Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Missing the Rockbar by Joe Hnida

--"In Denver," Nevaeh explains to me while we do this. "The Brown Palace Hotel on 17th Street has the Ship Tavern. The Oxford Hotel has The Cruise Room. The Four Seasons Hotel on 14th has Edge Bar. The Hyatt Regency on California Street has Peaks Lounge, and the All Inn Motel on Colfax?" She says turning and sweeping her hand towards the structure behind her. "It has Rockbar. It's one of the few dive bars on this stretch of the Fax that actually has a DJ and a dance floor. It's the place where dreams come true."
At first I'm not sure what to think as we approach the entrance. It's an ugly, old, run down building from the 70's with a large vertical neon sign that in red block letters spells out: MOTEL. I'm guessing at a place like this they rent rooms by the hour. The whole exterior of the motel is made of cheap, yellow and white paneling, except for the floor level which consists of various walls of large, grey and white rocks that look like they have just been randomly shoved into the cement. Above the entrance is a black sign with the words, "ROCKBAR," in a 1980's font that seems appropriate for representing a heavy metal hair band.

--The ceiling is low, the lights are dim and as I glance down, the floor under my feet is nothing but darkness. Faces fade in and out of blue and red lights and the booths are red and drab and look like they were taken from a 1960's Rat Pack lounge. I have to throw some elbows and apologize to a few people, but we finally make it to the bar. Once clear, I feel a need to look down and make sure I haven't been stabbed.

--Nevaeh spots me and pulls me up and we start up right where we left off at the Ogden, only the music is different; it's more a fun variety that transitions from The Jackson 5 to Snoop Dogg to The Human League to Montell Jordan to Ray Charles...

My head rises back up and I watch through the discharging veil of smoke as the confined sea of dancers dip, rise, roll and ripple with heads, hands, and beer cans raised to the ceiling.

I'm pretty sure this is the most fun I've ever had. -- Joe Hnida


  1. is rockbar back??? please, i hope so

  2. When was he at Rockbar? Crazy! It has been closed for a while. I'm confused.

  3. If you'll notice the title of the post is "Missing the Rockbar". This is an old piece by Joe that I really liked, because I miss the Rockbar too!! Sadly I don't think it's ever coming back, and meanwhile the All Inn just sits vacant...

  4. That's what happens when scumbags own bars. They lose their liquor licenses because all the promises they made to the neighborhood about upgrading that "hourly" crack motel, controlling their drunk patrons and making the neighborhood a better place are never followed through with. And trust me, the owner of that bar was a SCUMBAG.

    It's too bad. It could have been a great place and stuck around for anymore years.