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Traveling In Style : Correspondents' Choice : Where They Lingered

October 16, 1994| Louis Sahagun | Denver bureau

Even the famous have to rest their feet sometimes. Five Times correspondents from around the world reveal the favorite rest-stops, loitering places and relaxing haunts of celebrities of an earlier time.

BUCKHORN EXCHANGE, Denver

From the overstuffed Victorian chairs and settees of Denver's Buckhorn Exchange saloon, it's easy to imagine late owner and hunting guide Henry H. "Shorty Scout" Zietz blustering in, lugging a six-point buck elk with his pal President Theodore Roosevelt. After days of reconnoitering the Rocky Mountains for big game, Zietz and Roosevelt, who visited on several occasions between 1903 and 1905, would return to this working-class bar and dining emporium to hoist a few and feast on the wild game that has made the Buckhorn famous for most of its 101 years.

Every nook and cranny of this two-story frontiersman establishment is covered with trophies of days gone by. There are moose, geese, badger, wolverine, antelope, bear, buffalo, even a granddaddy rattlesnake and a two-headed calf. Sprinkled among them are examples of the kinds of guns that brought them down--from flintlock rifles to Winchesters to Civil War-era smooth bores.

The Buckhorn may not have been the first saloon in this high plains territory, but it bears the distinction of being granted the first liquor license in Colorado after the repeal of Prohibition. Started by Zietz in 1893, the watering hole was renovated in 1978 by new owners, who shampooed the stuffed animals and re-blackened their noses. Much remains as it was when Roosevelt and such other famous guests as J. Edgar Hoover, Will Rogers and Dwight D. Eisenhower stepped in to drink up the Old West atmosphere and sample menu specialities such as steak, elk, pheasant, buffalo prime rib and sliced Rocky Mountain oysters with horseradish dipping sauce. In step with tradition, the bar crowd is entertained by house musician Roz Brown, who strums an autoharp and croons old favorites such as "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold" and, of course, "Springtime in the Rockies."

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