Gay hiking

Meet the man behind Tight End, Denver’s only gay sports bar

Inside the tight end. Photo courtesy of Steven Alix

Eat and drink

Owner Steven Alix has reason to celebrate, and it’s not just because of the Super Bowl this weekend.

When Steven Alix moved from San Diego to Denver 17 years ago, he noticed that despite the city being “such a sports city”, something was missing. “I’ve always wished there was a [sports] bar designed specifically around the gay community, he says.

After opening X-bar in 2010 and the Squire lounge in 2013, the idea of ​​a gay space dedicated to all sports never left him. He saw the desire from his friends and people from his other bars, and after researching it for the past five years and researching possible locations, he found the perfect spot on Colfax Avenue, just a few blocks from Squire houses.

tight end, Denver’s only gay sports bar, opened in April 2021. “I wanted it to be a safe space for sports watchers,” says Alix. “I wanted it to be something different from other bars, so it wasn’t about drag shows or dance floors or things like that. [I wanted it to be] a bar where people could really come and know your name, Cheers-style.”

For Denver locals familiar with Alix’s other two pursuits, Tight End is totally different. X Bar is a high-energy dance club, with drag shows and a giant piano. Squire is a place to watch live music while sipping a cold drink. At Tight End, says Alix, it’s “just a place where the games are always on TV; it’s specifically geared towards sports.

But, as with the Squire Lounge, Alix strives to create a “neighborhood bar vibe” for the community. In addition to nine TVs tuned to the Avs and Nuggets, Tight End offers spacious patios and an extensive cocktail and beer menu. If you get hungry, there’s the End Zone Pizzeria kitchen for bites with tongue-in-cheek names like the Beefcake (a sausage, pepperoni, and bacon pie) and the Morning Wood breakfast pizza. And, of course, there’s drag queen bingo every Friday night.

As well as being the go-to spot for all identities, Tight End partners with local leagues of gay spots, including the College Gay League, Denver Area Softball Leagueand the Mile-Hi Bullseye Darts League. “We’re giving $2 off any drink, anytime, when someone’s wearing their local league sportswear, and [we] get creative with all the leagues we sponsor to really create a partnership,” says Alix.

Now, 10 months after opening, the bar is ready for the biggest day in sports: the Super Bowl. Alix is ​​planning a party – heating up the patios; offering free shots of their drink menu with every touchdown and pizza promotions; and hosting a Super Bowl squares event, where participants have the chance to win cash each quarter.

“The space is really cool and it was everything I wanted it to be,” he says. “People come for the games, people come for the neighborhood bar… What I’m most proud of is surviving COVID. We opened a new bar at COVID and it’s still going strong.

Tight End is open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.; 1501 E. Colfax Ave. (Super Bowl celebrations begin at 4:30 p.m.; seats are in first come first served)

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