Friday, May 27, 2011

El Chapultepec, Denver (LoDo) -- REVIEW

Looked cool from the outside
1962 Market St
Denver, CO
303/295-9126

In doing some research when I got to Denver, I quickly came across a bar named El Chapultepec…an apparently well-known dive right in the shadow of Coors Field. In doing my research, I also found out that the owner was a “dear” friend of Ella Fitzgerald, once carded Bono of U2 (because he was with some underage broads), was “boys” with Frank Sinatra and the kicker…once wrapped a pool ball in a towel and with one swing, knocked some dude's teeth right out of his mouth! Not to mention, Jack Kerouac used the men’s room in this dive for a place to get cleaned up…LET’S GO!!

First Impressions: Through the superb navigation skills of my wingman for the night “Moon”, we made it to the front door, walked in and were immediately underwhelmed. Keep in mind it was a Monday night around 8:30ish or so, but damn this place is empty and dead. I can’t help but notice that if there were crickets in the corners, they would have easily drowned out any of the nonexistent atmosphere this place was giving off. “Hey Moon…are you sure your iPhone didn’t send us to the wrong place??”

No bartender to be found
The Bar: It’s a dive, there’s no doubt about that. It has diner-type bar stools and some booths on the right side of the dark barroom. A few signs of note are scattered about; “One Drink Minimum Per Set”, “Cash Only. No Credit Cards” and “Water is for Paying Customers Only”. OK…so friendly it is not. Moon noted that they have, arguably, the worst collection of “top shelf” booze ever. Screw it…I’ll just have a draft beer. Wait? What’s that you say mean-looking bar guy? No draft beer after 8:00 p.m.?? But I’m looking right at the five taps. Screw it…bottle it is.

The Crowd: There were a grand total of 6 people seated throughout the bar. Of course, the really drunk guy next to me kept wanting to know what I was doing with my phone (trying to take pictures wino!) so I never really did get any good shots from inside here. The people at the bar were as nondescript as the vibe in the bar. Maybe the ghost of Francis Albert Sinatra will show up soon to liven the joint up…because so far this sucks.

Still no bartender
Service: Keep in mind I use the word “Service” here for no other reason than to keep continuity with the other reviews that I’ve done. How to sum it up? When not standing outside doing nothing, the James Harrison lookalike seemed as interested in serving drinks to us, as the real James Harrison is interested in congratulating Roger Goodall for some shrewd ideas when it comes to protecting “defenseless” football players. He had nothing to say, rarely seemed to wait on people, and seemed as mean as a snake. Other than that…I have no complaints.

Prices: The word on the street was that you could get a draft beer for $1.50…of course I’ll never know…they don’t serve draft beer after 8! Moon and I stuck around for a grand total of three beers which cost us a total of $8.75, which works out to be $2.91 a beer. Maybe not the worst price I’ve ever paid, but it sure is weirdest.

Food: I didn’t see any signs of food, yet a lot of my research says that they do serve Mexican food here. My question would be, from the looks of the place, would you really want to eat here?

Empty and boring
Entertainment: This is a Jazz bar, so the entertainment is really all about the band on the stage that night. They have a grand total of one TV, and a side room with a pool table. That’s pretty much it. Just before 9, a deadhead-looking “jazz” band started playing…and they were pretty good. I will say this as well, the acoustics in the bar are great.

Restroom: One of the top five worst restrooms of all time…old, dirty, smelly and basically falling apart. You can use them if you want, but my advise would be to find an alley instead of using the men’s room and take you chances that the cops aren’t just around the corner when you do.

Bartender Chat: I’m not sure the dude behind the bar actually talks to the customers, so I was forced to do something I never do to avoid being bored to tears…I spent my own money in the jukebox. At least after spending five bucks to liven the joint up just a bit, I was able to forget (albeit only for a little while) how miserable this experience has been.

Good lord!
How Far Did my $20 Go: When bars are this boring, I have an “out” clause before I hit my $20 requirement…and that is I have to be there for three drinks. I only had two, but I paid for Moon’s beer as well so technically that was three drinks. But, from what I can tell, $20 would have purchased me 6ish beers. Your money would be better spent picking up a six-pack at a local liquor store.

Final Impressions: Look, I can see how this “potentially” could be a fun with a great band and a big crowd on a Friday night. But, I have to call them I see them…and my trip here (ummmm how do I put it?) oh yeah… it SUCKED. This appeared to be a bar that is living on the “legend” of its past, and doesn’t seem to be all that interested in working hard for their customers on a nightly basis. I’m in Denver quite a bit and I know I’ll never go back here…it’s not the bar staff seems to care if anyone ever shows up here again in the first place.

DIVE-O-METER
3

Even the pool room was dead

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