The Red Room
320 East Colfax Avenue
Capitol Hill, Denver
Bus directions: take the mall shuttle from Market Street and walk up Colfax
Note: The Red Room closed in spring 2009.
Saturday night Todd and I were due for some fun, after he spent Friday night at a hotel undergoing testing for sleep apnea, while I shoveled the deck and painted my toenails. I tried to spice up the night with a little Jude Law in My Blueberry Nights, but the disc was hosed.
There’s been a lot of local buzz going on about a film called Ink, shot in Denver and produced by a couple of Denverites. The theater at Starz was packed—not a regular occurrence—and the assault began.
Good versus evil, storytellers versus incubi, that is—and the film’s effects versus my eyeballs. I’m not a huge fan of cinematography that’s hard to watch, like The Constant Gardener (How could anyone make me not want to watch Ralph Fiennes?), but Ink was definitely worth the retinal torture. (The third paragraph of this review describes it better than I can. And you can watch the trailer here.)
The first half of the movie was a nightmare version of my explorations of Denver, never knowing what you’re going to find around the next corner. Why is this black-robed Druidic figure dragging this gleaming blonde child behind him? What does he want? He tells us, it doesn’t quite make sense, so we keep following along.
Like the Pathfinder, my favorite character, the movie is at first annoyingly self-absorbed and then reluctantly revealing. Most of the characters inhabit the dream world and only pop in to visit us at night, when they give us good or bad dreams. The Pathfinder was the most liminal of the characters, blinded but able to change physical reality by tuning in to the beat of life. His scenes alone were worth the price of the movie.
After all that metaphysicalness, I wanted to stay out, and we drove to the Red Room, on Colfax on the edge of Capitol Hill. I was expecting something a little gritty, like, say, Lion’s Lair—it wasn’t, and it wasn’t swank, either, like the Oceanaire, although the burgundy-colored booths looked nice from the top floor. The bar itself was impressive, but the patrons were mostly college kids or twenty-somethings, and not even enough of them to fill the place by 11, when we left.
The Red Room changed ownership a year or so ago, and I think it hasn’t quite found its groove. Or maybe the time to go there is happy hour and the drink to order is a martini, judging from the selection of vodka. The reviews on Citysearch mentioned chefs coming over from Nine75 and Epcots Living Seas Restaurant, which might account for the “tenders” (huge pieces of chicken) battered with Frosted Flakes. They looked spiky and scary but were sweet as could be, though the batter definitely didn’t want to hang out with the chicken a second longer than necessary. I ate most of the fries while arguing with Todd over whether they were hand-cut.
And then the band started channeling Stevie Ray Vaughan and we hung over the railing and swayed back and forth. Two women danced in front of the door, and the drummer had a great time.