For about four hours Saturday, the northeast corner of Folsom Street and Arapahoe Avenue might have passed for a slice of Buenos Aires.
Dozens of Argentines, waving flags and clad in baby blue and white jerseys, flooded the tiny Boulder restaurant Rincon Argentino to cheer on their side in the World Cup Final against Germany.
They munched empanadas in the hundreds, cursed the referees in Spanish and went nuts every time Univision cameras caught superstar Lionel Messi.
"This is a really great place," Argentine-American Luis Trejo said of Rincon, which opened two years ago. "Before, we'd just have to watch in our own homes. It's really brought us together as a country, as a family.
"It's so important to have a place like this for us," said Rincon's owner, Argentina native Christian Saber. "To see your national team, it's amazing. It's emotional. It's not just to come and have some empanadas and watch soccer. It's to talk your language, to meet new people that live in the same place that you didn't even know before. I love that.
The jubilation began well before game time, and lasted 113 minutes - until Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle, the first two players born in a unified Germany to suit up for the country, combined on an extra-time goal to seal the 1-0 victory.
"I'm very sad. Very, very sad," said Boulder's Paul Garcia, originally from Patagonia. "I want to cry. I won't cry. I'm crying inside.
"In Argentina, it's everything. The national team, for us, is everything."
Boulder's Patrick Russell, whose wife, Alejandra, moved to the U.S. 14 years ago from Buenos Aires, said the passion for soccer visible at Rincon simply doesn't exist in this country.
"This is life for them," he said. "It's embedded in their culture. Americans, we have so many games. It's good to see we're getting more interested, but it's not the same."
"We feel something that I can't explain," said William Ledesma of Buenos Aires.
And, thanks to Rincon, local Argentines finally have an outlet for that passion.
"We are so far away from our country, so we meet together and demonstrate our love," Alejandra Russell said.
Of course, the crowd at Rincon Sunday was hoping for a different result. But, they said, Argentina's national team gave its supporters a hell of a run.
"It's been amazing," Saber said. "Everything that's been happening inside this restaurant since we started this World Cup has just been good moments, We are going to remember it forever."
But while Rincon's owner is proud of the scene he's built in the restaurant, his mind remains a bit preoccupied.
"I'm just thinking about the goals we didn't get," he said. "Not the number of empanadas we sold.
"But," Saber added with a slight smile, " we did sell a lot of them."Contact Camera Staff Writer Alex Burness at 303-473-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/alex_burness