Hamburger Mary’s is back, just down the street from its ghost

A wall of found vintage sports images in varied frames at Hamburger Mary's on Humboldt and 17th. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)hamburger marys; food; restaurant; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite
A chandelier inside Hamburger Mary's on Humboldt and 17th. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) hamburger marys; food; restaurant; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite
A chandelier inside Hamburger Mary’s on 17th Avenue and Humboldt Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Here’s the story of a stupid mistake and a surreal experience.

Early Thursday afternoon, it came to my attention that Hamburger Mary’s was back.

The thing is, it never totally felt like Mary’s went away. When the restaurant at 17th Avenue and Washington Street lost its franchise late last year and became M Uptown, not much changed except the signs outside. The zebra-striped patio bar stayed striped, drag bingo carried on and the TVs kept playing the best music videos of yesterday and today.

Still, when it was announced that five friends were going to bring the Mary’s franchise back — and make it something of a much-needed gay sports bar — it was exciting. So exciting that I failed to notice it wasn’t returning to the same location.

And that’s why I showed up at 700 E. 17th Ave. last night.

Of course, when I got there, it was still M Uptown. Confused, I sat down and ordered a drink and a (pretty great) steak salad. A quick Google search let me know I was an idiot. The new Hamburger Mary’s is seven blocks east.

Hamburger Mary's on Humboldt and 17th. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) hamburger marys; food; restaurant; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite
Hamburger Mary’s on 17th Avenue and Humboldt Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

So, once I finished there, it was over to the former BSide spot at the corner of Humboldt Street. There, a Hamburger Mary statue was winking at me when I walked through the front door and football was on every TV. A very friendly host gave me the tour: a main dining room and bar, a “chandelier room” with a couch and — you guessed it — a big chandelier, an overflow dining room, a front patio and a back patio to come later. It’s vibrant, a little sparkly and, well, not all that different from the old Mary’s just down the street. Awkward!

TL;DR: The main difference between M Uptown and Hamburger Mary’s is that Mary’s is showing sports on the TVs instead of music videos. The menus aren’t even wildly different (M Uptown is still burger-heavy). You can keep calling it M Uptown — you have to, really — but Denver is essentially a two-Hamburger Mary’s town now.

The new Mary’s had its soft open about a week back, and the host told me the grand opening would happen sometime soon.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.