The sign didn't quite seem right: Carioca Cafe -- better known to patrons as Bar Bar, one of the best and last true dives in downtown Denver -- will soon be serving espresso? But the Budweiser-emblazoned banner hanging on the newly installed outdoor smoking corral was telling the truth...sort of.
Swing-shift barkeep Shan Bentley told Westword that yes, the little beertap island populated mostly by day drunks and night punks will be getting an espresso machine sometime in mid-January, when co-owner Tim Fink returns from vacation.
Bentley, "like the car, but without the money" he sweetly gestured when spelling his name, has been working at Bar Bar since 1995, and seemed not so thrilled at the idea. He remarked that he was not too concerned with learning how to work an espresso machine, and beyond offering another type of beverage in the minimalist hangout, Bar Bar's atmosphere would remain the "same shit, different day" place it's always been.
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His candor was appreciated, especially when Bentley shared that he doesn't work nights at the provisional show space, because he "can't stand the bands." We're guessing he had nothing to do with the making of the coffeehouse signage either then, since it referenced "plotting your next protest" at the soon-to-be wifi-ready spot (which we can only guess was directed at the band-oriented segment of the bar's population.)
Whatever the case may be with the coffee, we can only hope that Bar Bar stays exactly the way it is -- a little bit sketchy but perfectly good place for a cheap beer and an entertaining show.