LoDo has bars for every mood. I have a favorite or two where, during football season, I start pouring down Bloody Marys at 11 a.m. Although they are harder to find, a few other LoDo venues are guaranteed to inspire such a night of debauchery that you want to drive into oncoming traffic the next morning to end the pain. And now you can add Delaney's to that list.
Delaney's is an adjunct to the Celtic Tavern at 1801 Blake Street. Apparently the Celtic's owners didn't think that simply expanding their pseudo-Irish pub was enough; instead, they opened a large new room next door under another name. This may have been a ploy designed to entice drinkers who want to escape the notoriously pretentious females who hang out at the Celtic, but there are a few other notable differences between the bars.
For example, Dr. Etiquette has not (yet) thrown up on the bar (that's right -- on, not in, the bar) at Delaney's after a shot of bourbon that he just had to have. Delaney's has live music, too. The night we stopped by, the large stage in front featured an okay band that we could have sworn said it was the Edgerrin James Band. Although playing Santana tunes and wearing bandannas and your shirt open to the waist does not automatically give you soul, I have to hand it to this group: I've never before heard a bar band cover "Comfortably Numb." I usually expect to hear this song in more horse-tranquilizer-oriented bars. And Delaney's serves Murphy's Irish Stout rather than Guinness in an inexplicable move to be cool.
1801 Blake Street.
Like the Celtic, Delaney's has separate rooms/smoking lounges. At the Celtic, it's the obscure Robert E. "Rug" Burns Room; here, the two rooms are named after Dylan Thomas, the famous folk singer from Minnesota, and George Bernard Shaw, the father of smartasses. But until these spaces become clothing-optional, they will remain less attractive than the main bar at Delaney's. In this crowded space, we had to employ the same tactic we've used at the Celtic to get a quick beer, one that requires putting any woman with you to good use. Although the females in our party were not obnoxiously well-endowed, the instant their bazooms were perched on the bar, a bartender materialized as if by magic to take our order. (In the interest of fending off any irate e-mails from angry feminists or "men" hoping to appear sensitive by voicing their outrage, let me just note that the "boobs-on-bar" technique was advocated by the women themselves. The male researchers at the Institute of Drinking Studies are now seriously considering putting on a few pounds so that we have something to flop up on the bar; we'll let you know how it works out.)
Finally, Delaney's has one special feature that really sets it apart from its sibling: a bowling lane next to the bar, which has to be one of the better innovations I've seen in a while. Bowling -- like golf, NASCAR races, weekends and spring break -- is a great excuse to drink and act like an idiot. Generally, bowling alleys are seedy places with cheap beer and ugly shoes and bathrooms that host man-eating bacteria -- in other words, an ideal environment for getting knee-walking drunk and doing as much property damage as you can by hurling an eight-pound ball halfway down your lane or somebody else's until you are unceremoniously escorted from the premises. At Delaney's, you'll be drinking better beer while you bowl and probably still wearing better clothes when you're dumped out on the sidewalk after destroying the highly polished wood.
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Yes, LoDo's has a bar for every mood, and Delaney's is the place to go when you want to do something that will make you laugh the next day -- when someone in your group is kind enough to tell you what it was you did. So get out your bowling shoes or those pseudo-stylish ones that look just like bowling shoes to me, and go throw a few frames. When you need a drink, just make sure you're careful what you rest on the bar -- and where you rest it.