Openings and Closings

Last Call for the Rustic Tavern, a Classic Dive Bar

As metro Denver continues to grow and previously down-and-out parts of town gentrify, dive bars are rapidly disappearing. Over the last few years, we've lost several of our favorites, and last night another classic watering hole, the Rustic Tavern, closed for good, after a final Super Bowl party that saw the bar drained almost dry. See also: The Ten Best Dive Bars in Denver -- Sumer 2014 Edition The Rustic lived up to its name: no kitchen and primitive bathrooms, but lots of worn linoleum and a welcoming crowd who considered this Sloan's Lake bar their own. JoAnn Turner and her husband bought the saloon 58 years ago; after he passed away, she continued to run the place -- despite the fact that the 87-year-old Turner has never had a drink of alcohol or a drag from a cigarette in her life. But bars have been in her blood: Her uncle opened the Satire, another family member was involved with Herb's Hideout, another the original Brown Barrel.

But now Turner has sold the Rustic, and rumor has it that the space might become a restaurant, or a bakery, or another one of those big, new retail/residential complexes popping up all over town.

Cheers to the Rustic.


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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun