Clubbing in Denver From Sundown to Sunup

If a city's nightclubs are evidence of its diversity, then Denver's looking pretty good.

My editors asked the question, "Is it possible to club for nine straight hours in Denver?" My answer? "Sure."

Denver's club culture has evolved so much from the days of the LoDo bar explosion. With multiple club districts and plenty of big players in the game, folks out for a good time have a tough decision to make each weekend.

We drew up one possible itinerary just to prove that nine hours of nightclubbing is possible. Our adventures took us all over town, and with a loose definition of the word "clubbing" we came up with a diverse and fun snapshot of post-sunset activity in the Mile High City.

Ricardo Baca
First Published:
June 22nd 2009 at 12:06 a.m.
Last Updated:
July 29th 2009 at 11:42 a.m.

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A. Dazzle Supper Club

Walk into Dazzle pretty much any night of the week around 7 o'clock, and you'll be offered a table for the dinner show. This venerable Denver jazz institution often features multiple shows a night — not to mention one of the finest martinis you'll find in central Denver. It's not uncommon to see folks power through the bar's terrific happy hour and stay for a show — the room is that inviting.

B. Funky Buddha Lounge

This popular super-lounge is an old standby for many, but it's often packed for all the right reasons. The minimalist, candlelit main room is almost as pretty as the people who fill it up. The house music starts early with a DJ in the back room. And the patio — up the somewhat hidden stairs in the back — is one of Denver's best for people-watching, cocktailing and taking in those last few minutes of sunshine.

C. Mercury Cafe

One of Denver's funkiest rooms also offers the city's most diverse entertainment experience. If you want to perfect that jitterbug, see some feminist theater, listen to an open mic, take a tango class, see a documentary, learn to belly dance, dance to blues music into the early morning... then the Merc is your place. Look for tango dances at 9 p.m. Friday — with $5 classes before that at 6:30 (beginner) and 7:30 p.m. (intermediate).

 Open until 11 p.m.

D. Lion's Lair

Each of Denver's storied rock clubs fills its own niche. And the Lion's Lair is the divey East Colfax Avenue punk rock club that has cleaned up its act, moved its stage and welcomed a whole new audience in the past few years. You'll find it all at the Lair — just look at next weekend's bills: indie-centric Pseudo Dates and Somnambulist on Friday and melodic rock band King for a Day's CD release party on April 18.

E. La Rumba

Weekends are hot at this Golden Triangle dance club. Fridays are Lipgloss, the longtime hipster hangout and home to DJs Tyler "Danger" Jacobson and boyhollow (Michael Trundle). The dynamic duo has a way of bringing the people together under an umbrella of indie dance, soul and old Brit pop and punk, and La Rumba's large dance floor is an essential networking space for the hipster set. Saturdays are all about the salsa — with lessons first and then DJs to make you shake what your mama gave you.

F. Herman's Hideaway

Herman's is Colorado's veteran rock club. No other club can claim nearly 27 years of continuous live music — and that's a lot of new music in the form of open mics, benefit shows and sold-out Friday nights. Look at the Herman's calendar and you'll see their mission: live music Wednesday through Saturday. It's where Flobots got their start. It's where Taylor Hicks jammed after playing to a packed Pepsi Center. It's where local heroes (Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Opie Gone Bad) return for small club dates.

G. Beta

The most polished dance club in LoDo, Beta has one of the most creative schedules in Denver. The Noise Fridays are bringing in some of the biggest names in indie dance — including the Rapture, A-Trak, Hercules and Love Affair, and others. And the monthly sub.mission parties are the only place in town to hear internationally known DJs spin the hottest dubstep music this side of New York City. Music evolves quickly, and electronic music grows and diverges faster than most other genres. A mid-size city like Denver needs a place that is willing to take risks on pushing new subgenres. And for now, Beta is the main club filling that role.

H. Baghdad Cafe

If you're ready to call it an "early" night, check out the Baghdad Cafe. (If you're ready to keep going, head to the next offering.) Hookah lounges are where many of the under-21 set spend their late weekend nights, but you'll also see a certain after-bar crowd show up here for a pre-bedtime smoke. The atmosphere is vaguely Middle Eastern, what with the Persian rugs and many pillows that make sitting on the floor a pleasurable experience. They sell energy drinks, cigarettes and, of course, tobacco. The Baghdad Cafe closes at 3 a.m. each day, making it an ideal come-down spot — if you dig the flavored-tobacco/ hookah scene.

I. Two:am

Folks have their complaints about afterhours clubs — the most common being that they're havens for kids on drugs. And they have a point. On some nights, Two:am is full of kids so messed up that their friends have to haul them up the stairs of this basement venue — and, depending on the mental state of their friends, that can be quite the scene. That said, there are also others who are here to sober up (from booze, not illegal drugs) and down three more Red Bulls before driving back to the suburbs. Two:am is open till 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (or, more correctly, Saturday and Sunday mornings). The club rarely sees the big-name talent of its sister clubs Vinyl and The Church, but the DJs here are solid — and admission is always discounted with a stamp from The Church or Vinyl.

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