Best Bowling Alley 2009 | Lucky Strike | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Ariel Fried
More lounge than lanes, Lucky Strike at the Denver Pavilions isn't exactly your father's bowling alley. You won't find a soulless, big-box complex swarming with greasy-haired '50s Neanderthals, all hooting at women. Instead you'll find an intimate, plush, club-style room filled with the kind of sophisticated, trendy, urban young men used in cigarette ads. They'll be hooting at women, too, only with a pinkie ring and a martini, not a league button-down. A word of caution: You get what you pay for. Lucky Strike isn't for the budget-minded bowler — but if you can pick up that 7-10 split with Big Lebowski swank and swagger, then you want to roll here.
A left tackle? Are we serious? Hell, yes, we are. Every football expert worth his jock strap knows how important the job is and identifies Ryan Clady as one of the Broncos' three top offensive building blocks, along with quarterback Jay Cutler (unless he gets traded) and receiver Brandon Marshall. But unlike the latter pair, the former Boise State standout hasn't staged any public pouts or produced a rap sheet gaudier than his on-field stats. He only garners positive headlines, as when he finished third in the voting for the 2008 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award — an astonishing achievement for a lineman. And if he stays healthy, Clady's got the talent to anchor the squad and receive Pro Bowl honors for a decade-plus. Top that, Jay and Brandon.
It seemed like a desperation move: After every other Denver Broncos running back went down with injuries, the team moved Peyton Hillis, a hardheaded rookie fullback, to tailback. Some said he was too slow, others said he was too big. But wouldn't you know it? Hillis ended up being too damn good for defenders to bring down — at least until he went down with an injury himself, proving that the 2008 Broncos were paying for some untold karmic mistake (drafting Maurice Clarett, perhaps?). But Hillis also proved that wherever he contributes in 2009, he'll be a deserved fan favorite.
The decision by Denver Nuggets management to deal Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons early in the season could have resulted in catastrophe — especially considering that defensive leader Marcus Camby had previously been jettisoned in a salary dump. But thanks to a big assist from Chauncey Billups, who's proved to be the real answer for the team, coach George Karl managed to fuse the players at his disposal into a unit far more cohesive than the one that chalked up fifty wins the year before. Later in the season, when Carmelo Anthony refused to come out of a game, Karl didn't throw a fit; he simply benched him for the next one. He should get an award for that alone.
Talk about a no-win situation: Steve Fairchild was hired to replace Sonny Lubick, arguably the most beloved coach in Colorado State University history, and the man for whom the university's football field in Fort Collins is named. But while Fairchild is a CSU alum, he's had tremendous experience at the highest levels, having served as an assistant for the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams — and he called on every bit of it this past season. To put it mildly, the cupboard was bare when Fairchild took charge. Against all odds, however, the Rams won just enough games to merit an invite to the New Mexico Bowl, where they beat favored Fresno State. Just imagine what Fairchild will be able to do after a couple more recruiting classes.
Artist-designed lift tickets in Aspen aren't a new thing, but they are an enduring one. This is, in fact, the fourth year for the program, which is a collaboration between the edgy Aspen Art Museum and the folks who run the mountain, and it's usually accompanied by a full-blown museum exhibition by the assigned ticket designer that gives people something interesting to do when they're not on the slopes. Besides, the 2008-2009 text-based graphic ticket design by conceptual artist Jim Hodges, "Give More Than You Take," gives them something deeper to ponder as they ride up the hill for a schuss.
Expensive boot camps and pricey gyms are great for staying in shape. So are skiing, kayaking and cycling — if you can afford all the gear that goes along with those sports. But if you want a real workout — one that tasks even the fittest of the fit — try running, jumping or climbing the 69 rows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, or the stairs next to them. The place is gorgeous, and free, and you'll find people just as crazy as you, sometimes in large, organized groups, there year-round on just about any day when there isn't a scheduled concert or event. Right now the city allows anyone or any group to use the stairs, as long as they are considerate of others and respect the quiet beauty of the place.

Best Guess for When the Denver Broncos Will Return to the Super Bowl


Former coach Mike Shanahan took the Broncos to their first Super Bowl victory in his third season with the team. Riding the skills of Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and Pro Bowl running back Terrell Davis, it was a quick start for a football Mastermind. New coach Josh McDaniels may be as smart and as driven as Shanahan, but instead of Elway and Davis, he has Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, two talented players with some, uh, issues. Oh, and a disastrous defense. If McDaniels can get his offensive stars in line and figure out a way to revamp the D, it will take him as least as long as Shanny to get back to the big dance. We'll give him one extra year. Good luck, coach.
It must be tough being international snowboard superstar Shaun White. After several years of completely dominating the sport in half-pipe and slopestyle riding, it's been difficult for the 22-year-old known for his shock of tomato-colored hair to get on a chairlift without being completely mobbed by admirers. So when rumors began earlier this year about a huge half-pipe built secretly somewhere high in the Colorado backcountry, White's name was floated as the only boarder big enough to afford such a luxury. The rumor was confirmed in February, when someone snapped a long-distance photo of a super-duper-pipe on the back of Silverton Mountain, accessible only by snowmobile and helicopter. Apparently, Red Bull and Burton Snowboards built the $500,000, 22-foot-tall half-pipe for White to train on for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Must be tough.
The 1.4-mile Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks is the perfect length and difficulty — short, easy and at a relatively low altitude — for anyone seeking a nature-y afternoon respite from the bustling streets of Denver. Plus, the gorgeous red rocks and the adrenaline-inducing rattlesnake warning signs are sure to impress out-of-town guests. The trail starts and ends at the Trading Post, where you can grab a snack or make a pit stop before you start hiking. And the hike itself, near the coolest concert venue in the country, is as photogenic as all get-out, so don't forget your camera.

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