It’s not a long trip at all. Just a quick hop on to the free shuttle on the 16th Street Mall. Ride that all the way to its last stop, past the trendy hipster restaurants, coffee shops, Chipotle and the Tattered Cover Bookstore in historic LoDo. Fight the temptation to get off the shuttle and drop inside, grab a tea, and walk the aisles and aisles of stacked shelves and fall into a comfy familiar old chair while disappearing into words.
Stay on the bus and the shuttle doors will close again as it moves up the mall. In the short distance you’ll soon see a monument to a pastime on Wazee. Coors Field. You can stop to catch a game, if it were baseball season. Just keep riding the shuttle.
A few more blocks and you can get off at the last stop near Union Station. Looking familiar from a postcard, or a commercial. Or was it a movie? You can stop to take a picture of it, but you’ll probably forget about in a few days. The journey continues.
You take a walk up the stairs, passing bikers pulling or pushing their bikes into the neat little grooves on the side of the staircase for their wheels, and step on to the Millennium Bridge. A tall metal tube shooting up like a ships mast into the blue Mile High sky and suspension cables holding a boardwalk and fencing over the train tracks. You pass the Locks of Love on the fence and walk down the stairs at the end of the bridge. More bike grooves here too.
Now you have a choice. You can either take the scenic route and have a nice walk through the park, past the signs reminding folks of the native history of these lands, and the concrete arena that might remind you of that scene in The Warriors. ‘CAAAN YOOOU DIG IT!?!’
You can take a left at Little Raven, walk down to 15th, take a right and head up. Either way, you get to walk over the South Platte River. You get to see it’s clear waters flowing and moving quickly through the land. Here, there’s a pause. There has to be. The view is spectacular with the river, the land, the sky and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. A welcome reward for the journey. A breath.
A short distance later up to 15th and Platte, and there it is. The destination. The purpose for your quest.
Billed as “The oldest bar in Denver”, it’s an unassuming joint. There is no sign out front, so you’d have to know where you were going to get there. Yes, they have food. But that’s not why you are here. You’re here, because you know that Neal and Jack used to hang out here. They once walked through that wood door on the corner with the word ‘Platte’ over it. They walked in there, sat at that long wooden bar and scrapped their cash together to order a… Well, we don’t know what they ordered. But it was booze and that’s what you’re going to order. When you finally get your drink, you sit back a little on the stool, take a look around the bar, drink in the history and fantasy of it all and take a sip.
You were there. So was Jack.