly on her rear end. Hell, she even got our whole table a round of drinks -- one guy was that desperate to distract us from our interrogation of this martini'd Mata Hari.
The woman's shenanigans both increased the likelihood that we'd return to the scene of this ongoing crime and reaffirmed our belief that some women cannot be trusted with a burned-out match. With ladies like this, you know you're digging yourself a hole with a backhoe, not just a shovel. And when you wake up the next morning in China with a terminal hangover and a partially clothed female at your side, you'll know how to get back home: Just head North. You might pass me on the way.
190 Clayton Lane
Denver, CO 80206
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.