Colton Underwood, ABC’s 23rd official bachelor on The Bachelor, brought his harem of eager bachelorettes and his jarring lack of charisma back to his alleged home town of Denver last fall, to film segments of the episode that aired on ABC February 18.
Seeing him operate in a city that both he and I claim as our own, I no longer doubt Colton’s claims of sexual purity. I do, however, doubt that ABC’s second-most-disappointing bachelor (after Ari) had ever set foot in the Queen City of the Plains before the crew filmed this episode. Let’s take a look at where the NFL practice-squad player turned skeptical Lothario went wrong:
Here's where Colton went on his date with Tayshia: Stoic & Genuine at Union Station for oysters; Denver Milk Market for a wine tasting, as well as what I'd assume was sparkling raspberry cider; back to Union Station and Milkbox Ice Creamery for ice cream; then on to a nondescript, dining table-less, LoHi Airbnb to cook salmon and canoodle.
This is a fine way to spend your day if you’re a 45-year-old reconnecting with your birth mother. It’s not a fine way to spend a date if you’re a 27-year-old on a televised quest to lose your virginity.
Here's where Colton should have taken Tayshia: Cherry Crest Seafood Restaurant & Market for lobster rolls. (This is the Beaver Creek to S&G's Vail — the place where you go when you want to pretend that you have money. When you take a date all the way down South University Boulevard for the Cherry Crest's otherworldly lobster rolls and fifteen-dollar liters of chablis that are actually drinkable, you are showing her that you know what the fuck you’re doing.) And to cap it off, a nightcap at Dive Inn for ping-pong and vodka sodas (which shows that you might even figure out your way around a bedroom).
But, no. And next, Boy Wonder took Caelynn to Loveland Pass, Loveland ski area, The Fort and Red Rocks.
I will concede that Red Rocks is a stud move, though the Fort is not a great place for après. Where Underwood really went wrong was Loveland Pass and Loveland. He might as well have greeted Caelynn with one of his trademark “Some of the girls were talking about you, and they told me you love roaring wind.”
Are you kidding me? Of course he should have met her at Arapahoe Basin. He's trying to sell this girl on Denver, and his pitch on the majestic Rockies is, “It gets real windy up here.” There are certainly windy days at A-Bay, but there are also incredible Bloody Marys and the wind-sheltered Beach.
As for après, a trip to Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs would be more appropriate for a tourist. If my man can’t stomach the legendary line at Beau Jo’s, Smokin Yard's BBQ, also in Idaho Springs, would have been fine. Either of those places might have led to an “impromptu” trip to the nearby Indian Hot Springs, where things might have gotten hot and heavy.
Next came Colton's date with Hannah B., and he took her to meet his parents in, God help him, PARKER. I, too, am a product of the south metro suburban wasteland, and while I recognize that circumstance sometimes dictates that you bring a girl back there to meet your parents, it is absolutely imperative to first fortify that girl with a drink.
Instead of driving Hannah B. directly to his parents' house, Colton should have stopped at the Stagecoach Saloon. This rough-and-tumble biker bar is located just south of Parker in Franktown, where the sea of a single endlessly replicated home starts to thin out. It would have been very important for Hannah B. to see that the Stepford Wife hellscape of Denver’s suburbs does not extend to the New Mexico border.
After the meeting with his parents, Colton took Hannah B. to a catered dinner at Wings Over the Rockies. I’m a regular person, not a suitor on a dating show, so I’ve never had dinner at Wings Over the Rockies. It’s troubling that Colton, who claims that he grew up in Parker and currently resides in Denver, doesn’t know about China Jade, one of the best restaurants in the entire country and an absolute no-brainer if you’re in far-east Denver. But then, China Jade’s gorgeous banquet room would have been even less appropriate for a breakup than the hangar-cum-dining room at Wings Over the Rockies.
Instead, for his farewell dinner with Hannah B., Colton should have gone to the Piper Inn. Roughshod exterior? Check. Confusingly nice interior? Check. Overhyped wings and mediocre Chinese food? Check and check. I’m not trashing the Piper Inn; I eat there often and enjoy it, unironically. But you can be a fan of a restaurant and also recognize that it's the perfect place for a breakup. The Piper Inn is The Bachelor in Paradise of the Denver dining scene.
Finally, Colton took the remaining girls on a group date to Georgetown, where they rode a narrow gauge railroad, then back to Denver to dine at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion. This is actually a perfect date...for 1903!
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Instead, Colton should have entertained the harem at Two Bears Tap and Grill. I actually typed Kermit’s before I realized that classic has been replaced, and I can’t believe that I’m advocating for a spot in the bullshit New Denver that Colton showcased in this last atrocious episode of The Bachelor, but Kermit's/Two Bears would have been the right place. Again: Colton, you have to believe in yourself. On a group date, you HAVE to put yourself in a position to end up in hot water at the Indian Hot Springs.
On the episode airing Monday, February 25, the hometown dates start, and I can return to hate-watching The Bachelor without doing any sort of frame-by-frame analysis to see which restaurant Colton picked, or wonder what Parker subdivision produced such an astounding dud.
Colton, one last request: If The Bachelor crew returns, please, please, show the viewers something other than the new builds of RiNo and LoHi. There are parts of Denver that are still unique, that show why Denver became such a thriving, vibrant metropolis. You are an ambassador for our fair city, Denver’s one great hope for correcting our skewed guy-to-gal ratio.
Do right by us.