Black Safe, Dining

2 Black Men in Denver. Day 1 – Objectively Black

“Black Safe” – Denver, CO – DAY 1

         If you’ve never been to Denver, it’s actually a pretty small city. You can hit a fair amount of sights and tourist attractions in just one day if you really try. The buildings aren’t very tall, so the city seems very intimate. There are a ton of locally owned businesses all serving a similar purpose…The purpose, you guessed it; Beer.

It’s super easy to get around, but we recommend using the Lyft or Bird Apps to rent scooters. They are everywhere and they’re pretty dope. The utility of reaching in your pocket, grabbing your phone, then scanning a random scooter from off the curb is incredibly novel. They aren’t strewn all about either, The scooters are fairly well maintained and easy to use. Scan the scooter, kick, push, and coast. Throttle is on the right. Brake is on the left. It’s that simple. They are pretty fast, so it’s a fun way to move around the city. Just be sure you aren’t drunk or high while riding.

Cherry Cricket – Brewpub

As soon as we landed, we were starving. So we asked around for a recommendation that was still pretty close to where we were staying. We were also in the mood for burgers. It’s no secret that the cattle in this area of the country is choice so we ended up going to Cherry Cricket. The service was slow (I’m starting to think that anything outside NYC is) but the staff was crazy nice and their manners made up for it. The food was delicious. And no surprise, the beer selection was good as well.

Black Safe Score 4/5

Great Divide – Brewery

Next, we shot on over to The Great Divide for our first taste of the Denver Craft Beer scene. The brewery has some interesting art on the walls. A painting of Hov and Ye in full cowboy garb caught our eye. It perfectly captured their personalities and we almost copped before we talked ourselves out of it. The artwork in Denver would continue to catch our eye during the trip.

Black Safe Score 4/5

Dispensaries

After a few more beers, we hit our first dispensary. They are everywhere and you can’t really miss em. Obviously, bring cash. At least until the rest of the country gets their act together. These places have something for everybody. From your hardcore weed enthusiasts to your newbies and Ganga virgins. The staff is knowledgeable and will give you the rundown on anything you have questions about. After some perusing, we opted to go for the fast melting gummies. Like two kids looking at a playboy for the first time, we rushed outside, ripped opened the shiny packaging (no golden ticket tho) and ingested our first legal round of oh so masterfully manufactured THC. Since we had about an hour before liftoff, we took an extra slow stroll back to the BnB before we left for the Pepsi Center. We were told that the gummies wouldn’t hit us for an hour. So we took our suggested doses, 1 for Dougie and half for Idris, and waited. Of course, we got impatient and doubled up after an hour of waiting with no real effects…

Black Safe Score 4/5

Denver Nuggets / Houston Rockets

Since the high was starting to kick in, we opted for a Lyft. Our driver, a French woman named Elaine, arrived pretty promptly in a shiny new Ford Fusion:

Driver: You boys from out of town? (yeah, they are chatty down here. Get your talking points ready)

F. Dougie: Yeah, we’re from New York.  Brooklyn and Queens. We wanted to see what Denver is all about.

Driver: Oh, so you guys are just here for fun? No special occasion?

Idris Gray: It’s funny you mention that. We’re actually celebrating the launch of our blog.

Driver: Ohhhhh, very interesting. What is the blog about?

Dougie: We are writing about pop-culture, politics, music, movies, and other things from our own unique perspective. We really think that people can identify with some of the ways that we view things.

Idris: It’s called “ Objectively Black”.

Her face turns to stone*

Driver: Soooooooo…… (pauses)

Are you going to educate black people? Or is this just black people complaining about SLAVERY AND BLAH BLAH BLAH?

Dougie: “Bitch, what?!”

Fam did she just say slavery and blah blah blah?! My nigga, I’m too high for this shit!! I can’t even process it!”

Idris: Hold up man. Don’t turn up. Let’s see what she has to say.

Driver: “I have many black friends. They complain a lot and….”

Dougie: This is the first day of black history month! I cannot sit here and listen to this.

(indecipherable yelling)

Driver: I’m trying to say that I try to be a good person and help my friends see a different perspective than complaining. How can someone like me help?

Idris: I’m trying to process what she’s saying, and in a weird way it reminds me of that time, that white college student approached Malcolm X and said that she was an ally and wanted to know what she could do to help… He milly rocked her to the side and said “NOTHING”.

Dougie: Right?! Now you asking how you can help?! Let me out this Lyft…

Later*

Dougie: Well that was fun…By the way, It’s 7:00 pm and We are STILL the only 2 black People in Denver!!!! I ain’t seen one of us, YET! (Day 2 got better). The Pepsi Center is adequately mediocre. Where is the house that Melo built?

Idris: Where are the lobsters?!  Where is the filet mignon?!

Dougie:  Where the fuck is Shake Shack?! Where am I right now?!

Hold up, we gotta take a little intermission to talk about the National Anthem. You wanna talk about spiritual? Fam, I thought I was in church. Yeah, the dude on the saxophone was good, but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t a spiritual experience. People really love the flag out here. I swear the dude next to us was catching the holy ghost. Also pretty sure we saw a lady have an orgasm.

But then immediately after, they started playing Lil Dickie’s frat anthem, “I dreamed I was black so now I can say nigga” so we were a little offended….Anyway. Onward.

Idris: My man, there are NO single women ANYwhere in this town. Everybody is Boo’ed up.

Dougie: They’ve all been betrothed since age 15. You know how it is in the midwest. This is technically the midwest, right?

Idris: Yeah, I’m pretty sure. I’m also pretty sure they are playing Ice Ice Baby right now.

Dougie: Holy shit, I’m high as fuck. I almost kicked that lady’s drink out of her hand for no reason. Other than the fact that it would have been hilarious. Why did we get seats all the way up here?!

Idris: ….Dougie, we are in the 12th row from the floor.

Dougie: Yo, did that little kid just say “You can’t stop yo bitch?! Where are his parents?!”

Idris: I think he said You can’t stop Jokic.

Hold up…Who the fuck are Bonnie and Clyde?!

Dougie: They look like a brother and sister pop group or some shit. Let’s boo them.

Both: Boooooooooooooooo! Y’all are trash!

Dougie: “Yoooooo! That girl just got hit in the face with a beachball!

*end scene*

Black Safe Score 5/5

…to be continued in Part 2

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Black Safe, Dining

2 Black Men in Denver. Day 2 – Objectively Black

“Black Safe” – Denver, CO – DAY 2

       If you did day 1 correct, you are probably stupid hungry and in need of sustenance. You’re probably still in pain from the hour of straight laughing from that joke you and your people were laughing about, but you can’t quite remember what the subject of the joke was. Your throat is probably hella dry, and you can’t really find a pharmacy close by to grab a Gatorade because Denver is basically all micro-breweries. You’re definitely exhausted and still need to sleep. But trust us, Denver’s got much more to offer.

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

Snooze came highly recommended and we were not disappointed. We arrived around 9:00 am and the line was already around the door. The wait wasn’t too crazy, but you can tell that this place always does crazy business because they have games like cornhole outside the restaurant and give anyone waiting for a table, free coffee. Their specialty seems to be a section on the menu called “the art of hollandaise”. We both got two different orders of poached eggs and there was an option to replace one of the sides with a pancake. We were all over that!

The drinks were pretty dope as well. I definitely recommend the bacon-infused bloody mary, with Bacon.

Black Safe Score 4/5

F. Dougie: Yo man, you’ve been quiet all morning. You aight?

Idris Gray: I think I’m still smacked. I’m never doing this shit again.

*A bum walks in*

Bum: Ay Youngblood, let me hold a few dollars.

Dougie: Damnnit! Can’t I enjoy this come down in peace?!

Bum: Hey man, I’ll take yo teeth!

Dougie: Look fam, I’m sorry. I can’t help right now.

*Waitress escorts the homeless fellow out*

We actually stayed at an Airbnb a few blocks from a rescue mission during our time in Denver. It’s not completely new to see a few blocks of a city sectioned off for the homeless, but it doesn’t get any easier to see things like this either. We definitely encourage you to take a look at the mission and do what you can to help.

Five Points

Looking for a change of cultural pace, we ventured to 5 Points, a historically African American neighborhood in Central Denver. According to the neighborhood’s history,  it became a predominantly black neighborhood in Denver because discriminatory housing laws in other neighborhoods forbade black people from settling in them. Think of it as your typical housing discrimination policies in Long Island but much more serious.

Today, Five Points is much more gentrified and no longer predominately black, but we do have to say that it was much more diverse than the parts of town we’d seen so far. The part of town hosting the annual Juneteenth celebration, African-American history museum, and beautiful murals of black historians was a must visit.

Black Safe Score 5/5

Ratio Beer Works

This micro-brewery came highly recommended by some craft beer OGs back home in NYC. Ratio definitely had some class and seemed to be a staple in the community. Like almost everyone else we’d met in Denver, the staff was genuine and friendly (a foreign concept, we know). They were highly knowledgeable of their product and I could say with 100% certainty that they could find something for you, even if you aren’t a frequent beer drinker.

There’s an outdoor patio so you can soak in that Vitamin D. Since Denver has over 300+ days of sun per year, you’re definitely going to want to head outside and grab a table. AND FOR CHRISTS SAKE, BRING SUNGLASSES YOU FOOLS!

Ratio is even dog-friendly. Definitely hit this spot if you’re a dog lover. I’m actually certain at one point there might have been more dogs than people.

Black Safe Score 4.5/5

Art

Taking in the neighborhood and the gorgeous murals bringing the buildings to life, we ran into a beautiful rainbow colored mural of Nina Simone and another homage to professor and activist Angela Davis.

The Denver street art was really inspiring. The neighborhood was no longer predominately black but still paid homage to its past heritage. What also comes to mind when taking in all of this art, is the fact that in many major cities it just wouldn’t be possible. The respect and love for the art are what keep these displays in perfect condition. Keeping anything in one piece back home in NYC seems to take an act of god.

Black Safe Score 5/5

Lazo Empanadas

This place is a must visit. It’s a small family owned Argentinian restaurant with a few tables, but what they lack for in size, they more than make up for in taste and soul.

With 14 different flavors of Empanadas, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. They use dough from Argentina and the result is a flaky, crunchy but soft shell. They are great as a snack, but 3 empanadas seem to be the magic number for a hearty lunch.

Black Safe Score 5/5

Union Lodge No. 1 – Speakeasy

If you’re looking for a cocktail bar with delicious drinks, that also stays historically accurate to the mid-1900s, then you’re in luck. Why you’d be looking for this specifically this is interesting, but we’ll stay objective. And in case you were wondering they don’t keep it all the way 1920 if you know what I mean.

Anyway, the staff was very friendly, and the service was great. The menu is large so if you don’t know exactly what to order, just ask one of the bartenders for a recommendation. They’ll set you up nicely. Now, don’t be surprised if you see a few people in the back dressed like Al Capone, or if your bartender begins to violently crush ice with a mallet. It’s all apart of the ambiance here.

Black Safe Score 4/5

RINO Art District – The Source Market + Hotel

After hitting up this spot for the first time, late in day 2, I was disappointed we didn’t have more time to explore all the various retailers, restaurants, and art pieces at The Source Motel and Market Hall. The hotel itself was a cool-looking modern building with a panoramic rooftop for those views of the rocky mountains. While the market had over 25 food and retail vendors and 2 breweries.

We decided that we wanted more drinks to offset the weed gummies I vowed to never do again but did anyway. Once again, the service was fire. The bartenders were nice and the drinks were hitting.

We were able to check out some of the art at the source as well, and just like the rest of the city, the art was beautiful and with only a few exceptions, was a bargain. If I hadn’t spent all my money on weed, alcohol, and burgers, perhaps I could have purchased an elephant with AK-47s as tusks.

Black Safe Score 4.5/5

Closing

Denver is not the place to come if you are looking for diverse types of people or if you are looking to turn up or party. It’s pretty obvious that when the plane lands you are going to get a different type of American experience. We really recommend that you put it on your travel list in the near future. Sure, you may run into a few hiccups, but overall Denver is a great place to visit. The food is great and the people are cool. You can’t beat the breweries, and if you really want to chill you’ve got dispensaries every other block.

Coming from a big city like New York, it’s easy to forget that people live so much different in other parts of the country. People have different values. They have different ways of looking at things and different things that they consider important in life. We found it very inspiring that the local breweries each partnered with local artists to promote art and culture in the various neighborhoods. In a big city like New York, we don’t even say hello or acknowledge each other most of the time. Someone will accidentally bump into you in the street or on the subway and it’s like the whole world is unfair. In Denver, you won’t get away with walking by someone and not saying hello or at least giving a smile. No one is going to run into you in the street and not apologize. If you keep an open mind, Denver has a lot to offer. If you love great food, beer, and art, its at least worth visiting over a long weekend. Chances are, given an extended stay, you could even come to love it.

Black Safe Score 4.5/5

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