I did make it down to check out the Buck Wild Saloon on Tuesday night, but best people-watching of the evening wasn’t at the cowboy bar at all. In fact, it was pretty much the polar opposite. Who needs soap operas or TV dramas, when we have Cherry Creek?

You see, I was planning to head down to the Pavilions, meet up with one of my girlfriends, and check out the new club. But right as I was looking for parking downtown, I got the dreaded phone call. One thing you learn about those of us who head out for the evening at 10 p.m. is that most of us night owls are incredibly wishy washy. We flake. We bail. We get sidetracked. Sometimes, we simply fall asleep. Last night my gal pal pooped out, flaked out, bailed, and went home to crash, right as I was walking into the saloon. Hmmph.

Now I’m fine with scouting out a bar by myself, for the most part. But the scene at Buck Wild just isn’t my thing. If you’re looking for a spot to rock your killer cowboy shirt, boot-scoot around the dance floor, or flash those Daisy Dukes, this is the place to go. (It’s also okay to show up in shorts, flip flops, and baseball caps, so don’t feel obligated to go all Nashville, just fyi.) I did the loop, took in the sights at the NASCAR bar, the Big Rig bar, and the Daisy Duke bar — dig the denim-gingham-and-straw-hat look, ladies — and boot-scooted my Daisy Duke right back out the door.

After I made my escape I faced a new dilemma. All dressed up, no place to go. I had left the house at 10 p.m., and completed my mission by 10:30. Going straight back home seemed like a waste of shampoo and mascara, so I did the only practical thing: I started dialing. Soon I found an enclave of friends sipping wine in Cherry Creek, and off I went in hot pursuit.

I should note here that Cherry Creek at 10:30 in the evening begins to resemble a very clique-ish high school scene. We’re talking personal dramas, silly shenanigans, and plenty of girls-chasing-boys-chasing-girls hookups, all done while perching at trendy restaurants in stylish attire. When I arrived at Sketch, one of my guy friends was happily chowing a cheeseburger, surrounded by three women at the bar. Two of them were trying to talk him into heading over to Brix, where a luau birthday bash was taking place among the potted palms on the new patio. He declined. They pouted and left, swiping his car keys as collateral for later. He eventually got surly enough to go retrieve them (after numerous phone calls, text messages, and a few choice phrases). I’m guessing his sour mood was not the girls’ hoped-for reaction.

Soon we migrated outside to the also-new patio at Sketch, a great little space with a scattering of umbrella-covered tables, flowering plants, and hurricane lanterns that will certainly become one of my regular stops this summer. Another friend showed up from Brix, this time in a tizzy over a fight with her beau that apparently involved tossed wine glasses, inappropriate flirting, and more key-swiping (this gal took the boyfriend’s house keys so he couldn’t come home.) These are the nights that you look around and realize that no matter how trendy, stylish, or successful the crowd may appear, they’re all still dealing with the same age-old issues. I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I left in a very pleasant mood. Sometimes it’s a perfectly good guilty pleasure to sit back, sip wine on a summer patio, and realize that other people’s daily lives are a lot crazier than your own.