It's a Monday night in Fraser, and the Crooked Creek Saloon looks like the place to be an hour after the lifts close at Winter Park. The crowd is a nearly ideal mix of blue-collar locals and younger ski-bum types who combine to outnumber tourists by an approximate ratio of seven to one.
Plus there are $2 PBR cans and $2 Rolling Rock drafts. The bumper stickers above the hard stuff include a few good ones -- "Drink Naked" among them. There's also a kitchen shared by the adjacent restaurant. The steak-scented air smells pretty good, but I don't look at a menu. I just order a PBR and watch the Nuggets game.
Local street signs hang above the pictures of their namesakes (i.e. Eisenhower Drive above black-and-whites of Ike and Mamie) on the other walls, as does a "Hunter Headquarters" sign above the main entrance. Locals roll dice for the jackpot and free drinks. A bald drunk croaks something to the guy three barstools down en route back from the men's room.
I look at the window and sip on my PBR. A Rockies flag flops around in the breeze outside the front window. The sun is still up, and it must be 6:30 or something. Wow. Summer is coming. But I'm not exactly sure what time it is. I don't have a watch.
Crooked Creek Saloon, 401 Zerex St., Fraser, 970-721-9250.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.