In 1909, a meat-packing company built the Kenton Hotel at what's now the corner of North Denver Avenue and McClellan Street as an outpost for regional cattle traders. It was converted into apartments and, on the bottom level, the current pub and restaurant.
In its heyday, though, the Kenton Hotel saw a lot of action, the seediest of which took place in the basement. It's normally off-limits to customers. But every third Thursday, around 7:30 pm, groups of in-the-know patrons gather beneath a sign by the restrooms for a free, unadvertised guided tour.
A staff member, usually the owner, leads you down a flight of narrow, dusty stairs to what was once the scene of an underground boxing ring and, during Prohibition, a speakeasy. Guests are free to roam and check out the stairs boxers would traverse down to matches, which now disappear into the ceiling, and the original speakeasy doors.
The space is also allegedly haunted. Electromagnetic-field readers are placed in known "hot spots" in an attempt to contact the spirit of Abby, a former tenant of the hotel who never wanted to leave, as well as an ex-bartender the staff affectionately calls Sam. Current employees tell tales of unidentifiable noises, moving shadows and orbs captured on film.
Whether you believe these tales or not, the creep factor is upped by the dirt floors and cobweb-covered exposed beams and minimal light. Be sure to wear closed shoes, and watch your step. CHRISTINE HEELEY
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