Trans friendly 21st in Denver
February 10, 2012 6:18 AM   Subscribe

So I'll be turning 21 in a few weeks. And I've decided to actually celebrate, so I'm going to Denver with my brother. But now I'm stressing out about what to do and where to go. That's where you come in.

My main worry is finding a trans friendly bar, or just lgbt friendly bar. I've obviously never been to a bar, much less in Denver, so my overactive brain is screaming "Drunk guys, run away!". And I don't want to feel that way, I want to be comfortable and able to enjoy my 21st without worrying about passing or being judged.*

We'll be staying at 650 15th St, and I'd rather not go too far. We will have a car, so during the day we can go anywhere for attractions. That night I'll be sticking to walking and/or taxi's.

If there's anything else you want to tell me about the beautiful city of Denver, I'm all ears.

(Bonus points if you can tell me what a girl should wear in the middle of winter to a bar. The frigid cold here is harshing my idea of getting a dress.)

*I know nothing is an actual guarantee against this.
posted by trogdole to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't help you with Denver, but as to what to wear: I was on the bus the other night and two women got on and sat near me. After about six glances, I realized that one of the women was (probably) trans. She was wearing dark-wash jeans that fit her beautifully; nice boots (not too much of a heel, but not flat either); couldn't see her shirt because of the flattering jacket she was wearing, and the really pretty scarf - the big square kind that you can fold into various configurations - looped around her neck and shoulders. She had her nails done and was wearing a couple of chunky, funky bracelets. Basically, she was dressed like everyone else on the bus - jeans and a jacket - but her clothes were cut to flatter her figure and her accessories pulled everything together.

Happy early birthday!
posted by rtha at 6:31 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure whether you really want a gay bar or a lgbt friendly straight bar but I'll give you some options anyway:

1. Hamburger Mary's - This would actually be my last choice. I dislike going there because of the piss-poor service but lots of people, both gay and straight, love it. It's on 17th and pretty easy to get to.

2. Black Crown Lounge - They don't really pigeon hole themselves but it's pretty gay. I really enjoy going here when it's warm out and enjoying the patio. Always very friendly with a mix of characters. I've certainly spotted some transfolk in the mix.

3. Charlie's - If country is your thing then Charlie's is the way to go. Charlie's is very much a gay men's bar, but women do frequent it on the weekend to get their boot-scoot on.

4. Eden - primarily a women's bar/club it is Denver's only lesbian bar now. I'm not a fan, but they do have a following.

5. Barker Lounge - On South Broadway, this unassuming little dive has a loyal following and has been pretty friendly when I've dropped in.

6. Compound Basix - Also on Broadway, a few blocks north of Barker, you'll find this dance bar. I rarely drop in unless one of my gay boy friends really wants to. I find it a bit on the "hot mess" side.

If you want to provide more detail on what kind of place you're looking for and what you want out of said celebration I'll happily provide more detail.
posted by FlamingBore at 6:44 AM on February 10, 2012

Ah, details, details. Sorry for not thinking of providing more before. I want to say I'm looking for more of a lesbian bar, although I have heard that not all lesbian bars are friendly to mtf lesbians. I have no idea how true that is, especially for Denver. And I think I want more of a dance or top 40 pop music scene. I do not like country, or rap/r&b.
posted by trogdole at 6:58 AM on February 10, 2012

Gotcha. In that case I think Eden is probably your best bet.

It is absolutely true that not all lesbians, nor the bars geared toward lesbians, are terribly accepting of MtF folks, but Denver is surprisingly not too bad for this. It's no San Francisco or Seattle, but it's better than I would expect.

And with that I can advise you that you if you want the best opportunity to fit in while being in a lesbian bar with your brother I might suggest dressing a little funky and avoiding a dress. I say this not to confuse the point on passing for female as much as not being mistaken for straight because you're there with a dude. If that's not a concern at all then by all means, where whatever you feel most celebratory in. My girlfriend would probably rock some tights under a cute skirt if the temperature were not cooperating with a night out on the town.

Also, if you're coming to town on the first weekend of March you'll want to consider going to First Friday at Tracks. Tons... and I do mean tons of lesbians pack into Tracks on the first Friday of every month.

Let me know if you have other specific questions.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:24 AM on February 10, 2012

I think Denver is generally a pretty tolerant and friendly city. The only bar that comes to mind as being one of my favorites is The Thin Man, which probably wouldn't fall specifically under "lgbt friendly" but is a really great, welcoming bar. Try not to pigeon hole yourself into crappy bars just because they cater to the lgbt group. One thing I've noticed is that the feeling that you're being judged seems to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. I'm very open with my girlfriend when I go out in Denver and I've never felt judged, but I think that's because I fully expect to be treated with respect and friendliness when I go out. It drives me crazy when my lesbian friends always want to go to Hamburger Mary's; they let gays in nice bars and restaurants, too! Go out with confidence and find bars that suit your tastes.

As far as how to dress, it's cold here right now! If you're in the clubs and bars closer to the LoDo area downtown people tend to dress a lot nicer in club wear. Denver's a pretty casual town so I wouldn't stress too much unless you're dressing up for yourself because it's your birthday and you're fabulous.
posted by shornco at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you like Kerouac, history and hamburgers? Go down to 15th and Platte (there's no sign, it's on the corner on the REI side of 15th) and have a burger at My Brother's Bar.

It's a low-key, grab a burger and beer place, and would be great for lunch. I can't imagine anyone would look twice. But for God's sake if they do, let me know and I will NEVER HANG THERE AGAIN. Happy Birthday!!!
posted by cyndigo at 9:24 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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