Denver is losing some of its great dive bars, as development gobbles up the buildings that have long housed these down-and-dirty saloons. Some of the city's classic watering holes have dried up altogether; others have been renovated out of true dive status, although they remain excellent bars (for examples, see the Squire, Don's Club Tavern).
And then there are spots that may have been tagged with the dive label but are really great neighborhood bars. The Dirty Duck, at 4780 East Evans Avenue, could be the perfect model for this category.
I'd heard a lot of thing about the Dirty Duck over the years, some of it pretty scary, and finally ventured in one day with a friend who'd lived in that southeast Denver neighborhood for two decades but had never stepped foot inside the Dirty Duck. And, surprise: The place was clean, bright, friendly...exactly the kind of place that every neighborhood needs, but so few have.
But the Dirty Duck was recently done dirty: The spectacular fire at the Rockies Inn earlier this month also affected the bar, which had to be evacuated, and it's been closed ever since — "temporarily," according to the sign on the door.
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“This transformer, it blew up like the Fourth of July. It was like fireworks,” manager Liza McGuire told KDVR last week. “Very angry. I don’t understand it. I probably will never understand it, and all I care about is getting my business and my customers back where they belong.”
But that won't happen until the place gets all its power back and the city signs off on its structural integrity.
Here's hoping that the Dirty Duck will soon be flying high again.