30 MILES OF CRAZY! 58.5: Yuengling

30 MILES OF CRAZY! CIRCUS!: On The Road: Philadelphia continues.

Here’s a sneak peak from this Friday’s 30 MILES OF CRAZY, where the funeral is (almost) over in Philadelphia, we’re at a classic bar off Broad Street, and we get back to drinking one of the area’s best beers (and Oldest Brewery in America): Yuengling.

Growing up in the area, I never thought it odd to go into a bar, order a ‘Lager’ (or a ‘Porter’), and you would always get a Yuengling product. Until years (and living in several other cities) later when K pointed it out, it never even occurred to me that ordering a beer by style (rather than by name) was really… quite odd. However, that’s always the way it was (and still is since my last trip there) with Yuengling in the Delaware Valley. It’s still one of the things I really miss from that area (though I’ve heard it’s beers have made it’s way up to Massachusetts, where we’ll be next week! There may just be a Yuengling/Narragansett drink off…)

Musical Accompaniment, and …



Tooey’s Off Colfax


Tooey’s Off Colfax
1521 Marion Street
Denver, CO 80218

“You’ll never leave this bar with your dignity intact”, the bartender said as he slid a Lone Star and shot to a friend of ours.

Kelly took another sip of her cider when I gestured toward Marion Street outside the bar window.

“Is it me or has that guy with the green duffle bag just keep walking passed the bar, up and down Marion, every 15 minutes or so? It’s getting pretty ‘Truman Show’ out there…”

We were sitting at the bar and our local watering hole: Tooeys Off Colfax. Kelly finished her pint of cider and ordered a Newcastle. I have finished my whiskey and moved on to a glass of Montenegro. Our friend finished his shot, turned around, and glanced out the window at the tall lanky man with the bag strolling past.

“The guy with the green BUM bag? Yeah, he’s been around for a couple weeks. One of the ‘Off Colfax Players’. Kind of homeless, but not crazy enough for the real Colfax as of yet.”

We’ve been Tooey’s regulars for the last couple years. We’ve had good nights there, we’ve had bad nights there, we’ve had incredible nights there, we’ve had several art shows there, several 30 MILES OF CRAZY! stories have been set there; in the end, we’ve probably spent way too much time there. No matter what’s going on when we walk into this bar, we are guaranteed a good drink from a great bartender and conversations covering everything from World War I, Shakespeare, the pros and cons of the pot economy, the merits of any numbers of the bottles of liquor on the back shelf, and which hobo came around during the day. Doesn’t matter, though – when you become a regular at a bar, it’s your second home, and the rest of the regulars are family.

“You’ll never leave this bar with your dignity intact”, the bartender said as he slid a Lone Star and shot to a friend of ours.

It’s hard to pin down and define what kind of bar Tooey’s (named after the owner’s cat) actually is. Aside from its close proximity to our place, this mystery is one of the reasons we like it so much and keep coming back. Is it a dive bar? Not really, though most of the regulars are beer-and-a-shot people. Is it a cocktail lounge? Not really, though Ryan N. has put together a decent cocktail menu as well as a fine selection of scotches, whiskeys, and a full shelf of local and regional boozes behind the bar. Is it a sports bar? Not really, though they have a screened projector TV and infrequently show a game or two if there is enough enthusiasm from the regulars. Is it a venue? Not really, though bands and DJs play there frequently (We highly recommend Denver Vintage Reggae Society (DVRS) events as well as the blues-infused ‘Biscuit Lunch’ nights.)

No… the only thing Tooey’s should claim to be is just a great neighborhood bar with a cross section of widely divergent regulars from the neighborhood. This is the bar that, when the bartender sees you walking in, they have your beer already waiting for you. When you can simply ask for ‘A Cocktail’ and they will know exactly what you would like. Sure, there may be an internet jukebox (which are becoming way too frequent in many bars), but you can make that work for you. After a couple rounds, Tooey’s is the only place where the regulars try to out-do one another in music wars in an attempt to find the weirdest (and sometimes most annoying) songs to play. You may hear a cross section of Edith Piaf, Nick Cave, Dropkick Murphys (ok… that was one of mine), Charles Trenet, Duke Ellington, The Melvins, Lesley Gore, and the Muppet version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ (Christ… I had Chicago’s ‘You’re the Inspiration’ running through my head for three days after the last music battle. Damn you, Dale.)

Honestly, the best example of why we love this bar is this: most Sunday afternoons the regulars get together and have a pot luck buffet. Sometimes it’s themed, most times it’s not. It’s just a moment in the week were we get together, share a moment, and meal with each other… like a family… which is what your best bar friends are.


Tooeys Tony_New

30 MILES OF CRAZY! 58: The Funeral of CGK, Part 3

BOOM! Time for a new 30 MILES OF CRAZY! (#58) with Part 3 (of 6) of ‘On The Road – Philadelphia.

This week continues with Part 3 of ‘The FUNERAL OF CGK’. Yes, this week… children play with coffins. You all knew it was going to come to this.

Again, please note that this comic is TWO pages. Not only am I doing my first multiple chaptered continued storyline, but I’m doing in numerous paged installments. ONWARD AND TO THE FUTURE!!!

Like last week, the musical accompaniment will be one of my father’s favorite songs. So, three… two… musical accompaniment… and GO!

Share and Enjoy!




Sunday, July 20th: Avenue Grill


Gin, Beer, and Beignets

Avenue Grill
630 E. 17th Avenue

Everyone who knows me knows that I love a good hotel bar; so the idea of finally trying out Ship Tavern had me delighted before I even set foot in the place.  After a drink or two, I was loathe to leave the AC and the insulated ‘we-are-all-just-travelers-here’ camaraderie of the Tavern, but snacks of a slightly more affordable nature were hollering at us from up 17th Street. So Karl and I bravely set forth, back into the scorching heat, and further on up the hill.

Our second stop for the afternoon was our original destination: Avenue Grill.  Opened in 1988 and styled after the supper clubs of the 1930s and 1940s, Avenue Grill is one of my favorite places to drink in the Uptown East neighborhood.  I just love this place.

Remember me saying, I love a good hotel bar”? Well, what I love even more is a really good hotel bar that’s not actually even in a hotel.  Avenue Grill is that bar. Just stepping into the place always makes me feel like I am in an historic hotel in Any City. I just want to park myself at the bar with a book and an excellent beer. The service at the Grill is always excellent, the snacks are tasty, the bartenders are knowledgeable and very friendly – the sort of thing one comes to expect from the best hotel bars. There always seems to be an immediate familiarity between bartender and drinker at a hotel bar; an effort to give the weary traveler a moment of comfort and ease while in an unfamiliar place.  The hotel bartender’s job, in many ways, is to make the patron feel like they are a regular and to treat them as such, even if only for the night.  It is this sort of service that I have always received at Avenue Grill. Combine that with the 1940s-inspired retro sign, the spacious 1920s building with its pressed tin ceiling, the warm blond wood of the bar, and I just feel like I should be able to say goodnight the bartender and crowd and walk right up the stairs to my room.  It’s just that kind of pleasant and comfortable place.

Avenue Grill is that bar. Just stepping into the place always makes me feel like I am in an historic hotel in Any City. I just want to park myself at the bar with a book and an excellent beer

Anyway, Karl and I finally made it to our destination after our sludgy humid walk from downtown (seriously, I am pining for that ‘dry heat’ Denver generally has – there has been nothing but humidity over this summer – although I am delighted that the state is not on fire this year, as in previous years…so, you know, that’s a decent trade-off…). We immediately went to sit at the corner of the bar.  With just a few other patrons further along the bar – and only a couple of occupied tables – it was quiet, cool, and just the right thing for my over-heated brain-meats.  Our bartender, Chris, immediately brought over a couple of ice waters and I ordered my Avenue Grill usual – the Avenue Amber (a very nice, mellow amber ale). Karl went with a dry gin martini with a twist, hoping that the crisp clearness of the drink would banish any remaining effects of the lingering heat. Once we had our drinks, glancing periodically at the lone TV in a high corner (which was showing some local sportsball team), my growling belly quickly reminded me what else was missing. After a perusal of the menu, we got the Fig and Prosciutto flatbread (with ricotta, watercress, and peppers), along with an order of beignets (new item for brunch – warm, not too sweet, completely covered in powdered sugar and resting on some raspberry jam).

Granted we were starving, but the flatbread is really tasty (and fills the hole punched in my soul when Encore closed up and took away their Fig & Pig dish…but that is another story entirely.  Suffice it to say, I like fig jam and cured pork products, together, in perfect harmony), and the beignets were quickly demolished.  I had another Avenue Amber while Karl finished his martini (a quick note: Avenue Grill makes their martinis in the proper size – none of those gigantic big-gulp candy-booze concoctions – just a sensible, classic gin martini served next to the shaker, with enough for a refill.  And they are good – very, very good. You have been warned) and it was time to settle up and head back out into the heat.  We had more places to be and people to see. As much as I would have preferred lingering, we had to leave much too soon.


Avenue Grill 3_New