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As I walked up to the bar at the Stockyard Inn, I heard a guy ask the bartender, "Do you have anything on special?" She smiled, put her tattooed arms on her hips, pushed out her chest and replied, "You're lookin' at it, sugar." It was a scene straight out of a roadhouse movie, yet I was only minutes from civilized downtown Denver. When I asked for a tall Crown and Coke ($6), the bartender offered another classic response: "Honey, there's only one size, and don't expect a glass." She proceeded to explain that during the Stock Show, the bar uses only plastic glasses and serves shots out of Dixie cups. That's because about five years ago, a bunch of Canadian cowboys threw the pool table out the window -- and that was just the start of the ruckus. During this year's extravaganza, the Stockyard Inn poured a lot of Crown Royal in those plastic cups -- two cases on the first Saturday alone. According to Sandy, the smart-ass bartender, Crown is the cowboy drink of choice by a seven-to-one ratio. While the Stockyard Inn is always hopping during the Stock Show, it's worth a visit the rest of the year, too. Located in the ninety-year-old Livestock Exchange Building for more than five decades (and a few owners), it boasts a 102-year-old Diebold Safe & Lock Co. safe that serves as a closet, a real Al Capone speakeasy bar shipped in from Chicago, and a sign above the bar that reads, "Never argue with your wife, just dicker." Ride 'em, cowboy.

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.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.