February 28, 2008 News » Cover Story

'This guy walks into my bar ...' 

With the tape recorder running, local bartenders spill their favorite stories

click to enlarge 2211_cover1-1.jpg

It'd been way too long since we'd been mooned while reporting a story.

Thankfully, with our 2008 Drink issue, a bunch of us got the chance to reconnect with the base impulses and actions that can make a night interesting. Or typical, if you're a bartender.

In this package, we're hoping that a few local pourers can bring similar thrills and chills to you, through the kinds of tales they tell their friends and families well, maybe not their children when they come home from work at night.

If it's been a while since you've had a raging night out, maybe these stories will help you realize what you're missing. If you're a regular in the local bar scene, maybe you'll recognize some of these storytellers, or even some of the stories themselves.

If you're the star of one of these stories, maybe you'll look into getting some help. (Particularly if it's one of those from the "You didn't hear it here" section.)

Regardless, we hope you at least get some laughs out of what follows. Thanks for picking up the issue.

Oh, and a very special thanks to the hairy, loose-pant-wearing guy who just happened to "drop a dime" on the floor last weekend. That really was priceless.

Joel Harris
Bartender, Fujiyama Sushi
28 S. Tejon St., Suite A, 630-1167

It was the wasabi challenge that we do periodically. Basically, you get free drinks all night if you can eat a golf-ball-sized serving of wasabi in under a minute. And you have to keep it down.

These military guys walk in, and one guy decides he is going to try after they have a few drinks. His friends get him all pumped up and he puts the entire ball of wasabi in his mouth and swallows it whole.

click to enlarge Joel Harris, Fujiyama Sushi - BRIENNE BOORTZ
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Joel Harris, Fujiyama Sushi

His eyes tear up, he starts sweating, snot bubbles are coming out of his nose, and his face literally turns the color of the wasabi. So after he finishes, I walk up and ask him what he wants to drink. He looks at me with his voice is cracking and quivering and he tells me, "I want my check and I want to go home." We had made the wasabi the day before, so it was nice and fresh.

Aaron Alexander
Bartender, Duffy's Tavern
4861 N. Academy Blvd., 599-7739

It was a Saturday night, and Christy was bartending at the time. Christy is about a buck-ten and fiery as shit.

We were all sitting here, and all of a sudden Christy asked us why the office door was open. Christy walks into the office and we hear this massive scream, and Christy is pulling this guy in a blond wig and blue sunglasses out of the office, with her arms wrapped around his neck. We all swarmed the guy who had apparently been trying to break into the safe and held him down until the cops got here to arrest him.

Susan Stecken
Bartender, The Hatch Cover
252 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-5223

A few guys, on an average night, were hanging out and started talking to some cute girls. They were all having a good time, and one guy and girl were really hitting it off.

That guy's girlfriend's best friend walked in and saw him making out with that girl. She punched him, knocked him out and out of his chair. She left and he was on the floor for a few minutes until his friends helped him up. The best part was that this happened right after we installed our new security cameras, and the whole thing was caught on tape.

click to enlarge Susan Stecken, The Hatch Cover - BRIENNE BOORTZ
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Susan Stecken, The Hatch Cover

He came back a few weeks later with his girlfriend and got teased. His defense was that he was just friends with the girl from that night, but we had him making out with her on camera.

Roger Stahlak
Owner, Townhouse Lounge
907 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1085

I've been doing this 30 years, and my favorite story is about the prizefight we had, because not many places can say they had their own prizefight.

It was back in 1984, and we had these two guys, Jimmy O'Sporkia and Mike Soules, who always were getting into it at the bar. They were the best of guys and the worst of friends, always with a difference of opinion about everything.

Finally, one night I had enough and told them, "You guys need to settle this in a ring."

They went along with it, and I set it up for St. Patrick's Day, which was on a Saturday. We fixed up a ring outside on the patio, and I got a doctor and an ambulance to be there. We got Jack Ryan from Channel 11 to be the host, and we had girls to walk around with signs before each round, like they do in Vegas. We even had a weigh-in the night before the fight, and that brought in a lot of people.

click to enlarge Customers became boxers for a day in 1984 at Manitou's Townhouse Lounge. - COURTESY ROGER STAHLAK
  • Courtesy Roger Stahlak
  • Customers became boxers for a day in 1984 at Manitou's Townhouse Lounge.

But the fight nearly didn't happen. The two guys were getting extremely nervous that day, as they were sitting together drinking across the street at the Royal Tavern. I told them it was too late, and they couldn't back out because we had a big crowd more than a thousand. The mayor of Manitou drove by, saw all those people, and he called the police chief and fire chief to have them check into it. But they were already here, watching it like everybody else.

The fight lasted three rounds until the referee stopped it and declared Mike the winner.

In those days, we were selling draft beer for 75 cents a glass, so you can imagine how many kegs we went through that St. Patrick's Day.

Scott Prellberg
Owner/bartender, Overtime Sports Bar & Grill
2809 Dublin Blvd., 531-6032

About a month ago, this guy who has an artificial foot was in the bar, along with another guy. Apparently, the guy with the artificial foot had hit on the other guy's mom at another bar some time ago. Since this had happened, neither had really talked to each other a whole lot.

Another guy was also in the bar that evening [who] was a friend to both of the guys, and was aware of the beef between the two. The guy who was friends with both men staged a fight between himself and the guy with the artificial foot when they were all out smoking.

When the guy [whose mom had been hit on] went to break up the fight, the guy who was friends with both men kicked off the artificial foot and proceeded to chase the other guy around the bar, beating him with the artificial foot.

Mike Milar and Kathy Reece
Owner and bartender, Keg Lounge
730 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9531

Kathy: There are so many stories, but my favorite quick one is about a group of tourists we had in here a few summers ago. They'd been out around the area all day, and they obviously loved the mountains.

They were talking to their waitress and one of them said, "Pikes Peak is so beautiful, I can't believe it. But I just have one question: How long has it been there?"

We came up with the perfect answer later: "They just finished construction on it a few months ago."

Mike: One day, early in the morning, I got a call from our cleanup guy. He came in and and found a lady passed out in a booth and her dress was pulled up over the top of her head. We didn't want to get in any trouble, so we tried to wake her up by poking at her with pool sticks. Finally she woke up, and the first thing she said was, "Do you have any fresh coffee made?"

A long time ago we had a regular named Ricky who could drink about a case of beer a night, and he lived in the apartment upstairs. One night he had lost his key, so he tried to shimmy up the back of the building to his apartment. But he didn't make it, and he fell into the water [of Fountain Creek], and he was so drunk that he floated all the way down to the police station. They got him out and gave him a room for the night.

Then there was the time, not long after we bought the place years ago, when we were trying out some new bartenders. One of them was a cowboy. I came in the next morning, went to clean the bathroom and there he was, sitting in the stall, passed out on the stool, with his hat on and his pants down to his ankles. Needless to say, that was his last night as a bartender for us.

Eel Anderson
Owner, Tony's
311 N. Tejon St., 228-6566

It was about 1:30 in the afternoon and this guy, who looked exhausted, ordered a beer. He drank about half of the beer and went down to the bathroom, leaving his wallet and cell phone sitting on the bar.

About an hour went by, and the guy still had not come back. Another guy came up to me and said that I had a problem in the bathroom. I went into the restroom, and this guy had passed out on the crapper.

click to enlarge Eel Anderson, Tony's - BRIENNE BOORTZ
  • Brienne Boortz
  • Eel Anderson, Tony's

I couldn't get into the stall without crawling under the door or jumping over, so I grabbed a broom and started poking the guy. He finally came to and admitted that he hadn't been over-served, as he had only drank half of his beer, and said that he would be out soon. The guy said that his legs had fallen asleep, so it would be about 10 minutes before he could get up. Afterwards he came out and grabbed his personal belongings and left. I haven't seen him since.

Kelly Davis
Daytime bartender, Murphy's Tavern
2729 N. Nevada Ave., 634-9196

We were watching the Broncos game we get a lot of English and the Scottish guys in here and this guy was talking with them. He was very nice to me.

He was trying to sell a diamond ring. He asked a couple guys if they wanted to buy a ring.

The next thing you know, he got into it with one of the lads, about an IRA family thing I don't know and he said he was going to get a gun. We proceeded to call the police and lock the door [as] he left, he drove away.

He came back, and we had cops over here [across the street], there [to the north], everywhere. He had three guns on him when he got back.

So they busted him. And inside his motel room I think it was on South Nevada he had a room full of stolen goods. So I don't know if he was going to try to sell a gun or ... you know, I don't know. I was busy, [and at first] I didn't even know anything was going on.

Greg Smitty Smith
Owner, Smitty's Greenlight Tavern
227 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, 719/543-2747

I had a bartender who used to work days he worked for me for about 12 years. It was kinda slow, and one day he goes, "Hey, come here a sec. Let's go outside."

He goes, "Lay down like this on the ground [sprawls out], and I'm going to chalk your body."

I go, "Why?" He says, "Just do it."

So I did, and he got some packets of ketchup [motions squirting on ground] and said, "Just watch."

So I'm just curious, and pretty soon a couple people are gaping over me, then a couple more. He comes out and goes, "Hey, come on in and I'll tell you what happened."

Compiled by Alexa Acord, David Owens, Ralph Routon, Matthew Schniper and Kirk Woundy.

click to enlarge Greg Smith, Smitty's Greenlight Tavern, Pueblo - MATTHEW SCHNIPER

Proof: Romance isnt dead

While talking with bartenders about their favorite tales, we took the opportunity to ask them for the best OK, most memorable pickup lines they'd ever heard while on the job. Here's what we got, listed in no particular order.

Use at your own risk.

Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?

Your daddy must have been a meat thief, 'cause he stole two fine hams and shoved them down the back of your pants. (Note: The woman reportedly left the bar with the guy who used this.)

You ready to go?

Are those space pants you're wearing? 'Cause your ass is out of this world.

Are you good at math? Well, hey, we need to add the two of us together, subtract our clothes, divide your legs and multiply.

I lost my number. Can I have yours?

Hey you wanna come back to my place for pizza and sex? ... What, you don't like pizza?

Can I buy you a drink, or would you rather have the $5?

Can I have your number, even if it's a fake one?

What has 142 teeth and holds back the incredible hulk? My zipper.

If I flip this coin, what's the chance of getting head tonight?

Are you ready for your first Chick-on-chick experience? (Note: This was said by a guy nicknamed Chick.)


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