Milwaukee Street Tavern

It isn't often that I have no desire to go out (though it seems to happen more and more as I "mature"), and the other night was one of those rare occasions when I just wanted to park my butt on the couch, crack open a beer and contemplate religion and redemption while watching the heavenly body of Jaime Pressly. But then, just as Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel, I got an offer I couldn't refuse. My calling came in the form of Todd, the Air Force Professor Emeritus, in town on short notice yet again. I thought about refusing, but cringed at the potential ramifications. What if Mary had just said no? More important, I didn't want to put up with the verbal abuse I'd buy if I stayed home. I had to step up.

So we hoofed it over to the Milwaukee Street Tavern (201 Milwaukee Street), which replaced one of my favorite pizza joints last year. Unfortunately, we'd forgotten that the Nuggets were losing a critical playoff game that night, so the place was packed. But the first real harbinger of doom was a guy we'll call Bald Cheese and his buddy, Greasy Cheese. More than the new furnishings, these two zeros showed that the joint had gone Cherry Creek; gone was the place that had challenged you to kill yourself by eating eight square feet of pizza. I'm sure everyone knows the Cheese brothers, or at least a couple of their relatives. These guys have air lats. They wear wraparound shades that Paris Hilton couldn't pull off. They're the ones who are trying to forge a comeback for gold chains and other guy jewelry that hasn't been seen since the '80s — and it wasn't cool even then. They wear those bowling shoes that cost a lot of money. Above all, they'll hit on anything that moves, including an angel delivering news of an immaculate conception.

Not that I am totally proud of my own behavior. The bar was full of people watching the Nugs getting worked, so tables were at a premium, and I was perched like a vulture near two middle-aged women who were obviously getting ready to depart. But then the Cheese brothers swooped in and started up a conversation with the women. Maybe they were whispering; that could explain Bald's need to bend down within a mere two inches of his prey's face. More likely, he was hoping she might sneeze or have a seizure so he could steal a smack on the lips. He and his little brother remained oblivious to my dirty looks and the fact that they were not going to get laid — or get the table I had my eye on. I thought about going over and telling them to get the hell out of there, but I didn't think I could penetrate their protective cloud of Drakkar Noir.

At least we were able to get a couple of beers at the bar during this pathetic display. Because once we were seated, service pretty much came to a stop. Beers arrived at irregular intervals, and food showed up in the final states of decay or not at all — as in the case of my wings and the Texan's wife's salad (but really, who orders a salad at a bar?). This was not entirely our waitress's fault; two servers are just not enough on a busy game night. We soon realized that there was no way Todd and I were going to have an appropriate reunion unless we switched to hard liquor, but I had no desire to end up in Denver CARES.

Our unusual sobriety did allow us to cover some important world issues, though, most notably nuclear winter. I'm not sure what Al Gore's big worry is, since it seems pretty warm around here lately. Anyway, we took the bold stance that nuclear winter would be a bad thing for us as normal humans — but that those of us who did survive would get the chance to hang out with Ron Jeremy. Too bad the Cheese brothers would probably survive, along with the rest of the cockroaches.

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Patrick Osborn