In an August 2013 profile, Melanie Asmar described Mike Dunafon and Debbie Matthews as the king and queen of Glendale: He's the mayor, while she's the owner of Shotgun Willie's, one of Colorado's most iconic strip clubs.
Now, this power couple has scored another coup: They found a legal way for Shotgun Willie's to serve alcohol past 2 a.m., when state regulations call for bartenders to put away their bottles. How did they do it?
That's the subject of a new CBS4 report, which uses hidden camera techniques even though everything the club has done is completely overboard, albeit unique (so far) in Colorado.
Back in 2011, as investigator Brian Maass notes, Glendale backed legislation that allowed communities to create "entertainment districts" -- a process Asmar details in a 2013 feature article about Glendale's riverwalk project. Under the new law, Glendale also formed the North Glendale Promotional Association, a group charged with overseeing what's deemed a "common consumption area."
In this zone, Glendale is allowed to come up with its own rules for when clubs must stop serving alcohol -- and in its municipal code, officials set the time at 4 a.m., two hours later than any other watering hole in the state.
The new time went into effect on weekend nights beginning last month, and the word spread quickly. Shotgun Willie's established a new, higher $30 cover to get into the venue after 2 a.m., and on a recent visit, a CBS4 producer, with video equipment in tow, documented a sizable and notably thirsty crowd.
No surprise that Mothers Against Drunk Driving isn't thrilled by this development, with a representative telling Maass he fears the Shotgun Willie's gambit will encourage bar-hopping and, by extension, more intoxicated people behind the wheel.
But other municipalities, including Black Hawk and Morrison, are reportedly looking for ways to get in on the action by following Glendale's template.
Here's the CBS4 piece.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.