Word of Mouth

Memories of Marlowe's, Closing December 22

Danielle Lirette
The final countdown has begun. The clock on the Marlowe's website shows that just over three days remain before this longtime landmark on the 16th Street Mall issues last call, then shutters for good. But at least regulars were warned: When they closed the Paramount Cafe over Labor Day weekend, the owners announced that they'd be closing sibling restaurants Govnr's Park on November 11, Lala's on December 23, and Marlowe's at the end of service on December 22.

With the news, memories began pouring out, including this piece that onetime Marlowe's employee Charlie Haviland posted on Facebook and we're reprinting with his permission:

For my friends in Denver who are uniting to celebrate 36 legendary years of Marlowe’s restaurant. The sun sets one last time over the Sixteenth Street Mall lobster joint and bar. I’m sorry I’m not there with you guys. But I am in spirit.

This story unedited is from the archives:

I was sober ten months on New Year's Eve 1988. I was behind the bar at Marlowe's in Denver.
Playboy magazine had recently anointed Marlowe’s one of the ten hottest bars — not in Denver or Colorado, but in the United States. Bartenders were decked out in white jackets and black bow ties; the dance floor was stacked with five-inch heels and draped in black cocktail dresses.

A homeless man had made
his way into the foyer of the restaurant. I heard Andy Morris say, “Get Charlie, he works with drunks.” It was five degrees in the bone-chilling, windstruck night outside on the Sixteenth Street Mall.

I trudged my way through tuxes and babes to the foyer, a small enclave of warmth, one door opened onto Glenarm Street, the other to a vast and beautiful dining room of oak and cherry tables (where, two years later, I would ask a disruptive Stephen Stills to calm down and, when he didn’t, leave). The small space had its own heater, oak bench and the free weeklies:
Westword among them.

I opened the door from the dining room. The space stunk —  the man stunk — much like the Boulder homeless shelter I'd slept in the previous winter. He had that cold and frightened body language: curled in the fetal position, sitting up. Alone. An epiphany overcame me: I was no different than the man before me. Our only difference was one drink. Mine. But, so far, so good.

I hadn't judged the man. The gift — yes it was a gift, nothing I had done or accomplished — of compassion had come over me in the beginning of a long journey of serving others.

That's Charlie Haviland's story. Do you have memories of Marlowe's that you'd like to share? Post a comment or send an email to [email protected]