Denver’s Carioca Cafe and Bar dive bar – known to most as Bar Bar – needs help as it faces forced closures and new licensing requirements, bringing events to a halt live musicals that have kept the place going for the past few years.
“We’ve made it through the COVID shutdowns with no fundraising, but now we really need your help,” wrote Richard Granville, organizer of a new $10,000 campaign to shore up beloved scuba diving. east end of downtown Denver, on a GoFundMe page.
Granville is a local musician and Bar Bar bartender who launched his campaign on Monday. It has already raised more than a third of its target funds, with $3,701 to date and 87 individual backers.
All funds for the century-old cash-only business will be used to cover rent, utilities and other basic bills; buy stocks to sell at the bar; pay fees associated with licenses required for live music events; and finally, maintenance and renovations — “particularly that which is necessary to meet the aforementioned licensing requirements,” Granville wrote.
Granville hadn’t responded to requests for comment at the time of this writing, but Carioca’s mission is clear.
“We care (damn) about supporting the local arts scene because we’ve been around at Five Points for over 100 years,” according to the bar’s website.
Located at 2060 Champa St., Carioca is one of the last, and at this point, the only stand-alone dive bar in Denver, following the demolition of the nationally acclaimed Shelby’s Dive in 2019. Carioca Cafe has won numerous awards , including Westword’s “Denver’s Best Dive Bar,” and has been known for nearly two decades as a hangout for underground musicians and fans, punks, metalheads and others who embrace the gritty atmosphere, the drinks good marketplace and camaraderie of old Denver in an area surrounded by creeping gentrification and homeless people.
“For a pure sketch, this is about as good as it gets,” wrote one Reddit user in a Denver dive bar thread.
Even in its current incarnation, Carioca has shrunk in recent years. As recently as 2010, its walls “were filled with hundreds of photos of regulars – whether street people, musicians, artists, people in industry, neighbors in fixed income – and many incongruous tchotchkes,” Denver Post columnist Bill Husted wrote at the time. .
“Bar Bar seats 70, but seats 125. It’s the same size and mirror image of nearby El Chapultepec,” he wrote. (El Chapultepec is also, unfortunately, closed as of 2020.)
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