Arts and Culture

Remembering All-V's All Variety and the small-town feel of a strip mall in the big city

I used to have this recurring dream where I was walking along a strip mall in my grandparents' neighborhood of Mayfair/Hale. I was always heading to La Bola, a Mexican restaurant we used to go to when I was a kid. I would walk up to the door in broad daylight, pull on its oversized wrought-iron handle, and look into the dark and dank bar room beyond. But that was as far as I got -- I would always wake up before I could really see what the interior looked like.

About a decade ago, I made my roommate go with me to this strip mall to see if La Bola was still there and if it looked like that dream I couldn't seem to finish. It didn't: La Bola was gone, replaced by an Italian restaurant. I opened the door and there was no bar room, no mysterious dim and cool space to step into -- just a regular restaurant.

I was in that same neighborhood again yesterday, after I heard that All-V's All Variety had closed after almost half a century on East Eighth Avenue. As with La Bola, I wanted to go inside the sub shop one last time, but no such luck. It was done.

See also: New owner of Mayfair Center to renovate the mid-century modern shopping area

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.
Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies