Uptown has historically been one of Denver’s gayborhoods, hosting bars like JR’s, M Uptown, and the Wrangler, but some of that has started to slip away in recent years. JR’s and M Uptown have closed their doors, and The Wrangler moved to a new location—and will soon close its doors permanently.
As these locations started to disappear, some of the neighborhood’s history seemed to be going with it. That’s why Scott Wedor decided to open new bar, Pride & Swagger, on east 17th Ave. and Pennsylvania Street.
“I’ve always wanted to open a bar,” he said. “Denver has always had a great LGBT scene, and in the past few years I’ve noticed it’s needed some new blood, per say. Plus, this area used to have so many great LGBT bars and I really wanted to bring that back to the area again—I love this part of Uptown.”
Like the bars that used to be in Uptown, Pride & Swagger aimed to be more of a traditional bar than a club. It has definitely succeeded. It’s in a modestly sized venue with ample seating. Patrons can order food, and there’s a killer all-day happy hour special to get your evening started without breaking the bank.
“I really wanted to bring back a bar. A true bar. Similar to what JR’s used to be. It was a great place to meet up for drinks, have some fun before going to your next destination,” Wedor explained.
There are also weekly events like a Broadway musical sing-a-long night, a RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing party, and a brand-new drag king show geared towards mentoring new drag kings.
From its drag king show to its overall attitude, Pride & Swagger is trying to evolve with the queer community and become a truly welcoming space.
“We wanted to make sure we opened a bar that truly welcomed everyone. We stand behind being an LGBTQIA bar, and welcome all and everyone to our bar.”
Drag queen shows are fairly popular in Denver LGBTQ bars, but the inclusion of, and explicit goal to help mentor, new drag kings is a way to support those who are sometimes overlooked in the community and attempt to make the space more welcoming to folks across the spectrum.
Wedor also wants to be supportive of the other queer bars, especially since several new ones have opened recently.
“Most importantly, we want to encourage everyone to support all their local gay bars,” Wedor said. “It is so important, especially in this time, we stay united and support one another and the great community we have. Go out, come visit Pride & Swagger for sure, as we’d love to have you here, but go and visit all the bars. Get out there and have some fun.”
To help Denver’s queer folks get out and have some fun, Pride & Swagger will be hosting a variety of Pride events in June.
For more info on the current events schedule, and the upcoming Pride events, head over to the Pride & Swagger Facebook page.