Western History & Genealogy Blog

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Muddy's Cafe: An Important Denver Institution

Front cover. Muddy's Chronicles: Memoirs From The Last Great Coffeehouse. Bill Stevens. Centipede Press: Lakewood, CO, 2008
Back cover. Muddy's Chronicles: Memoirs From The Last Great Coffeehouse. Bill Stevens. Centipede Press: Lakewood, CO, 2008

I was from a Western Slope town where we didn’t even have a café. With its warm, eclectic, welcoming crowd of old beatniks, poets, punk rockers, and other weirdos, Muddy’s Café blew my mind. Here in Denver, misfits had a public place of their own, where they could hang out and eat good food without being harassed by cowboys or rednecks (a revelation). In his book, Muddy’s Chronicles: Memoirs from the Last Great Coffeehouse, Bill Stevens chronicles the story of this café and its community of unique people, where you could always find a chess game, an all-night intellectual conversation, a caffeine buzz and companionship. For over twenty-five years, this “philosophical coffeehouse” was one of a very few Denver institutions to provide a haven for independent thinkers and counter-cultural elements. Muddy’s hosted the likes of Allen Ginsburg, Ken Kesey, and all of Denver’s mayors and Colorado’s governors of the time. But, “Egalitarian in nature, [Muddy’s] also sheltered the bizarre, the demented and those soulless beings the world never knew existed. There was no schism between the bitter and the frightened, or normal and the sociopath; Muddy’s protected and gave sanctuary to all” (Stevens, p. 8). Muddy's was located at 2557 15th Street. It's later incarnation was at 2100 Curtis. Place a hold on Muddy’s Chronicles. Search our Western History Subject Index for old newspaper articles about Muddy’s Cafe. Or come into the Western History and Genealogy Department to read our copy of Muddy’s Chronicles and to see other books about important restaurants, hotels, and businesses of Denver and the West.

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