Denver Coffee House Menus: Paris on the Platte, Muddy’s and the Mercury Cafe


I always loved Market Street Cafe on Larimer. We used to go there on cold winter nights, after walking 16th street or Writers square. Once on our way there, it started to snow. We turned a corner and there was a huge semi truck parked in the middle of the street and men were unloading a full sized tyrannosaurus rex. It was memorizing. The snow, the brick sidewalks, the dinosaur. I'll never forget that night.

Hi Amanda. Thanks for sharing your lovely reminiscences. What an odd event with the T-Rex! I wonder the background on that one. And of course, the Market was/is a great place. I'm thankful we still have it.

Cafe Netherworld on 13th took up some of the burden of these places (which I loved!)

I think it would be worth a good piece all on it's own.

Hi Ryan, thanks for the suggestion! A quick search through our various catalogs and indexes indicates that we don't have a Cafe Netherworld menu in the collection. We do, however, have some files in manuscript collections (including the Tom Hallewell Papers) that reference it. You never know what you'll find!

In reply to by Laura Ruttum S…

try cafe nepenthes.. i remember it.. also go back still farther.. sign of the zodiac.. in the gritty part of cap hill. like in the late 60's.... what a blast.

In reply to by mary (not verified)

Hi Mary. You'll be pleased to know we've got a menu for Cafe Nepenthes as well! 

I went to Muddy's and the Mercury Cafe for food and jazz music in late 80s and early 90s. I was in my late 30s and early 40s back then. I don't recall seeing one teenager - angst-ridden or not - in either place back then.

In reply to by Blondy Van Weirden (not verified)

Having been one of those teenagers, I can tell you there were a lot of us.

In reply to by Daniel Dvorkin (not verified)

I was also one of those homeless teenagers. My "crew" of biker jacket clad, Doc Marten or engineer boot wearing, shaved head with mohawks or other edgy haircuts was made up of up to 18 or 20 of us. We were there to have a safe place while gangs were scary bad to be from 6pm-4am every night. I'm surprised someone wouldn't have noticed us as we were the table hopping free meal for work after closing teenagers who made that place our home. How lucky we were to have each other and this amazing place to bring tears to my eyes because homeless, these were the best years of my life. The only part I questioned were the references to Nirvana and other bands that if they were even a sparkle in the eye of history yet or not, were way off our radar. This was the very beginning of industrial music. We were into Skinny Puppy and Christian Death, but it wasn't above us to catch a show at The Merc or drop in to Paris every now and then! Thank you so much for this trip down memory lane. I'm 45 now and it hurts my heart to see my daughter's generation so disconnected due to technology. I hold those years close and have stayed close with those friends (family).

In reply to by Six Mercer (not verified)

Hi Six, it's definitely a trip down memory lane! That was part of the beauty of the coffeehouses, as you note: they welcomed all different teen sub-cultures, and we cross-pollinated and marinated together. I remember being blown away by Nevermind when it first appeared, but I know they weren't everyone's cup of tea (and did eventually come to be a cliche to describe Xers). As a generation at a point in time, we were lucky. 

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