It used to be that gear shops sold gear. Nowadays, Denver’s outdoor outfitters offer much more than that, including weekly jogs, concerts, movie nights, and—every customer’s favorite shopping companion—beer. (Beat that, Amazon.) One might consider those added draws to be not-so-subtle sales ploys. After all, who isn’t more likely to spend some dough after a pint or two? But for active Coloradans, those in-store amenities also present an opportunity to connect with their recreational tribe. And that’s something we’re more than happy to buy into.
In addition to shoes and water bottles, BPRC is packed with running paraphernalia owner Chris Sullivan’s collected in his travels as a flight attendant, including a Track and Field arcade game. Outside the shop, BPRC leads a weekly run club every Thursday at 6:15 p.m. that ends with beers in the store’s backroom bar. Not enough inspiration to hit the trail? Sullivan also presents a speaker series featuring athletes like local ultrarunner Darcy Piceu and movie screenings of sports films such as the 2015 running documentary Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco.
Meier, located in the heart of Denver’s industrial Lincoln Park neighborhood, isn’t so much a ski company as it is a “craft skiery,” according to majority owner Ted Eynon. Customers can sit at the bar and watch through a glass window as ski techs build and press boards. Meier also gives happy hour tours at 5:30 every weeknight and hosts concerts with headliners like British soul/funk band the New Mastersounds. That’s part of the reason Meier doesn’t just draw the Saturday après-ski crowd but also out-of-towners headed to the mountains.
Since 1995, Confluence has been a bastion for Colorado river rats and powder hounds in need of a new paddle or ski tuneup. But this past summer, when relocating the kayak, ski, and bike shop to its present downtown location (on Seventh Street across from the Downtown Aquarium), owner Jonathan Kahn decided to get the beer flowing like the building’s former tenant, Zang Brewing Co. So, come April, you’ll be able to grab a beer at the shop’s bar—all part of Kahn’s plan to build “the coolest outdoor shop that ever existed.”