The legendary Broadway building was built in the early 1930s, opening not long after Prohibition ended. By the late ’40s, it was the Red Lantern Cafe, which was purchased in the early ’50s by twenty-year-old DU law student Jerry Feld, who wasn’t old enough to own a bar. To get around this, the liquor license was put under his older brother’s name. Club 404 became a family business, known for its iconic sign, friendly staff and low-priced food and drinks. The dive was beloved by union workers along Fourth Avenue, whose checks Feld would cash every Friday. Club 404 served the neighborhood for sixty years before closing on December 15, 2011.
The Denver Wheel Club 404 opened in spring 2012. Named after a cycling club from the 1890s, it catered to the city’s bike enthusiasts. The Wheel Club was soon replaced by the franchise blues club Brendan’s Pub, named after owner Kevin Geraghty’s dog. In January 2016, the government seized the venue for back taxes.
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Geraghty renovated the space and reopened as Rory’s Tavern a year later. Named after Geraghty’s grandson, the new pub hosts Irish music sessions, singer-songwriter nights, charity events and full bands on weekends. Rory’s grand opening will take place September 13-15.
Editor's Note: The Denver Bootleg is a series chronicling the history of local music venues by longtime Denver cartoonist Karl Christian Krumpholz. Visit Krumpholz's website to see more of his work.