The morning following my first adventure at the Lakeview Lounge, in mid-December 2008, I awoke feeling gnarly all over and wrote the following love letter:
Dear Lakeview Lounge: I like that time forgot you — that you have a functional Budweiser Clydesdales carriage globe-light; that your beer swag is, like, twenty years old; that your bathroom is a real water-closet hellhole. I like these things, for real. I like your patio overlooking Sloan's Lake, even though it mostly overlooks five lanes of Sheridan traffic. I like that your bartenders leave the register unattended to go smoke, and that the regulars throw dice and dollar bills at each other. I don't like that hot plates at potlucks ruined your shuffleboard table. Not at all. That's sad.
I eventually sent this letter, but can't say with any certainty whether it was received, let alone read. No response ever arrived, though I waited and waited, pining for validation of my feelings and desires. Down but not out, I recently returned to the Edgewater dive that time forgot — that the Internet scarcely knows by name and that the majority of Denver likely knows next to nothing about — only to once again feel my heart swoon down into my liver and back up through my throat, until it was all I could do not to drink my weight in sixty-ounce pitchers of ice-cold Budweiser and publicly display my affection in some incredibly inappropriate way. Instead, I wrote another letter, my final declaration of adoration. Once more, with feeling:
2375 Sheridan Boulevard, Edgewater
My Dearest Lakeview Lounge: I notice that in my absence you converted the warped and worthless shuffleboard table into a place for patrons to sit and set their drinks. Good thinking, though I still wish you'd had the hindsight not to fuck it up in the first place. Shuffleboard tables are to be cherished, carefully maintained, and your epically boner move — if I may be so brash — worries me. What inside your hallowed, wood-paneled walls will be the next to go? Surely not the peanut M&Ms dispenser, the one I cranked eight quarters into, filling a chilled pint glass and sharing until everyone's fingers were stained rainbow colors? Or the $1.25 bags of popcorn from the vending machine, which your run-ragged bartender so expertly sprayed water on (so every kernel would pop) before tossing into the microwave?
I still love Peconi's Patio so hard. Twice now I've noticed the sign in memory of your friend Peconi; I'm sorry for your loss, though I wish the plastic picnic tables weren't bolted to the ground. I mean, you're closed for all of five hours each day: Are you truly worried they'll disappear? I dig that your regulars know how to party. I have to admit, however, that I was slightly horrified when some dudes at the next table began giving their female friend wedgies. At first I thought that was crossing a line, but when she began stretching her pink thong past her ears and over her own head, I knew that shit was legit.
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I know I said this already, but I really do worry for you sometimes, Lakeview. That one day I'll wander across town and find you closed. Then I remember how much ass you kick and realize we'll be together forever. I hope the idea makes you as happy as it makes me.
P.S.: I seriously almost vommed when I saw what was growing on the bar of soap in the bathroom. Just get some goddamn liquid Dial already. Sheesh.
Cheers to cash-only beers,