By the time you read this, the last of the old school downtown dive bars will be ground into dust. (That’s a lie, but let’s perpetuate it so we can keep the last two, or three, secret.) I don’t have many stories from this place. I’ve been here precisely three times. These are what remains of my memories of it:
This was the one place in Denver I remember feeling overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. It was like a smack to the face when you opened the door. The place still smells like that. I miss second hand smoke.
During the day it was the business lunch crowd, but not for the suits. Clerks, temps, tellers and the like could sneak in an afternoon beer in order to keep from opening their wrists back at their desks.
At night, the crowd was friendly enough, but felt like it could boil over into a mob at the smallest provocation. And they seem to take their cues from the ownership and staff behind the bar. The bookie and the drug dealer that held down stools there would leave at the start of happy hour. It wasn’t worth the trouble.
In the end, that’s the best way I can sum up Shelby’s.
It wasn’t worth the trouble.