Do you have a hostel named after yourself? Didn’t think so. But Chad Fish does! And that’s why he’s on the show!
Chad is the owner of Hostel Fish, a place described as “a classy joint for travelers in downtown Denver.” Built in a former brothel that’s walking distance from some of Denver’s best nightlife, Hostel Fish not only has a ton of character, but it’s changing the game for hostels in the U.S.
I met up with Chad the day after they threw their 2-year anniversary party, resulting in the first ever “Hangover Edition” of the Pubcast. Throughout our Bloody Mary-fueled conversation, Chad gives a crash-course in hosteling in North America, the Denver food & drink scene, and of course how marijuana legalization is impacting travel and tourism in Colorado. For an episode with such a diverse set of topics, Chad also brings his own wild stories of travel, entrepreneurship, and hostel life that are sure to cure any hangover.
Hostel Fish – Denver, CO
If you are wondering why we recorded this episode in a hostel, it’s because this hostel also has its own bar! “The Exchange Rate” as they call it serves up guests and visitors alike during regular bar hours, including some Denver-famous craft brews like Great Divide and Oskar Blues.
On the other hand, if you’re wondering about the hostel itself, the Hostel Fish staff describes it as “a fun, safe, spotless, high-end joint this is Classy as F…(ish!)”…my god could these puns get any better!? But seriously, for a great price, you can choose between a variety of private or shared rooms with comfy beds, lockers, plenty of outlets, new globetrotting friends, and neo-urban character.
- Through Chad’s own travels around the world, he noticed the U.S. was lacking a hostel environment similar to Europe. He started Hostel Fish as an “upscale hostel” to start changing the perception around hostelling in the United States.
- Hostel Fish is located in a 126-year-old Victorian building in downtown Denver. Chad gives us a rundown of the colorful history of the building, and how the space caters to travelers of all types.
- We talk Denver nightlife. Hostel Fish is just a couple block from Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies), Larimer Street’s 15+ bars, and is located above Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox live music venue.
- Hostel Fish hosts bar crawls on Tuesdays and “brewery walks” on Thursdays. Destinations include Zanzibar (free pool), The Gin Mill, Herb’s (live music every night of the week with a killer house band), Giggling Grizzly, The Retro Room, Larimer Beer Hall (new), and Great Divide Brewery.
- After talking about Denver nightlife, we get into the only natural next topic after that: legalized weed.
- Chad shares a story about one of his craziest hostel experiences before we jump into the break.
- As for Chad’s own drinking story, things get crazy in “sinful” Berlin when you mix folks from Uruguay, Canada, England, and the U.S. and explore the city’ well-hidden bars.
- We discuss the evolving Colorado marijuana laws…and current loopholes.
- “Don’t give up…almost anything in the world can be done if you just refuse to see it as a road block and see it as just a speed bump.” –Chad Fish, referring to how he overcame rejection from 33 banks and 6 credit unions when trying to get financing for Hostel Fish.
- Hostel Fish is looking for another city for future expansion.
- Chad gives us an epic list of Denver restaurants to check out. Make sure to check out that section below.
Drinks of the Show:
- Bloody Mary – The only appropriate way to start off the first ever AM edition of Pubcast Worldwide. While Chad is not a bartender by trade, he whipped us out some awesome Grey Goose and Zing Zang bloodys to kick off this episode.
- Great Divide Titan IPA – My choice for Round 2. Go big or go home when you start drinking in the morning. This well-known Denver craft brewery is right down the street from Hostel Fish.
- Great Divide Denver Pale Ale – Great beer, and an even better can design.
Chad’s Favorite Spots in Denver:
- Museum of Contemporary Art – Otherwise known as MCA Denver. Your hostel key card will get you a $5 ticket to this awesome museum. Complete with a rooftop bar.
- Forest Room 5 – “Forest room 5 is the gem of this great, free, and independent empire this side of our continent.” –Thomas Jefferson…I don’t know where they got that, but seriously, I also love this backwoodsy-themed bar in the Denver Highlands.
- El Five – One of Denver restauranteur Justin Cucci’s many establishments, this Highlands’ tapas joint has some of the best views of the mountains and downtown all at once. Justin also owns one of my personal favorites – Linger – which is in the same neighborhood and housed in an old mortuary.
- Root Down DIA – One more Justin Cucci destination for good measure! My favorite restaurants usually aren’t located inside of airports, but Root Down DIA is the exception to the rule. Located in Denver International Airport’s Terminal C (the Southwest terminal), Chad shares an important travel hack about this spot: you can buy a bottle of wine, get it corked, and bring it with you on your flight!
- Little Man Ice Cream – Chad’s partner Paul owns this Highlands-area ice cream shop. Their salted Oreo ice cream is legit…
Resources for When You’re Sober:
- Loopr – Based on the current loophole in the Denver marijuana laws that don’t exclude buses from being “private property,” Loopr is basically a party bus for weed that runs a route past some of Denver’s top destinations (including Hostel Fish). Check out their website to book a pass and see route schedules.
Connect / Drink with Chad / at Hostel Fish:
Visit Hostel Fish:
Hostel Fish is located at 1217 20th St, Denver, CO 80202. Reception is open 24/7. The Exchange Rate bar closes at 2am.
“The Worst Hangover Ever” by The Offspring. You know who they are. Check them out at offspring.com.