In 1983, Brother’s manager Dave Le Compte was downstairs counting the previous days receipts. It was early in the morning and he was alone in the building. He startled to a loud booming noise followed by the building shaking and then settling. He ran upstairs; the bar area was dark, except for the light coming in around the enormous grill of the car that had just been propelled through the front door.
The sole occupant of the car, a woman, was trapped inside, wedged between the door jam and the post. The intersection at that time did not have a light; she had been traveling down 15th and had been hit from the side by a car heading south, sending her into Brother’s. The fire department was called and used the Jaws of Life to get her out. Conscious but badly bruised she was taken to the hospital and the car was removed and towed away.
That morning Brother’s opened on time, with a makeshift door put in place and stories to tell. Word eventually came that the woman in the car was going to be okay; she had been treated and released. Owner Jim Karagas sent her a gift card so that she and her husband could return another time.
Weeks before the accident a new front door had been installed. Long-time regular and woodworker Bob Clesen had been commissioned to create a solid mahogany door and entrance. Only days old, in seconds the whole thing had been turned into splinters.
The 15th street façade of the 1983 Brother’s was brick with narrow high windows on the north. This is the template that many a dark bar has used over the years, allowing a little light in and still offering privacy for those inside. After the accident they took the opportunity to remodel the front by installing large windows that help define the bar as it is today.
My Brother’s Bar, located at 2376 15th Street in Denver, celebrates its 39th birthday in January of 2009.
– Story by Dave Le Compte, reported by buckfifty