To see or not to see: The joint was jumping last Monday on the opening day of Peter Schmitz's vehicular-homicide trial. No, not the courthouse, although there was plenty of action there, too. At lunchtime the new power place to be is Thuy-Hoa's Bar & Grill, the Vietnamese restaurant that replaced La Bonita at 1361 Court Place. Among the munchers there March 3: Schmitz and his attorney, Walter Gerash; Denver City Attorney Dan Muse; Denver City Councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt; and Denver Planning Director Jennifer Moulton (no, not all at the same table).
Back in the courthouse, as the Schmitz trial stretched on, testimony provided a veritable bar tour of LoDo. Among the spots visited St. Patrick's Day 1996 by Schmitz or Spicer Breeden, owner of the car that killed Rocky Mountain News columnist Greg Lopez: The Cruise Room at the Oxford Hotel (1600 17th Street) and nearby McCormick's Fish House & Bar (1638 Wazee Street); Morton's of Chicago (1710 Wynkoop Street), whose valets are witnesses in the case; the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery (1735 19th Street), where Schmitz downed a double shot of Skyy for dinner; Enoteca Lodo (1730 Wynkoop Street), whose owner once drove around Europe with Schmitz, according to Gerash; and the Terminal Bar, whose home at 17th and Wazee is now occupied by Jax. Also making an appearance was the Denver Press Club, where Lopez drank many glasses of Guinness with friends--the day before St. Patrick's. (By the by, Guinness, a stout, has a lower alcohol content than many other beers.) Lopez had the good sense to call for a ride home.
Breeden and Schmitz did not. So if you plan to re-create any of their route this St. Patrick's Day, remember: Call a cab. If not the cops.
A more recent traffic accident--Thursday evening, in fact--stunned diners at Top Hat, the restaurant at the corner of 15th and Lawrence streets still owned by Mel and Janie Master (despite recent rumors of an address switch with Moondance). After a driver missed a turn onto Lawrence, her car careened up the sidewalk right outside the restaurant, wiping out several lampposts, a tree and assorted newspaper boxes--including Westword's--before coming to rest at the concrete embankment at the entrance to the Writer Square parking garage.
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