Saturday, July 12, 2008
Neal Cassady's Denver
At the corner of 15th and Platte streets there's a cafe called Paul's Place, where my brother Jack used to be bartender before he joined the army, because of this I frequented the place occasionally & consequently have a small bill run up. I believe I owe them about 3 or 4 dollars. If you happen to be in that vicinity please drop in & pay it, will you?"
This is the beginning of a letter written by Neal Cassady, the famouse Beat poet dubbed "Dean Moriarty" In Jack Kerouac's classic American novel, On the Road. Cassady wrote this letter to Justin Brierly, and though I'm not sure if Justin ever settled the tab, but during my trip to Denver, I definitely made sure to be in the vicinity of My Brother's Bar. (Hmm.. that name sounds familiar once you read the letter). The letter was found on the wall at the bar and was reprinted with the owner's permission. It was written while Cassady was locked up in the Colorado State Reformatory and copies are now available at the front of the establishment when you walk in.
Neal Cassady was born in Salt Lake City (where we're going tomorrow), but grew up with alcoholic parents in Denver, apparently on Larimer Street, when it was no where near the super trendy LoDo area that it is today. My Brother's Bar is now the oldest watering hole still selling liquor in Denver, and Neal Cassady and his friends Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (who was much more than just a friend) used to hang out there 'til all hours.
The owner of the bar was very friendly and brought me to the back where there is a picture of him next to Neal Cassady's son, John. He visited the bar so he could see where his dad used to hang out.
I definitely recommend My Brother's Bar if you're in the area. They also serve a pretty awesome hamburger (though I only smelled them and didn't eat one) and boast a wooden German beer garden type patio in the back.