Denver

How to Support Denver's LGBTQ Community This Pride Month

For Pride Month, and every month.

Philipp Salveter/Shutterstock
Philipp Salveter/Shutterstock
Philipp Salveter/Shutterstock

Pride celebrations are never complete without an acknowledgement of the work still left to be done. This year, it’s a particularly relevant sentiment, though it’s beginning to feel like some semblance of “normal life” is on the horizon, the road to recovery post-pandemic is long. And, even if this summer feels like one big sigh of relief, Pride isn’t simply another party making its return to the party circuit. It’s a celebration rooted in historical, collective resistance, and ought to be remembered as such. 

LGBTQ businesses, nonprofits, and communities are beginning to bounce back, but they still have a long way to go. And helping the queer culture of Denver make a full recovery means taking practical steps to ensure its survival-whether that’s with your money, time, audience, or attention. So grab a drink, sign up for a volunteer time slot, visit a queer art exhibit, or chow down on a very gay burger. If there was ever a good time to show your solidarity, it’s now. 

Get involved with Denver’s LGBTQ non-profits 

Denver is replete with opportunities to both find community and support already existing communities with your time, money, and skills. The Center on Colfax is a long-standing safe space for queer folks in Capitol Hill (and the largest one of its kind in the Rocky Mountain Region); they run events yearround, but especially during Pride. One Colorado is devoted to LGBTQ equality, specifically as it relates to healthcare, in the state; you can sign up to volunteer here. If you’re looking specifically for transgender support groups and services Queer Asterisk, Transgender Youth Education Support of Colorado, and Transgender Center of the Rockies are good places to start (you can also donate to all of these non-profits, too). 

And, of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without Denver Pride (produced by The Center of Colfax), the city’s annual gathering at the end of June. 2021’s festivities will be a hybrid model of some virtual and some in-person events (aka Pride hubs), mostly happening over the weekend of June 26 – 27. Find those Pride hubs here, register for the Pride 5K here, and register for the parade here. All donations sent to Denver Pride will go directly to The Center on Colfax. Relatedly, this is also the first year that Denver will celebrate Black Pride, a series of events in June co-hosted by The Center on Colfax, Youth Seen, and the Juneteenth Music Festival. 

Courtesy of Union Hall Denver
Courtesy of Union Hall Denver
Courtesy of Union Hall Denver

Support local queer arts and culture

Denver has long been a city where artistic influences from the West, the Southwest, and the Midwest collide. It’s a unique cocktail of style and perspective, and two exhibits this Pride Month exemplify that: “Us“, a group show on view at Bitfactory starting June 18, and “Loving You,” a photography exhibit by MaryV Benoit on view now through July 10 at Union Hall. We recommend paying both a visit this month. 

Denver also has its very own queer film festival, called CinemaQ Film Festival (happening August 26-29), and one of the Pride hubs on June 27 will serve as a preview of sorts for the fest (find information about both events here). 

Courtesy of Hamburger Mary's
Courtesy of Hamburger Mary’s
Courtesy of Hamburger Mary’s

Eat and drink your way through Capitol Hill

Did you know that there are only 15 lesbian bars left in the entire country? ICYMI, this is something of a crisis for the community, and it just so happens that Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is home to one of them: Blush & Blu. Pop by for a drink any night of the week, and while you’re on Colfax, check out nearby spots X BAR and Charlie’s Denver (the latter of which is Western-themed). Triangle Denver is also a fairly short walk away, tucked away inside the old historic Triangle Lounge.

If you’re the partying type, you may or may not have heard of Babes Around Denver (BAD), a monthly women’s party at Tracks that purports to be the largest of its kind in the US. Currently, these parties are happening the first Friday of every month, and vaccinated folks are allowed to attend mask-less. Though BAD is technically a women’s party, all are welcome. 

Lastly, there’s something to be said for a good old-fashioned burger and fries. If that’s your schtick, don’t spend another minute in Denver before going to Hamburger Mary’s, the gay-themed restaurant and bar just a hop and a skip away from the queer bar scene on Colfax. Obviously, this place is perfectly situated for a late night, post-bar-hopping dinner of fried food. Need we say more? 

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.Emma Banks is a contributor for Thrillist

Denver

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Denver This Year

For a successful St. Patrick's Day, hit these parades, barcrawls, parties, and festivals.

VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER

Grab your green and your Guinness-St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, and there’s fun to be had. In addition to being the first big celebratory holiday after New Year’s, St. Paddy’s is also a signal of spring; more hours of sunshine, T-shirt temps, and filling Blake, Market, and Larimer with drunken revelry make up a particularly Denver type of equinox. However you plan to celebrate-with family friendly activities or for those over the legal drinking age only-there are parades to be watched, playful drinks to be sipped, and a whole lot of shamrock-ing to do.

Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits

Dance a jig or two at Mile High Spirits’ Shamrock Shenanigans

March 17
If you’re ready to put your dancing shoes to good use, wiggle your way on over to Mile High Spirits-doors are opening at 12 pm and there’s no cover ‚Äėtil 10. Enjoy MHS’ drinks, big dance floor, and even bigger outdoor patio for all the Irish pride and shenanigans you can handle.

Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

Whip up steak for a St. Paddy’s Date Night

March 17
Cook Street’s special St. Paddy’s Day class involves making the perfect steak while sipping on Irish whiskey. On Friday only, learn about proteins, cooking methods, and choosing side dishes carefully while cooking up traditional Irish cuisine.

Crawl around town. You know, figuratively…

March 17 – 18
Is it a drinking holiday in Denver if there aren’t a handful of bar crawls happening? Probably not. St. Paddy’s Day is no different; you can start crawling from a number of bars, but a few in particular have everything plotted out for you (for a small fee). Start at the Ginn Mill and receive a map of over 10 pub locations you’ll be crawling to either Friday or Saturday, plus drink special vouchers. There’s also a crawl departing from Nola Jane (Friday only) with its own food and drink specials, plus a scavenger hunt and some St. Paddy’s merch, too.

The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat

Visit one of Denver’s Irish Pubs

March 17 – 18
If you can’t think of a better place to spend St. Paddy’s Day then at a local Irish pub, we salute you-just be prepared to throw a few elbows making your way to the bar. Denver’s got several good ol’ pubs from Broadway to Larimer Square that’ll be in full swing this weekend, pouring fresh pints as far as the eye can see. Check out Scruffy Murphy’s, Nallen’s, The Irish Rover, Finley’s, The Celtic on Market, or the Fainting Goat for that SPD revelry you know, love, and trekked out for.

Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square

Sip and savour St. Paddy’s themed bevvies

Through March 17
Everyone pulls out the green food dye and mint flavouring for St. Paddy’s, but there are some other creative drink specials to sample, too. The OG’s got a boozy milkshake for the occasion, aptly named “Who’s Your Paddy,” a mix of vanilla ice cream, Cr√®me de Menthe, Tullamore Dew, Bailey’s, and whipped cream. BEZEL’s Irish Matcha Man is pretty unique, with Teeling Small Batch whiskey, lime, thyme-infused honey, and matcha powder. And then Slater’s 50/50 takes it to another level (unsurprisingly) with its Lucky Mint Green Shake: mint-flavored ice cream in a frosting-rimmed glass with Lucky Charm marshmallows, rainbow stripe sour strips, whipped cream and green sprinkles. Other notable specials can be found at Poka Lola Social Club, Dairy Block’s Moo Bar, and Seven Grand.

Sing along and cheers to live music

March 17
Denver’s The Monkey Barrel is known for its regular live performances, and this St. Patrick’s Day you can tune in to Elijah Petty & The Part-Times and other musical guests if you’re in search of a chiller spot to sip your Guinness. Or, have one of the best burgers in town while relishing the shenanigans and live music of Cherry Cricket Cherry Creek this St. Paddy’s Day. Food and drink specials will also be available through the holiday weekend, so leave extra room or wear your stretchy (green) pants.

HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series

Show your St. Paddy’s spirit by‚Ķ running?

March 18
Feeling restless? Or maybe you’re itching to get a few laps in before hammering down several pints this Saturday? Either way, Highlands Ranch is hosting its St. Patrick’s Day 5K where finishing the race gets you St. Patrick’s Day merch, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, and of course, a complimentary pint courtesy of Living the Dream Brewing.

Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company

Drink and do good at Holidaily Brewing Co.

March 17
This St. Paddy’s Day, Holidaily and the Gluten Intolerance Group are putting on their Raise a Pint, Lend a Hand fundraiser. A special glitter and green Firkin tapping is happening at 4 pm at both taprooms, with special (and gluten-free) treats available at the Golden location, thanks to Farmhouse 5280 and Waive the Grain bakery. 10% of all St. Patrick’s Day sales will be donated to the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery

Party at a local distillery

March 17 – 18
Talnua Distillery is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day bash to remember this year, featuring food trucks, live music, special themed cocktails, and more. Limited bottles of Talnua’s exclusive Olde Saint’s Keep whiskey will be available for purchase, which you can hang onto while you dance along to pipe bands or eat a brat or two from El Jefe’s.

Watch some Irish step dancing

March 17
Head on over to Stanley Marketplace to witness the talent and skill of the students at the Wick School of Irish Dance at 12 pm, and follow it up with a green cerveza at Cheluna Brewing Co. Of course, plenty of tasty lunch and dinner options are available around the marketplace so you can soak up a bit of that beer.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

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