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



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.

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).

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. 

I remember YOU ! Muddy's was a great hang out. We loved to chill, drink our coffee, talk with friends, meet people and listen to great live music. It was a creative haven. When did it close?

Hi James. Interesting riddle! I couldn't remember exactly when Muddy's closed, so delved into business directories and the Denver Post. I found Muddy's listed in directories in 1998, but not in 1999. Knowing directories can take a little time to show updates, I turned to the Denver Post, where I was surprised not to find stories about the closure. I *did* find a listing for a City Treasurer's sale of Muddy's property, to recover back taxes due for 1996 and 1997. That sale listing was for July 1997. So I think we can assume 1997 was the closure year. 

I vaguely remember Muddy's closing and reopening maybe twice? i remember they remodeled in the mid 90's sometime and it took a while (they were closed during this period), they changed the interior colors which were dominated by warm reds and browns to cool dark greens. I remember my friends and I were turned off by the coldness of the new interior and we stopped going. Loved the place in the early 90's when it was red and cluttered inside.

Hi Blondy. As an adult at the time, I'm guessing you were out at different days and times than the high school crowd would've been. We were pretty thick on the ground, but (most) of us had to be home to our parents at a certain hour, too.

I'm not sure how angst ridden I was, but my friends and I went there too. I remember that before I visited for the first time, my dad had to explain to me what a coffee shop was. I didn't quite get it until I went there. It was a fun place to hang out, play cards and feel cool.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.