Goodbye, little sister, and farewell, totally '80s-era Shotgun Willie's

Categories: Breeality Bites

I'm crossing my fingers they keep the limp shotgun sign.
My reasons for a trip to Shotgun Willie's were two-fold: I had read our recent cover story on the thirty-year-old institution's revamp and I wanted to get a glimpse of the original location before it was torn down, and my sister was moving to Seattle and the girl loves strip clubs. So I thought, why not make my little sis's going-away party the best ever, while also doing some research on living Denver history?

The resulting trip Friday night took me inside a world that looked exactly as I had imagined: totally '80s everything, from regular old box televisions playing sports to creepy wood-paneled awesomeness and black lacquer covering every inch that wasn't lit with neon. Much like the episode of Walker: Texas Ranger set inside a strip club that I had seen early in the week, Shotgun Willie's was like a step back in time, complete with a DJ who played AC/DC and something that sounded like Motley Crüe but wasn't Motley Crüe.

See also:
- Photos: See plans for the new, improved Shotgun Willie's
- We heart the Internet: An ode to the glittery stripper GIFs of yore
- Sugar House swingers' club has closed, and with it the G-rated Alameda Grill

My sister is more pleased than she looks, I swear.
I learned several things on this second trip ever to a strip club, the most important being: a strip club is no fun without stacks of money. We, of course, hadn't planned on going with much more than $40 -- but lucky for us, an unnamed patron of the exotic dancing arts and good friend to my sister swooped in at the last minute, handing us $300 in one dollar bills. (See photo to the right.) Now we were going to the strip club!

This anonymous Bruce Wayne-type also stopped by Shotgun's several times throughout the evening to pick up our tabs, which meant that our skinny boyfriends who were so dutifully by our sides sharing buckets of Bud Light with each other and steak dinners with us also got the free ride. It should be noted that my sister and I are the coolest girlfriends in the known universe, because we not only invited our significant others to the party, but we shared the bounty of our strip-club treasure with them.

Speaking of boyfriends in strip clubs, another valuable lesson I learned this night was that I cannot watch another woman touch my man, even if it is her job to do so and we are in her place of business. Each time a dancer approached my young stallion (that's what he called himself the other night, when I was complaining about being a cougar) I felt a deep rage brewing in my chest. My eyes and cheeks went red with every boob-smack to his face, to the point where I had to hand him a wad of money and turn away, for fear I might go into my Miss Piggy-styled blind rage, take the Bud Light bottle from his hand, smash it on the bar and just start cutting everyone involved.

How I feel when I see another woman touch my man.

Planning this trip to Shotgun Willie's had been difficult (we rescheduled three times to accommodate all of our extremely busy days doing nothing), so we ended up at the club at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday. Stepping out of daylight and into the dank room that was scented and decorated like a novelty-size cigar box, I learned my next valuable strip-club lesson -- there are two types of dancers: pre-7 p.m. dancers and post-7 p.m. dancers.

Upon arrival I was shocked by the women dancing -- but in a good way. I remarked to my boyfriend how happy I was to see "normal girl bodies" dancing at their various outposts. There were bellies protruding, boobies of all shapes and sizes, shaking and women with short hair writhing awkwardly under the stain of fluorescent lights. I was stoked! The strip club wasn't so bad after all.

Location Info


Shotgun Willie's

490 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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How in the hell did this writer get a gig at westword? Terribly untalented writing


Great writing, fluid, funny and honest!  You go girl!

MaryAnn Hogan
MaryAnn Hogan

oh god, yeah. men should be the only ones who write about strip clubs. men need to be in charge of women's parts and strip club stories. I liked this.


Shotgun's was about the only strip club that I actually enjoyed going to.  Not that there aren't gorgeous women in most clubs (right outside Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri being a notable exception), something about Shotgun's felt...well, homey.  It was likely the 80s decor and the familiar music, but it was also the laid-back vibe of the place.  It was never a hard sell place where if you didn't succumb to a dancers push for a 2-minute lap dance, they got all huffy like you just told them their thigh-high plastic boots gave them leg muffintops.  When I went there with a few female friends (one of whom is now my wife), we had a great time and never really felt 'icky'.  Hope the new location is just as 'homey' as a place with naked chicks can be.

Lindsay Gfeller
Lindsay Gfeller

The Westword has gone way downhill... Terrible journalists and waste of time stories!

Kim Phillips
Kim Phillips

Well that seemed more like a rant than a story!! :( But glad Shotguns is getting makeover!! Its long overdue!

Tim Calahan
Tim Calahan

I was going to read it when I saw your reply. Thanks for saving me from throwing away three minutes of my life.

Matt Morava
Matt Morava

God, I can't believe I read that. I want my 3 minutes back.

Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

"My reasons for a trip to Shotgun Willie's were fold"

Great typo in the first sentence of this article.

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