Jerry Feld bought his bar at 404 Broadway before he was even old enough to have a liquor license; for the first year, it was in his uncle's name. Feld went on to run Club 404 for sixty years, creating generations of fans. But once he hit eighty, he was finally ready to move on -- and last February, after a few months of renovation work, the address reopened as the Denver Wheel Club 404, a very bike-friendly bar.
But now that incarnation has rolled to a halt.
Jerry Feld had sold the bar he bought back in 1951 to Craig and Andrew Caldwell; Brad Evans, the designer behind the Denver Cruisers, transformed the place into a hipster hangout with a bicycle theme. "This is a landmark that only a fool would lose," Evans said when the Denver Wheel Club 404 prepared to open its doors. "We've done our best to keep the original feel to the place... You'll be surprised!"
But today Evans and fellow Cruiser Damon Bruno rolled out the bad news:
Denver Cruiser Ride Fans and Denver Wheel Club Patrons!
You may have already heard this news, but here it is from the horse's mouth:
The Denver Cruiser Ride is no longer associated with the bar formerly known as the Denver Wheel Club located at 404 Broadway.
The Denver Wheel Club was envisioned to be, much like its1890s predecessor, a place for bicycle enthusiasts of all stripes to gather, as well as to codify Denver's bicycle community. As you can imagine, any new venture is fraught with unforseen challenges - our goal from day one - was also to create a "club house" for the Denver Cruiser Riders. We invested thousands and thousands of hours and untold resources getting the Denver Wheel Club at 404 Broadway open for business. For those that assisted us in this endeavor, and to those that patronized the Denver Wheel Club - allow us to thank you for being part of our efforts!
Owning and operating a business is no easy task and it takes much more than luck to succeed. It goes without saying that in pursuing this venture, it also came with the real world aspects of owning a bar - which is a ton of work, not to mention the piles of stress it created. In an effort to reduce the anxiety that we were experiencing - on November 1, 2012, we sold the building that housed the bar. Along with this new ownership came the opportunity for us to transfer our interest in the bar. Make no mistake - this was no easy decision on our part, as we'd invested so much of our time, resources and ultimately, ourselves - as we brought the concept to life.
While this may come as disappointing news to some -- as it turns out, we have retained the trademarked namesake (Denver Wheel Club); and we have all the photos, art work and bicycles that made up the heart and soul of the Denver Wheel Club. The bar at 404 continues on, it's just not the DWC any more.
We firmly believe in the concept behind this business venture; and the timing just happened to workout in a way that we could potentially have a version 2.0 of the DWC at a future location by next summer - where we can once again celebrate bicycle fun together! Our hope is to engage a management team that "gets" the value of the DWC (not only in monetary terms) but sees the importance of developing a long-term relationship with Denver's bicycle community, as well as with those that partake in the weekly Denver Cruiser Rides.
We have few, if any, regets having pursued this project full-tilt. We are proud of the work we put into resurrecting one of Denver's infamous watering holes. The best lesson from this adventure is that ideas are a dime-a-dozen, and talk is cheap. Believing in an idea, and then doing the REAL work of bringing them to fruition - even when the deck appears to be stacked against you- and instead stepping up and making your dreams a reality is where the magic is - no matter what the outcome or challenges may be.
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What will be the next dream for 404 Broadway?