In today’s world, it’s something that we all like to think doesn’t need to be said, but one 20-year-old punk rock bar on East Colfax Avenue is still making it abundantly clear: It won’t tolerate Nazis.
This is aimed at addressing what new Streets of London owner John Elliott said were rumors that it was a “Nazi bar.” This stemmed, he said, from a confrontation involving a group of neo-Nazis that were living on nearby Ogden Street three or four years ago.
“Somehow this translated into this weird idea this is some sort of right wing, facist ‘haven’ on Colfax,” Elliott said. “We wanted to address the rumor head-on.”
Elliott said he and a business partner took ownership of the Streets of London at the beginning of November. On Nov. 8, the bar published on a post on Facebook clarifying that it welcomes everyone. Or, more accurately, almost everyone.
“Everybody who isn’t about hate, racism or bigotry, that is,” the Facebook post reads.
Elliott and his team are working on re-branding the bar to just “Streets.” They’re also upgrading the stage and adding more taps, plus a drink menu so customers can get more than “just a beer and a shot." There's also that thing about re-branding the overall perception of what it's about.
Elliott’s not new to the Denver restaurant business. He also owns the Southside Bar & Kitchen just up the street, and said taking over Streets of London was a no-brainer.
“It was kind of a natural fit when this sort of came to pass and it came up for sale,” Elliott said.
But, he said the bar did come with a reputation for more than just its live music, and one of his bartenders even told him that when he was first hired there a year ago, he had friends say, ‘I can’t believe you’re going to a Nazi bar.”
To make it clear that this isn’t the case, Elliott has a sign right over the bar's doors that make it clear everyone is welcome … with one major exception.
“Don’t show up here patched up or tattooed up with white supremacist or neo-Nazi imagery,” Elliott said. “Certainly don’t pull any activities or actions that are going to be related to that.
“They’re going to get thrown out as any bar would or should.”
And Elliott address concerns that this can also be perceived as intolerant head-on.
“What we are free of, or what we work to be free of, is racism, bigotry, misogyny and prejudice,” he said. “People are gonna say, ‘Well are you racist against Nazis?’ Yeah!”
Elliott said Streets will continue to remain a Colfax dive bar, which goes against the grain of what he calls “new Denver.”
“Colfax is real, and it’s gritty, and it’s fun and it’s interesting and super diverse, and that’s something we want to honor and respect and be a part of,” he said.