Smelling is believing: Star Bar 2.0 cleans house

"It just depends on what they smell like, to be quite honest with you."

That's Justin Lloyd, one of three new owners of Star Bar, 2137 Larimer Street, the subject of this week's Drunk of the Week. "They" are the less-than-desirables who used to frequent the original Star Bar (and still inhabit the ever-gentrifying Larimer Street stretch of the Ballpark neighborhood). The "riffraff," as one bartendresses referred to them.


"Inevitably, we found that they would park themselves at the end of the bar," says Lloyd of the transients and swing shifters and day laborers, "so everyone who walked by could see that guy sitting there." Which is a problem for a bar owner trying to convey a new image, attempting to attract a more upscale clientele "who like the old charm" of the fifty-year-old dive, but would be impressed enough with the turnaround to say, "Wow, you've really cleaned the place up."

So what's a bar owner -- specifically one who doesn't "want some drunk, stinky guy sitting at the end of the bar" -- to do?

"The biggest aspect is that we changed the hours of operation," Lloyd says, from a 7 a.m. opening to the Denver-standard-with-no-kitchen 4 p.m. start time. Step two was simply talking to 'em. According to Lloyd, "They'd ask, 'How much is a beer?'" (The majority start at $3 and jump from there.) "Or if they wanted a pitcher" (which used to be six bucks, always) "We'd say, 'No pitchers.' We've just kind of whittled it down - most of them saw different furniture and people and not the same music, and they turned around and walked away."

Down Larimer Street. Perhaps over to El Chapultepec, one of the last downtown joints to still offer a beer under two bucks.

Been a minute since your last visit to Larimer? Looks more and more like LoDo every day. See for yourself here.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Drew Bixby