This week, I talked about Dougherty's -- a fantastic neighborhood bar that's perfect for getting into all kinds of lightweight trouble, which just happens to have a very decent restaurant attached and a chef in the back who knows his way around the cuisine of the whiskey-sodden Micks.
I followed that with a different kind of neighborhood joint -- Pho-Yo, a brand-spankin' new pho shop and frozen yogurt stand out in Aurora that's already winning raves from just about everyone who goes there. It isn't a neighborhood bar, exactly, but if you live in the neighborhood I do, it's definitely an indisposable fixture for those looking for a super-fast, super-cheap lunch and dinner place bringing forth the flavors of distant and much-loved homelands.
I wrapped up this week with my own neighborhood bar, the Fainting Goat: a place that has become indispensible to me over the past few months simply because it is close to the office, well-run and has no problem handling grumpy, thirsty journalists hanging out on its rooftop patio smoking cigarettes, drinking too much and plotting any number of weird schemes.
So to follow all that, this week's list focuses on neighborhood joints (not all of them bars) that are, for one reason or another, as indispensible to their particular crowds as the Goat is to me and mine. This is far from a canonical list and, as always, I'd love to see comments from those of you regarding other places that, for whatever reason, you simply could not live without.
1) Cracovia, Hospoda and Sobo 151. For Denver's Eastern European contingent, these three stops are absolutely vital: Cracovia for its wonderfully comforting Polish food and vodka selection, Hospoda for its excellent cowhide bar decor and strange Czech/American fusion (and because it's the only place in town to get potato pancakes and green chile together on the same table), and Sobo 151 because it is the only Czechoslovakian hockey bar and karaoke parlor I know of, well, anywhere.
2) Phil's Place, 3463 Larimer Street. A serious dive bar after dark, a decent Mexican joint (that starts slinging drinks very early) while the sun is still up. The best thing about Phil's? Due to some kind of cosmic weirdness with the space-time continuum, it seems that no matter where you've been drinking in the city, you're never more than about ten minutes away from Phil's.
3) Frasca, 1738 Pearl Street, Boulder. To the people of the Republic of Boulder, Frasca really is just another neighborhood wine bar. Which just goes to show you how lucky those little bastards really are.
4) The Thin Man, 2015 East 17th Avenue. Every hipster needs a place to go when he grows up. On most nights, it seems like they all go to the Thin Man.
5) Don's Club Tavern, 723 East Sixth Avenue. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Sometimes you want to go where there'll be no one to ID you in a lineup. Don's is perfect for the latter.
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6) The Lancer Lounge, 233 East Seventh Avenue. And sometimes you don't care if people know you or not, because you just want to drink fast, cheaply and alone. Yeah, the Lancer's your spot.
7) China Jade, 12203 East Iliff Avenue in Aurora. It sucks that this place isn't in your neighborhood. It's awesome that it's in mine. An unmissable stop for those looking for a real taste of China.
Okay, that's a good start; now it's your turn. T