The Edgewater City Council will vote this week on whether to allow a common consumption area in the town of 5,300 residents just west of Denver; the proposal calls for rescinding circa 1977 zoning on a seven-acre site at West 20th Avenue and Depew Street, where a King Soopers once ruled, in order to allow a new shopping/entertainment complex in which consumers can carry around adult beverages as they shop.
While common consumption areas are becoming increasingly popular in Colorado, Edgewater already has an uncommon consumption opportunity: Watching the sun rise over Sloan's Lake from the bar at the Lakeview Lounge.
The Lakeview is one of the few classic dives left in metro Denver. Generations of elbows have made their marks in the worn linoleum on the bar; signs behind the bartender promise cheap drinks and no children after 7 p.m. There's no formal entertainment beyond a pinball machine and classic jukebox, but twice a year the Lakeview is the site of a unique ritual: On the last day of Daylight Saving Time in November, and again on the first day of Daylight Saving Time in March, you can come in when the bar opens at 7 a.m., grab a drink, and consume it while you watch the sun pop through the distant Denver skyline to the east.
The crowd was sparse but enthusiastic on Sunday, March 12: a couple of regular regulars, a couple of sunrise- service regulars, and one fellow who'd been at a party the night before where everyone promised to arrive in time to see the sun rise but failed to show. He spent considerable time texting them from the front patio, which offers a lovely view of Sloan's Lake and the cranes rising off to the south, as West Colfax Avenue remakes itself.
But the Lakeview Lounge remains a blast from the past. The stand-alone building at 2375 Sheridan Boulevard dates back to the ’40s, when it got its start as a creamery. In the early ’50s, it became the Circle Drive-In, a hamburger joint, and then in 1957 it found its greatest-good use as a bar. It started as the High Skipper, turned into Sloopy's in the early ’60s, then became Cindy's, and finally turned into the Lakeview Lounge under new owner Jerry Golden in 1975.
Jack Simon, who'd grown up near Golden, started working there as a bartender in the 1980s; after leaving for a few years, he was called back a decade ago and wound up buying the place in 2010 when Golden retired.
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Some fans of the Lakeview have been drinking here for decades; others are residents of the rapidly gentrifying Edgewater. Some come from further away to get a taste of a true watering hole, as our bar columnist, Sarah McGill, reported in June 2017.
While the area around the Lakeview Lounge is changing rapidly, and could soon change even faster, time seems to stand still inside this classic dive.
Except on the first morning of Daylight Saving Time, when the rising sun signals the start of a new day.