Colfax Avenue and Some of the Worst Motels in Denver.

I’ve been putting some good miles on The 55, seeing some cool sights along the way and spending some quality time with my family – Pop, Scott, Val, Alex, Avery and Andrew.
I grew up in Colorado but in all my years here I’ve never driven all the way down Colfax Avenue.
In my previous post I wrote: “it’s become legend that Playboy magazine once called Colfax “the longest, wickedest street in America.”” 
Colfax is Denver’s “Main Street” – it runs east-west from Golden to Aurora.
I exited I-70 and started at the west end of Colfax and almost immediately I was greeted by the A&D Motel.

I love the neon cactus, but it looks like the neon cactus is the only thing the A&D Motel has going for it.
I read on the internet that the A&D Motel is “the worst motel in Lakewood.”
Now that’s a bold statement.
Right down the street is Davies Chuck Wagon Diner.

Davie’s is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
It was installed in 1957 along with the sign and it’s an original, vintage Mountain View Diner.
The neon cowboy kinda reminds me of Vegas Vick on Fremont Street in Vegas.
On my way to Davie’s I passed this little gem and had to do a little back-tracking to get it.
The Scatterday’s Lumber Yard sign.

Scatterday’s was established in 1945.
It’s no longer a lumber yard, but that cool sign is.
While I was out taking these pictures I discovered that Denver has some of the friendliest people around.
Like this woman at the Lakewood Grill.

I got out of The 55 and as soon as I started taking pictures she walked up and just stood there.
Then she started talking to me.
I’m still not sure what she was talking about, but I think she mentioned something about being in Bronco’s Country.

When you’re in Colorado – Denver especially – you’re in Bronco’s Country.
So be aware.
I had no idea Colfax was jam packed with all of this gold.
Like the White Swan Motel. 

The White Swan Motel was another motel that someone said is the “worst motel in Denver.”
I was so distracted by the White Swan Motel I completely missed Casa Bonita just across the street. 
Casa Bonita is a Denver institution and I’m sorry I missed it. 
A block away is The Big Bunny Motel.

It was built in 1952 and was known as the Bugs Bunny Motel until they got a letter from the Warner Brothers legal team telling them to change the name.
Maybe they were told to change the name because of a review that read “this is absolutely the worst motel in Denver.” 
Right down the street is the Lakewood Lodge.

The sign is awesome!
All that’s missing is the neon. 
And – the Lakewood Lodge isn’t one of the worst motels in Denver.
But why is it that every place I want to stop seems to be on the other side of the street?
Story of my life…
I saw the purple of the Aristocrat Motor Hotel and had to turn in.
And I got a two for one.
I got the Aristocrat Motor Hotel and the Eddie Bohn Motel in the background.

The Aristocrat was built in 1964 and it looks like it’s been converted into apartments or low income housing.
I’m glad they kept the sign.
All that’s left of the Eddie Bohn Motel is the sign.
It’s now a dispensary. 
Hey – it’s Colorado – what do you expect?
Finally – something on “my” side of the street.
Frank’s Bar-B-Que.

It doesn’t say it on the sign, but it’s Texas style BBQ.
Texas & Kansas are my favorite BBQ’s.
They didn’t have any burnt ends, so I got the chicken.
And if you’re in need of a whole smoked pig, they’ll smoke one up for you.
After all that BBQ I needed to relax a bit, and it just so happened that Lake Steam Baths & Sauna was right down the street. 

It sounds kinda creepy, but it’s been there since 1927 and is a legitimate Russian bath house. 
Pete’s Satire Lounge has been a Denver tradition since 1962.

At least that what it says on their website.
The sign ain’t so bad either.
It’s 21 feet tall and was built in 1956 for Sugie’s Lounge. 
The letters were changed in 1962 when Pete took over and he’s been at it ever since.
Not even a block away is the Lion’s Lair.

It started life as the Playboy Club in the 1930’s – not the Playboy magazine Playboy Club – those didn’t open until 1960.
Until 1967 it was the Aladdin Lounge, then it was bought and rechristened the Lion’s Lair after the owner Jim Lyons.
I love midcentury architecture, so I made a little detour off of Colfax to check out the Parkway Towers.
It is a true midcentury modern masterpiece. 
It was built in 1962 and it looks like not much has changed since.
Back on Colfax, my last stop was the Top Star Motel.

The Top Star Motel was built in 1957 and my guess is the star on top used to rotate.
People in Denver are not camera shy.
This guy just popped out of the bushes and started asking me questions about The 55.
No…
It’s not a Nomad. 
Directly across the street from the Top Star Motel is a former Phillip’s 66 gas station.

I know this because it’s the same design as this one in West Covina, CA.

How cool is that?
A few states apart but it’s still got the same architecture.
We drove from the western end of Colfax Avenue to almost the eastern end of it. 
I’m amazed at how many bad hotels there are on Colfax. 
But as bad as they may be to stay at, their signs are fantastic.
I don’t know if was ever called the “longest, wickedest street in America” by Playboy magazine, but I do know that Colfax Avenue is awesome. 
If you’ve got the time, take a cruise down Colfax and experience it for yourself.
Don’t forget to bring your camera.
#idrivea55 


2 thoughts on “Colfax Avenue and Some of the Worst Motels in Denver.

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