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Kaydee's Rum Punch at Crash 45

On Saturday I was in Globeville looking for the White Owl, a bar that took over a sixty-year-old Slavic speakeasy named the Portulaca Cafe in 2008. The Owl had a reputation as a super-friendly, cash-only bar without food but with PBR on tap.

As it turns out, the White Owl has flown the coop -- but we were pleasantly surprised by what's landed in its former home at 321 East 45th Avenue: Crash 45.

Shane Evans, a metal sculptor who'd owned Liquid Lounge in Breckenridge, purchased the White Owl in May. And while Globeville may seen as far away as Breck to the uninformed SoBo/hipster crowd, it's only a short mile from downtown. Evans has already made improvements to the place, expanding the patio, adding a room for music and DJs, and filling the spot with his own metalwork, including a huge, Max Headroom-ish robot.

The real surprise is in the kitchen: Wade Kirwin, who worked for years as executive chef at Vesta Dipping Grill under Matt Selby, is keeping things cooking here, and recently introduced a small menu (on the back of a bicycle license plate) that features great burgers and corndogs that are really deep-fried shrimp with a honey-pepper dipping sauce.

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We sat down at the beautiful, hundred-year-old bar (moved there from a Denver hotel many years ago) and asked bartender Kaydee for a drink that was rummy and fruity. She quickly produced a happy cocktail she named Kaydee's Rum Punch ($5), concocted from Sailor Jerry's Rum, pineapple and orange juice, triple sec and cherry juice.

After getting our drinks and some grub, we chatted with Wade, Kaydee and Shawn. Crash 45 is hosting different thematic evenings, including a regular Thursday motorcycle night that's already popular, and an upcoming show devoted to Jack Kerouac.

Looks like Crash 45 is on a collision course to become just what this evolving neighborhood needs.

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