I may be the only one, but I am not heartbroken about Gabor’s closing.
Before anyone calls me a blasphemer, I’ll establish something. I am one of those ‘suburbanites’ treated with such disdain by Gabor’s enthusiasts, and I’d rather some of you all back up a bit because you’re getting your indignation all over me. I was raised in the suburbs, and lived in downtown Denver for a relatively short time, during which I felt both like a student of the urban culture I’d been missing out on and an outsider. I moved to Pittsburgh, where I lived in a real urban area–you know, one of the ones without police. Now I’m back in a suburb. The fact of all these patronizing references to ‘suburbanites’ in the comment streams regarding the closing of Gabor’s just serves to reinforce that feeling of forever being a spectator and not a participant. Forgive me if I seem a little icy and unforgiving on the closure of Gabor’s. I don’t miss 404, either.
I understand complaints about losing pieces of history. But there are historical preservation societies that we owe just for keeping hundred-year-old buildings still standing. We have hotels that have been around way longer than Gabor’s. I would be able to stomach this better if I thought many of the people speaking out against the conversion (not destruction–conversion) of a gross dive bar gave a flying fart about any of Denver’s other history. Does anybody know, or care, that they’re turning Union Station into a transit hub with a hotel on the second floor? I don’t hear anyone talking about that.
Why? Because Union Station is not a place that people can go to drink cheap beer, have flights of fancy that they are just like Charles Bukowski, and surround the doorway with a haze of cigarette smoke.
I’ve been to Gabor’s once or twice. I suppose I can understand the appeal. It’s a dive. You go there to drink cheap beer and smoke and maybe stumble back to your studio two blocks away to spend the night with a stranger. I don’t find that particularly titillating, nor do I find it very historic, either. Please, someone give me My Brother’s Bar on 15th and Platte, where we so often run into old friends unexpectedly, where the bartender samples us scotch, the dark wooden bar top is shined to a high polish, the food is unfailingly delicious and dirt cheap–a real piece of history, having resided on the corner of that block for decades longer than Gabor’s. And Kerouac used to hang out there, too, fulfilling whatever inexplicable need you have to pretend you’re a famous drug-addicted poet. You can bet if something happened to My Brother’s Bar, many of us would be up in arms, including the neighbors. What My Brother’s Bar proves that 404 and Gabor’s don’t is that a bar doesn’t have to be so hip and urban that it’s exclusive to anyone other than wasted twentysomethings.
A jukebox is a souvenir. It may add to the ambiance, but it doesn’t create atmosphere. By all means, love Gabor’s, miss it when it’s gone, but don’t let a retro artifact and some wall decorations be the reasons you love it.
Has anyone actually looked at Sam Roots’ Edgewater venture, the Providence Tavern? Looking at the four and five star reviews from people who have been and been back and told their friends, the Providence Tavern seems to me to be pretty solid evidence that the guy at least has good ideas. Unlike many Denver residents, I have high hopes for the Marion Street Tavern. Maybe it will be able to find a middle ground between preserving a historic place and creating an inclusive venue that neighbors don’t complain about, but where they actually want to hang out. And can someone please tell me how the phrase “really cool old-style neighborhood saloon” implies that he’s turning it into a sports bar? Come on.
My only question is when Bender’s is next.
What People Are Saying