Islamorada Fish Company
7970 East 49th Avenue
Last weekend I really needed a change of scenery, but I got stuck working. So a friend and I headed to the Bass Pro Shop -- which, while technically still in Denver, might as well be on the moon for most of us city folk. It's a 186,000-square-foot hunting and fishing emporium filled with people who don't think twice about wearing jeans with a denim jacket (double denim) or purchasing The Blue Collar Comedy Tour boxed set. Bass's literature describes the place as "part museum, part art gallery, part entertainment and conservation center." Conservation is right: I'm a carnivore, but seeing more dead heads of animals on a store's wall than I would deadheads at a Grateful Dead concert made me seriously contemplate going vegan.
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The setting quickly transported us out of Denver to a hunting and fishing lodge filled with outdoorsmen somewhere in the backwoods (insert banjo music from Deliverance here). The next time she's avoiding someone, my friend said, she'd return here, grab a Starbucks (yes, Bass is civilized enough to host a retail outlet) and hide in the enormous camouflage section (which is the size of a freestanding Starbucks). To survive in this surreal environment, though, I needed more than a caffeine kick -- so we headed into Islamorada Fish Company, where I ordered a Pain Killer ($6.95). While it's unlikely that any cocktail could have stopped the bleeding in my brain, after watching the action in a 13,000-gallon saltwater aquarium while sipping a mix of Pusser's and Malibu rums, 99 Bananas schnapps, orange juice and pineapple, I was definitely feeling no pain.