Denver and the Denver Wrangler
Denver, Colorado like Melbourne, Australia with a population of around 4 million seems to only be able to support generally one good bear bar where everyone congregates and the bear scene is a real community; for me these are the best bear bars in the world. When cities are larger there is more competition and generally the community gets fragmented to different venues and the heart is lost or space becomes too expensive to support a large venue in a central location. I’m thinking of the Bear’s Den in Paris or The King’s Arms in London, great bars with friendly hot men, but really small to the point that it’s difficult to get in the door sometimes.
The Denver Wrangler is a large venue with different spaces in a fairly central location, a nice beer garden at the back with its own bar, toilets designed for making new friends, a games area with its own bar, a main bar and dance floor, and a small outside space for the smokers.
We were only in Denver for a weekend this summer but visited the Denver Wrangler each evening. It’s a great bar where it’s easy to speak with people (as long as you are in one of the areas away from the dance floor) and they hold many different events that seem to bring the community together and actively support different groups and charities in the process.
For example on the Saturday afternoon we took our rental car to be washed in the car park next to the bar (although it didn’t need it) by the local gay rugby team who were raising money for a tour in Australia. If you have the chance, try to visit on a Sunday afternoon when they hold their legendary Beer Bust. They pour the beer from a tap in the wall (right next to the toilet, but I’m sure they are not recycling) filling up jugs and then walk around making sure your glass is never empty. This event seemed to attract around 500 hot men filling the parking lot, playing music and serving food, it made a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon. (I really mean it, these mountain bears are hot).
The only down point we saw (or more of a missed opportunity) was there was very little merchandise to purchase. It would have been great to have a cool t-shirt or mug sporting the bar’s name to wear back in Europe or other places we will visit.
I really loved the Denver Wrangler, it reminded me of The Laird in Melbourne; a true community bar that brings the bears, bear lovers and masculine gay men together in a friendly atmosphere where everyone is welcome. A credit to the owners in realising that it’s not only about making money but it’s also about being an important social and support point for the community. We made some new friends that I hope one day we can catch-up with again either in Denver (as I’m sure to visit again soon) or maybe somewhere else in the world; but for now Facebook will help us to keep in touch until we get the opportunity to meet up.
Colorado is a stunning state with so much to see and do, and Denver is a very cool city that visitors and residents seem to love. The Denver Wrangler gives the travelling bear community a wonderful positive image of Denver and Colorado as a cool and gay friendly state to visit.
Being the state capital there is a lot of other things in Denver to keep you occupied during the day. We visited the planetarium at Denver Museum of Nature and Science which was superb; comparable to New York’s planetarium. The museum itself is brilliant and I loved that they have many volunteers explaining the different exhibits or displaying mini-exhibits where you can get a close-up and ask questions. We were also in town while the Denver County Fair was on, and we were able to visit their first pot pavilion which was a lot of fun.
If you are a bear traveller, Denver and also Colorado state won’t disappoint. It’s a wonderful and beautiful part of the USA that is off the radar for a lot of gay travellers, but has so much to offer. It’s become a real favourite of mine and I hope to visit again soon. You will need a car as getting up to the mountains is a must and also getting around the city (like most american cities) is just easier if you have personal transport.