A weekday fixture on the seven-to-five shift, 52-year-old Terry Sullivan has been tending the 72 feet of mahogany at Duffy's Shamrock for more than 23 years, dispensing a quip as he whips up an Irish coffee, exchanging notes on the latest Broncos win (he's held north end-zone season tickets since 1967) while drawing a Guinness, wondering aloud about the Rockies' woes (on homestands, that's Terry up in section 328, row 1) while pouring a cup of black joe for a stockbroker en route to work. "Night bartending is tough," the balding, bespectacled master of his domain explains. "You get a different crowd. Working days has allowed me to keep regular hours, raise a family and have a pretty good time." Truth be known, he's following in his father's footsteps. Dad Danny was the longtime proprietor of Sullivan's, just around the corner at 14th and Court Place, which fell to the wrecking ball in 1982 -- the same year Terry took up at Duffy's.
If Grenade were to put a help-wanted ad in the newspaper for a doorman to join his coalition of hotties, it would read: "Looking for an Adonis, six-foot-plus, with chiseled features, washboard abs and an affinity for tight jeans and fitted T-shirts." And we thought the bouncer mold was football-player rotund, with a double chin, buzzed hair and an affinity for Twinkies. But at a place as West Coast-wannabe as Grenade, a Euro-hawk-sporting pretty boy will suffice. Actually, it's preferred.

BEST PLACE TO ROLE-PLAY BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

Charlie's

Charlie's Denver
For the past 25 years, Charlie's is where all the real gay cowboys (and ranch hands, sheepherders and rodeo riders) have met, two-stepped and tried to quit each other. But it's hard to quit watching them twirling each other gracefully across the floor every night in their ten-gallon hats, boots and skintight Wranglers. If line-dancing isn't your thing, Charlie's offers other choices: non-C&W dancing, pool, darts, trivia, karaoke, Broncos parties, food, the bar's infamous annual Valentine bachelor/bachelorette auction and many other events throughout the year that benefit the LBGT community. So slap on your spurs, come on down and cowboy up.

BEST PLACE TO GENDER-ROLE-PLAY BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

C's Bar

Jack and Ennis? What about Jacqui and Eunice? They're here, they're queer, and if you think gay cowboys can rope 'em and ride 'em, try gay cowgirls. It's hard to say who dances purtier, cowboys or cowgirls, but at C's, ya don't hafta dance with the one what brung ya. In fact, you don't have to be able to dance at all -- they'll teach you for free with dance lessons every Saturday night. You can also shoot pool, throw darts, cheer on the Broncos or sit under the stars on the covered patio and serenade your sugar 'til the cows come home. Git along, little dykies.

BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR WEEKLY FILL OF CAFFEINE
AND DYKE DRAMA

tHERe Coffee Bar and Lounge

There Bar & Lounge
Eric Gruneisen
Lesbian-couple owners and operators Jody Bouffard and Kathleen McDowell launched tHERe last summer in the old Oh My Goddess! Space on Colfax. In addition to serving LaVazza coffee and Tazo and loose teas from Wild Oats, the barista babes' cozy Capitol Hill cafe hosts weekly "stitch & bitch" knitting sessions, a pagan discussion group, lesbian speed-dating and musical events. It's also Denver dykes' place of choice to view the must-see-TV sapphic soap, The L Word, during which, rumor has it, the riveted audience is so silent you can hear a thong drop. McDowell and Bouffard may soon be able to add booze to their list of offerings: The shop is up for its liquor license hearing, scheduled for March 31. We'll drink to that!
In the land of Starbucks, seeking out the small independent coffee shops can feel like an archaeological mission. Thank God for blogs like milehighbuzz.com, started by a self-described "coffee shop junkie" with the initials DCB, to provide locations and info about some of his favorite hangouts. The website provides photos, maps and hours of such Denver mainstays as the Tattered Cover and Common Grounds, and also provides a peek at hidden neighborhood jewels like the Shooting Star Cafe and Stella's Coffeehaus. Log on and smell the coffee.

BEST NEW HANGOUT FOR CHAIN-SMOKING HIGH-SCHOOLERS

Leela European Cafe

One patron can sip espresso and study for a trig midterm on a couch in the back while another talks loudly, sipping a glass of vino at the bar in the front, and never the two shall meet. That's because Leela European Cafe -- open 24 hours a day -- is as panoptic as the European continent itself, with lofty ceilings and a wall of windows facing the street. Serving a full menu, with free WiFi and a large stage and dance floor, Leela wants to be everything to everyone -- including that indecorous creature of the night, the chain-smoking teenager. There's a vending machine that sells cigs and a ventilation system that sucks smoke like the lungs of a Sicilian. At Leela, teens can assimilate into the cafe culture and learn to be buzzed all night, just like adults.
There isn't a big market for cheese fries and softcore porn, but Tom's Diner has it cornered. A nightly 3 a.m. destination for hopped-up club-goers and insomniacs, the friendly restaurant is outfitted with a number of Touch Maxx games, heaven-sent by the touch-screen mini-arcade bar gods. The black idiot boxes rest on the edge of yellow-upholstered booths and provide at least five to ten minutes of greasy-fingered fun between coffee refills. There's music trivia and word scramble, but the erotic photo hunt is by far the best T&A that 25 cents can buy. You choose babes or hunks, and Touch Maxx will give you a Highlights-like X-rated game of "Can you find the differences between these two nearly identical pornographic photos?" The winner is rewarded with a priceless flash animation of jiggling body parts.
St. Mark's Coffeehouse
Cassandra Kotnik
That St. Mark's Coffeehouse is a great place to stop for a cup of joe should not come as a surprise to anyone. This offshoot of the original LoDo spot has drawn the hiptelligentsia since first opening its enormous sliding garage door in 1997. They come for the coffee, bagels, panini and sweets, but stay for the company: cool teachers grading papers, the students who wrote them, artists and journalers, businessmen and housewives, and, of course, those insufferable coffee-shop rats, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and reveling in their own asinine chatter. St. Mark's has always been a good coffeehouse, but it's gotten even better over the past year. It ditched the fee for wireless and opened up the Ubisububi Room, a performance area that shares basement space with the Thin Man next door and offers everything from free movies to standup comedy to live acoustic music. The Thin Man and St. Mark's share ownership as well, and a swinging-door relationship allows 21-and-up patrons to enjoy a cocktail on either side of the common wall. So grab a mocha or a mojito, and settle in to enjoy the Paris of the Plains version of cafe culture.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of