Downhill slope: The West Winds Tavern

A dry goods shop in the 1880s and a saloon since 1907, the West Winds Tavern in Idaho Springs is a longtime locals' joint that's not unfriendly to outsiders, at least not as unfriendly as the Pagosa Bar. Looking a cross between a log cabin and a cave, there are pool tables and graybeards galore.

Other odd touches catch my eye as I savor my apres-Loveland PBR draft: a Homer Simpson doll riding a dildo behind the bar and murals of buoffant-topped rockabilly chicks on the wall, their faces obscured by Halloween masks in February.

Dr. Phil is on the TV and no music plays on the jukebox, an somewhat disconcerting combination.

"I'm kind of a hermit," says a guy down the bar.

I finish my beer, wondering what exactly I'll write in this post. The bartender chats up a couple of apparent off-the-clock employees.

Before heading back down the hill, I find myself chuckling at the Bush-era adult novelty machine above the urinal. "Freedom Ticklers" are for sale. "It's the patriotic thing to do."

West Winds Tavern, 1633 Miner St., Idaho Springs, 303-567-0982.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Peterson