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



Thanks for this trip down memory lane. I was a denizen of the original Muddy's, its second incarnation, Paris on the Platte, and the Mercury Cafe, which I still enjoy for its food and entertainment. I'm so glad the Mercury is still doing its thing. It's been amazing to see this city change. I'm thankful for the space that these establishments provided for us youth to spend time in. Much like the library, they served the function of "third space" for youth, troubled or not, to congregate. I believe that to some extent the altruistic manner in which the owners of Muddy's in particular tried to give homeless youth this space ultimately led to its demise as it was not economically sustainable.

Hi Mike. Interestingly, in "Muddy's Chronicles," Bill Stevens mentions they initially sent teens over to Paris, until they realized how much money they were turning away. And I agree: having a third space is just as important for youth as for anyone, if not more so!

Hi Mike. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree that the cafes served as our nighttime third space, similar to libraries, as you've astutely noted. I'm sad to have lost the former, and so grateful we still have the latter.

Bill Stevens mentioned in his book "Muddy's Chronicles" that they initially sent a fair number of the high school customers over to Paris. Eventually, they realized they were sending money out the door. I'd hate to think feeding homeless kids would've been the demise of the cafe, but am glad someone was willing to make that difference.


Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I spent many a night in Paris on the Platte from the late nineties to early 2000s. I'm still sad that it's gone. You took me back to the smell of clove cigarettes and a shared pot of coffee for the table.


Muddy's was a favorite of mine in its later years - the Mortal Kombat arcade machine in the pool room always competed for my attention during the 12-step meeting that happened there. Paris was great for browsing used books late at night and while I only visited the Merc a handful of times, I'll never forget the Milla Jovovich concert upstairs in 1994 or so.

Another favorite late night haunt was The White Spot on Broadway. We'd go there after a midnight AA meeting and fuel up on coffee until they kicked us out...

White Spot was awesome, thanks for reminding me, also it made me remember the "Breakfast King" both places felt straight out of a Tom Waits song. After all the other places closed you had those two.


I am a native of Denver for 64 years. I remember the Old Mercury Cafe
I also remember the Zodiac, and the Golden Apple, these were a little before the generation X kids. I wish you would do some history on the
flower children of Denver and Boulder in the late 60s and the 70's. I remember hanging out with the hippies in Civic Center Park. We would hang out and drink Red Mountain Wine and smoke our weed. We also hung out on 16th street in front of the old May D&F department store at the zeckendorf plaza ice skating rink. We called it the Wall. Loved watching the kids cruise 16th Street. Every January though, we had to hide. The National Western Stock show would come to town. Long haired hippies were a target for drunken cowboys.


Kudos to the author for perfectly capturing my sentiments around the Denver coffee house scene and its impact on us Gen Z's. I had the privilege of patronizing Muddy's (v2) and POTP, (seeing off the latter on the final day of business.) Her description of a pre-glamorized Denver was spot on. I really like aspects of the "new" Denver, but miss the old version. I'm grateful to have those experiences and memories and pleased to see that I wasn't alone!

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