The very idea of a satire lounge is delightful. One wonders at the many senses in which the drinks may be “mixed.”
While I will have my little joke — and the signs and wonders in the Margolies Collection are an endless source of questionable advertising choices — the real story of the Satire Lounge is actually pretty inspiring. Pete’s Satire Lounge (still in business) was opened in 1962 by Pete Contos (1934-2019), “a founding father of Denver’s restaurant scene” who owned several different restaurant businesses and anchored a whole neighborhood on Colfax Avenue, “the longest, wickedest street in America.” The bar itself is billed as “a true Mexican dive bar” (owned and run, as such a place sometimes must be, by a Greek restaurant entrepreneur). It is home to a “famous” Blue Margarita and a whole lot of love from its patrons, regulars and new visitors alike. Apparently, Bob Dylan played there once back in the 60s, and the Smothers Brothers once lived in an apartment above the bar (which, now that I think of it, actually seems exactly right for anyplace that deserves to be called a Satire Lounge).
[Image: The neon sign outside of Pete’s Satire Lounge in Denver, CO, photographed by John Margolies in 2004.]