Home » World News » New gay bar, Buddies, opens on East Colfax in place of Prohibition Bar
New gay bar, Buddies, opens on East Colfax in place of Prohibition Bar
September 26, 2023
Six buddies walked into a gay bar and couldn’t hear the sounds of their own voices over the blasting DJ music. So, they decided to open their own.
This month, Denver bar veterans Andrew Glardon, Phil Newland, Jack Herrick and Drayvon Gonzalez, along with couple Keifer Mansfield and John Varsames opened Buddies at 504 E. Colfax Ave., where Prohibition Bar previously operated. Prohibition Bar, once featured on an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, closed in August after more than a decade.
“We just want to have a bar to come to where it’s not so loud and you can’t talk to your friends or anything like that,” Glardon said. “It’s not a dance club; we’re not blowing your ears out with music. It’s a come-as-you-are bar, where you can come out and hang with your buddies.”
The idea for Buddies has been in the works since Denver Wrangler closed in 2018. Glardon, Newland, Herrick and Gonzalez all met while bartending at the longtime Denver gay bar. They then moved on to Denver Sweet, where they met Mansfield and Varsames as customers, and they were quickly interested in investing in the idea.
“We wanted to be a part of a ‘gaybourhood again,’” Newland said.
“The thing about Denver that we don’t have anymore is that strip of gay bars to bounce back and forth between, but things are getting better with us here now, not far from X Bar, Charlie’s and Tight End,” Glardon added. “For the longest time, everything was so spread out.”
Buddies has a pool table, darts, 12 beer taps and plenty of “gay water,” as the owners call vodka sodas with a splash of cranberry juice. The East Colfax bar also kept Prohibition’s chef, Ryan Smith, who is serving up “never-frozen” bar food, like bacon and gouda mac-n-cheese bites, chicken tenders, burgers and wings.
“Almost every gay bar in town always has some kind of dance component, so we wanted to do something completely different,” Newland said. “We wanted to add to Denver’s gay bar community, not compete, and so far, it’s paid off.”
Each of the Denver bar veterans takes turns manning Buddies’ bar, and you can tell who it is by what music they’re playing that night. Gonzalez loves his show tunes night on Sundays. Herrick is strictly rock n’ roll. But Glardon’s not afraid to throw on some Taylor Swift. Buddies hosts a pool tournament on Tuesdays, and eventually, they plan to introduce trivia night and darts competitions.
“We’ve been working for other people for so long, but now we’re finally doing this for ourselves,” Herrick said.
“Yeah, you can’t blame the boss anymore,” Newland joked.
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