Keeping Colfax weird: Ten spots that give Denver's main street its culture and character

Categories: Colfax

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Pete's Kitchen: one of a handful of Pete's Colfax enterprises and one of many great Colfax diners.
With the closure of Smiley's Laundromat and last month's bust and subsequent shuttering of Kitty's East, Colfax Avenue lost a little of its glittery seediness. Progress is a constant along this main drag, and has been for life of the city -- but still, Colfax isn't known for its betterment projects. Rather, the east-to-west strip runs right through the heart of Denver's history with its stretch of sights that are a little bit sketchy but always entertaining.

From diners to dives to tattoo parlors, we've rounded up ten of the best spots to find the weirdo culture for which Colfax Avenue will continue to be famous (we hope).

See also:
- The Best Store on Colfax - 2013 - The Collection Studio
- Goodbye, Kitty's East. I never knew ye. Ever.
- Smiley's, the world's largest laundromat, is gone

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10. P.S. Lounge
P.S. Lounge is a classic Denver dive in every sense: A place to retreat from our 300 days of sunshine, this cash-only spot is dimly lit no matter what the time of day. A nicely stocked jukebox complements the Colfax staple's low-key atmosphere, and there are booths or bar stools where you can do your drinking and commiserating. Plus, P.S. Lounge knows how to treat a lady: One foot in the door and you're offered a rose -- on the house.

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9. Bastien's Restaurant
The sign says it all: Home of the Sugar Steak. Meat is what's for dinner here, and the restaurant's specialty is its sweetly marinated New York strip. But what keeps this spiral-shaped building uniquely Colfax is its interior. Carpeted like fancy dining spots used to be, the place is 1950s swank with a little bit of '70s bar-room leisure thrown in.

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8. Bound by Design
Hardly sketchy but definitely an integral part of Colfax's weirdo culture, Bound by Design is one of many tattoo shops along the strip. The ultra-clean, super-friendly shop stands out as a mecca for the pierced and tattooed. For more than twenty years, Bound's expert artists have been putting first-timers at ease and developing longstanding relationships with return customers.

Continue reading for our top choices.


Location Info

Map

Bound By Design

1332 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: General

Bastien's Restaurant

3503 E. Colfax, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

P.S. Lounge

3416 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Charlie's Denver

900 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Pete's Kitchen

1962 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Pete's Satire Restaurant and Lounge

1920 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Tom's Diner

601 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
45 comments
TheGreenMile
TheGreenMile

From  Grant to York? 

That's not Colfax, that's the Business Improvement District. The places you mentioned are just the survivors of an all out gentrifica-palooza that's reshaped, specifically, that section of Colfax over the last decade. 

Check out the REST of Colfax, it's longer than 2 miles. 

Michael Heuvelman
Michael Heuvelman

The Ogden and Bluebird Theaters are great. Sancho's Broken arrow and the Mammoth/Filmore are classics.

Michael Heuvelman
Michael Heuvelman

The Ogden and Bluebird Theaters are great. Sancho's Broken Arrow and the Mammoth/Filmore are killer too!

yaktastic
yaktastic

Still missin' Golden Tempura but Colfax will alway be home and all y'all missed the Ethiopian.

Takuya  Narao
Takuya Narao

Missing the good old E. Colfax. There used be a Perkin's on Colorado & Colfax. They closed that one down long time ago, but it was such a dive with so many strange people. And loved their milk shakes.

poopoohead
poopoohead

what the shit really? get on the bus #15 and go further up and down Colfax some of us aint that cool to live on Cap Hill. pure laziness, and hello what about the alleyway next to Nob Hill best crackhead smoking stop people watching place, what about Saturdays? what about ... just take the bus and your camera 

Ben Deco
Ben Deco

Colfax isn't nearly as weird as it used to be. They rounded up a bunch of the weirdest when Denver hosted the DNC and the hipsters moved in and took over. I miss the urine, crackheads, and transvestites.

Mary Gould
Mary Gould

This has been here since 1970 when I came to denver and moved around the corner from this, love it!!!

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

For some unknown reason, I now feel a bit depressed .....

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

I always thought Sid King's was the personification of Colfax.

Tom Tom Sampley
Tom Tom Sampley

dam....used to live on 12th and josephine and would walk to petes at least twice a week to get a gyro or cheeseburger or the chili cheese fries! one of the great memories of growing up in denver! and wtf is this comparison to austin? no one gives a f*&k about austin! denver always had its own identity.....maybe u just dont belong there!

Anne Marie Lamborn
Anne Marie Lamborn

Pete's Kitchen is da bomb !!!! Loved going there regularly years ago - great food !!! Good memories !

Ava Marie Carmichael
Ava Marie Carmichael

Denver, you will NEVER be as cool or as weird as Austin, so find your own identity.

Travis Lucas
Travis Lucas

Coming from Scottsbluff Nebraska, Pete's is a Denver icon to me.

Megan Munzert
Megan Munzert

Mmmmmm..mmmmmmm ate there for first time a month ago and my goodness best gyros Ive ever had...and now Im craving em...dang.

Matt Jenereaux
Matt Jenereaux

Devin it was Austins long before all the other cities jumped on the bandwagon, including Portland...

Mindy Selzer
Mindy Selzer

My dad met my greatly missed step mother here! : ). Louis

Devin Nolan
Devin Nolan

That's Portlands slogan and you know it!

Yetissimus Maximus
Yetissimus Maximus

I'm from Wyoming and I NEVER miss a chance to stop in at Pete's! It's been my favorite place to get breakfast or recover from a concert since I was 17 years old in 1997-8!

Mary Jarrett
Mary Jarrett

I like this place, I think the burgers were better before they changed out the grill, just my opinion.

crucialbee1
crucialbee1

Walgreen's?  Over LION'S LAIR?  I'm beginning to wonder about you, Westword...

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

It's just plain laziness to choose a Walgreens as a top "culture and characer" location on an avenue that's 24 miles long. Come on!!!

yaktastic
yaktastic

@Ava Marie Carmichael nor as hipster fake .....

bondadprevalece
bondadprevalece

@Ava Marie Carmichael LOL, you can keep your 110 degree 80% humidity weather.

emg0701
emg0701

@Fletcherneedsajob Have you BEEN to that Walgreens?  It once had an entire section of fruit...like a French market.  I used to go once a week for prescriptions (sounds like a crazy person), but seriously if you know KNOW that Walgreens, it is insanity..  (But I get what you're sayin.)

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

@emg0701  Most definitely have been there. And agreed, it is a strange strange place. But there just has to be something more, I dunno, Denver that is deserving of this honor. 

flightsimulator
flightsimulator

@Fletcherneedsajob @emg0701 I agree, same goes for The 7-11. Colfax in Cap Hill is pretty universally "sketchy" as the author is fond of saying. They really couldn't do better than making 20% of the list national chains? Nob hill? Capitol Hill Books? Denver Drug and Liquor? There are so many better options...

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