There are things I like about the Celtic Tavern. I like the fact that it sits at 18th and Blake, one of my favorite parts of downtown. I've rarely spent a night in this neighborhood that hasn't culminated with my being offered drugs (everything from weed to opium), by friendly drug dealers as I walk to the parking garage where I always stash my car. I like the girl who works nights there.
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I like the Celtic because a man of other filthy habits can still have a cigarette with his glass of Jameson whiskey at the bar, because the Celtic somehow managed to get itself classified as a cigar bar under Colorado's anti-smoking ordinance. The odor of spilled beer and lingering smoke, the white fog twisting up around the dim bar lights, makes the Celtic feel more like a bar to me than almost any other bar in town. People complain about the smoke here -- fuck 'em. They already have every other dining room and stretch of long oak in the city (and can even go to the Celtic's non-smoking section if they so choose). This place is mine.
But while the Celtic feels like a bar to me, it doesn't feel like an authentic Irish bar. There just aren't any in Denver, as I discuss in both my review of the Celtic and in Bite Me, where I offer a step-by-step guide for opening a proper Irish-American pub in this city that seems, for reasons that are completely beyond me, incapable of managing that simple trick.
And in Second Helping, I move from the Celtic to Delaney's next door, and discuss how I managed to end up there on a forlorn Sunday night wondering just what in the hell it was that smelled so bad.
Come back tomorrow to find out for yourself. And until then, cheers and bottoms-up. -- Jason Sheehan