Beat icon Neal Cassady may still have an outstanding tab at the bar on Platte and 15th Street in Denver. A copy of a letter he penned to an unknown associate in 1944, while serving time in the Colorado State Reformatory for stealing cars, is framed by the bathrooms. It reads, “I frequented the place occasionally & consequently still have a small bill run up, I believe I owe them about 3 or 4 dollars. If you happen to be in that vicinity please drop in & pay it, will you?” Although it has changed names (from Paul’s Place to My Brother’s Bar), visitors can belly up to the same bar where Cassady, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg were once regulars.
Being one of the oldest bars in Denver, My Brother’s Bar is a bit of a luddite, doing its best, it seems, to keep itself in the Beat years. There are no televisions, the till is analog, and wifi was only a recent addition. It’s not hard to imagine dust-coated, gun-toting cowboys shouldering open batwing doors back in the 1870s, when a bar first opened on the premises.
The bar comes by its grit naturally. There’s not even a sign out front. The former owners, brothers Jim and Angelo Karagas, couldn’t afford one when they bought it in 1970. The current name stems from an ongoing joke whereby a bill collector would come by the bar to collect debts and either one of the Karagas brothers would say “take it to my brother, he owns the place.”
Know Before You Go
The bar is closed on Sundays.