When Steven Alix moved from San Diego to Denver 17 years ago, he noticed that, despite the city being “such a sports town,” there was something lacking. “I always wished there was a [sports] bar designed specifically around the gay community,” he says. 

After opening X Bar in 2010 and the Squire Lounge in 2013, the idea of a gay space dedicated to all-things sports never left him. He saw the desire for it from friends and people at his other bars, and after looking into it for the past five years and scouting out possible spots, he found the perfect space on Colfax Avenue—only a few blocks away from the Squire. 

Tight End, Denver’s only gay sports bar, opened its doors April 2021. “I wanted it to be a safe space for sports watchers,” Alix says. “I wanted it to be something different from the other bars, so it wasn’t about drag shows or dance floors or things like that. [I wanted it to be] a bar where people could really come and know your name, Cheers-style.”

For Denverites familiar with Alix’s other two businesses, Tight End is totally different. X Bar is a high-energy dance club, complete with drag shows and a giant piano. Squire is a spot to watch live music while you sip on a cold drink. At Tight End, Alix says, it’s “just a place where the games are always on the TV; it’s specifically geared toward sports.”

But, like with the Squire Lounge, Alix works to create a “neighborhood bar feel” for the community. Along with the nine TVs tuned into the Avs and Nuggets, Tight End offers spacious patios and an extensive cocktail and beer menu. If you’re hungry, there’s the End Zone Pizzeria kitchen for bites with tongue-and-cheek names like the Beefcake (a sausage, pepperoni, and bacon pie) and the Morning Wood breakfast pizza. And, of course, there’s bingo with drag queens every Friday night. 

Along with being the go-to spot for all identities, Tight End partners with local gay spots leagues including the Varsity Gay League, Denver Area Softball League, and the Mile-Hi Bullseye Dart League. “We offer $2 off any drink, anytime, when someone is wearing their local league sportswear, and [we] get creative with all the leagues we sponsor to truly create a partnership,” Alix says. 

Now, 10 months after opening, the bar is ready for the biggest day in sports: the Super Bowl. Alix is planning for a bash—heating the patios; offering free shots from their drink menu with every touchdown and specials on pizza; and hosting a Super Bowl squares event, where participants have the chance to win cash every quarter.

“The space is really cool and it has been everything that I wanted it to be,” he says. “People come for the games, people come for the neighborhood bar … What am I the most proud of is surviving COVID. We opened a new bar in COVID and it’s still doing alright.”

Tight End is open Monday–Friday 3 p.m.–2 a.m. and Saturday–Sunday 12 p.m.–2 a.m.; 1501 E. Colfax Ave. (Super Bowl celebrations begin at 4:30; space is first-come, first-serve) 

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