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Reader: Any Night at El Chapultepec Was a Good Night

Reader: Any Night at El Chapultepec Was a Good Night
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After days of rumors, the owners of El Chapultepec made it official on December 8: The legendary jazz club is closed, and it's not coming back...after 87 years in the same family.

“I want to make sure we're not going to be too quick to point the finger at COVID and our shutdowns for being the reason for this closure,” said Anna Diaz, who'd inherited the business with her sister, Angela Guerrero, after their father, Jerry Krantz, passed away in 2012. He'd taken it over from his father-in-law and made it a jazz mecca. “Of course, the closure played a part in it," Diaz continued. "Undoubtedly, that makes an impact in our decision, but there are so many things that led to this choice."

Changes in the neighborhood, for one thing. And with El Chapultepec gone, those changes will be even more marked, leaving readers with memories. Says Jane: 

I went to El Chapultepec for decades, before that area was LoDo, before Coors Field opened. Those days were my favorites, but any night at El Chapultepec was a good night.

Adds Melanie:

So many memories here. Sad to see it go.

Recalls Gina:

I took my History of Jazz final here.

Remembers Nikki:

This was my first real "night on the town" venue after I turned 21. Damn it.

Shares Jan:

I remember as a kid in the early ’70s going to this great institution and Denver landmark with my parents, and having a great breakfast as my parents would cure their "hangover." I will miss El Chapultepec forever.

Asks Ozren:

I wonder how many people actually went to this bar even twice in the last two years before COVID. Because let me tell you, it was hardly busy ever. I think most people are just bitching to bitch and trying to act like some dive-bar jazz connoisseur all of a sudden.

But then there's this from Ukulele Loki:

It’s safe to say the bros killed El Chapultepec, not COVID.

I was devastated to hear the news of the closing of El Chapultepec. But to be honest, I had been unable to attend or appreciate the 'Pec for the last couple of years. Because as the owners confirmed in their press conference, this has been an impending problem that predates COVID.

Gentrifiers talk about our downtown “improving,” but long-time residents know that nothing could be further from the truth. Our downtown has become a vomitous wasteland for blacked-out spectators and consumer-sports zombies. The strip on Market is as prime an example of Ugly America in its death spiral as Las Vegas. It is a hostile environment that could never continue to support or foster an open-door club dedicated to the appreciation of live, raw, democratic jazz.

In years past, when the area around Market and 20th was considered a “rough” part of town, I never once felt unsafe. But now that the intersection has become ground zero of “New Denver” awash in tourist money, it has become an unsafe strip for loud, intoxicated, disrespectful, shoving, drooling, entitled, douchebros. The street crowd is no longer comprised of a community. It is a conglomeration of three types of clueless consumers: the suburban weekend warrior, the cannabis party tourist, and the resident of the new yuppie-kennel condos. These are the clueless, unmoored, parasitic non-participants who strip-mine a city and kill its community.

Thank you to the owners — Anna Diaz and Angela Guerrero (and your father Jerry Krantz before you) — for the years of music and magic. You sustained a thriving creative community for decades. It’s devastating to see you go. I can only hope that since you are not selling the name, you have plans to open a new club, far away from an intersection that has become the spawning grounds where feral Chads go to flex their roid rage.

We will miss the ’Pec and we mourn its passing. Where do we go from here?

Where do you think we should go from here? Post a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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