The Denver Eagle is the premier queer leather bar in Denver, providing a safe and welcoming environment for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Denver Eagle is the only gay bar on the West side of Denver. Some will remember the second Eagle that was atop the Wrangler, think of that but better! With a dedicated kitchen and a wide variety of events, this bar is worth the Uber. I always find the atmosphere to be friendly and open with great music. Their in-house DJ Joe is in Space does a phenomenal job.
I got to sit down with the three owners JW, Louis, and Denny. While we were talking about their journey up to this point, we realized that Denver Eagle is one of a kind in many ways. It’s the only Black-owned LGBT+ bar in Denver the only queer bar on the West side of Denver, and it is the only leather bar in town! Their unique and accepting attitudes towards all communities really sells their insight and focus. They are happy to host so many different types of kink, fetish, lifestyle, or gender. Talking with them, I remembered why queer spaces are so important to our community and those that safeguard them are equally as important.
Denver Eagle Interview
GayDenver: Where are you from? Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Louis: I’m originally from New Mexico, I’ve lived in Denver now for 16 years. I love Colorado and the outdoors. I think you’ll find with all of us, this is a second job for us. You know, I still work full-time in the live events industry during the day. But, I just really am a member of this community. And we felt like we needed to save space for everyone to come to one another. We’re just losing these places in the world, right? And we needed to open another place in Denver where people could come to and be themselves and wanted to, you know, make your party sometimes.
JW: I’m originally from Louisiana and Louisiana, and the hospitality industry also. But just like Steve just said, it was one of those things that we felt like, we were losing our spaces to a lot of gentrification and development. And we just felt like this was something that was needed and that the community wanted.
Denny: I’m originally from Kansas, and I am a real estate agent.
GayDenver: Can you tell us about Denver Eagle?
Denver Eagle: Denver Eagle is simply an all-inclusive space for people of the community. They can enjoy themselves, you can quote unquote, fly your freak flag, and come and be who you want to be. We are a leather bar, but we are still an inclusive space. It was one of those things that were needed in the community. You know, we have dance bars, we have a social bar, we have all these different types of bars, we have country bars, you know, we have everything but then we didn’t have one for leather.
GayDenver: What was your relationship with the last Eagle?
Denver Eagle: Denny and I (JW) owned the second Eagle that was above the Wrangler.
GayDenver: How is the current Denver Eagle different from the second?
Denver Eagle: Well, we’re not over the top of another bar, we have our own space. Because of this, we’re not limited to what we can do. The second Eagle was above the Wrangler. We could only have so much capacity and were limited in our events. Now. we can do all the events we dreamed of and not worry as much about capacity or space.
GayDenver: Why did the second Denver Eagle close?
Denver Eagle: That particular building sold very quickly, we didn’t have much choice.
GayDenver: How did you come to be at your location?
Denver Eagle: We knew that there was an underserved queer community on the west side. But we talked ourselves into thinking it was too far. But everyone says that about just about every new establishment. Even when Trade first opened up we remember everyone saying ‘it’s too far’. We kinda bought into that mentality at first. The more we thought about it, the more we discredited it. Also, what about all the communities that have to drive to Denver to go out? We are so close to Sloan’s Lake, Lakewood, and not far from Littleton or Westminster. So many people are moving out of Capitol Hill, and we found out that there are a lot of gays on the West side. Everything just sort of clicked together. We also really like the lack of gentrification this far out.
GayDenver: How are you trying to make Denver Eagle different from its predecessor? Or the other bars/clubs?
Denver Eagle: We have the space to invite the clientele that we want to invite, which is everyone. We don’t want to exclude anyone. We don’t want to say just because you are a pup, you can’t come. We don’t want to say just because you dress a certain way you can’t come. No matter who you are, what your fetish is, what your sexuality is, or how you present, you are welcome here.
GayDenver: Let’s talk about your menu. It’s great, simple, and perfect for drinking.
Denver Eagle: Our kitchen will always be a priority. We have added more bar-type food to our menu like french fries, wings, cheese curds, and pizza. That’s what’s pretty popular, although we kept the Reuben, grilled cheese, and grilled ham because they have been menu staples for us since we opened. When COVID happened, bars that served food got to stay open and survive. If we had a recurrence of COVID, we can stay open.
GayDenver: Cindy was the former chef of Daddy’s before it closed and is now running your kitchen, correct?
Denver Eagle: We’ve known Cindy forever. Once we got the ball rolling on this location I (JW) called her up and she was here the next day! We are so happy to have her on board, she does an amazing job and maximizes what we can get out of our kitchen.
GayDenver: If you could put anything on a billboard what would it be?
JW: ‘Be you’. There is no other you, be yourself! You don’t have to conform to any standard, shape, size, or community. Be yourself and be good to yourself.
Louis: ‘You are loved.’ So many of us in the leather and gear community started out being on the fringe and just thinking, hey, am I the only person that’s in this universe that’s like this? Once you find your tribe to be with, it is a powerful thing. You can ask anybody that comes in here, you will find somebody here who loves you and will hug you. The customers like each other, we look out for each other, and it is a safe space for anyone to come in.
Denny: I want to keep mine simple, an enormous penis. Out there for the world to see!
GayDenver: Is there anything you would like to say to the readers?
Denver Eagle: Come visit us, we are building something very cool and real here. If you’re one of those people who say we are too far, come to one of our parties and see for yourselves. Don’t miss out on a great time with fresh faces because of something like that. Also, who drives to bars anymore? Don’t most of us Uber?