By Noah Hubbell
By Leslie Simon
By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
Sobo 151: 151 S. Broadway, 303-778-1560. The owners of Sobo 151 love sports so much that they lined their walls with framed photos of Hall-of-Famers; the well-stocked bar also has multiple TVs to attract fans of Denver's pro teams. DJs perform on Fridays for those who'd rather hear music than watch muscles.
Soiled Dove: 1949 Market St., 303-299-0100. A show-style venue, replete with floodlights at the foot of the stage, the Soiled Dove is a classy counterpart to more rough-and-tumble rock clubs. Though it's a restaurant and bar, music is the focus, as evidenced by the crescent shape of the seating that arcs the stage. Locals showcases are the dominant fare, though nationals sometimes use the room.
Soul: 2040 Larimer St., 303-292-3921. Dropping into Sanctuary/Butterfly's old digs, Soul has revamped its belly into two distinctive rooms with swanky VIP quarters wedged in between. One side is a candle-lit, tan-and-chocolate-colored cabana of carved wood furniture, plastic palm trees and fabric-swathed light fixtures; on the other side, a long metallic bar anchors the dance floor, where the hip-pop-soul-funk vibe is in full effect.
South Park Tavern: 60 S. Broadway, 303-777-4200. Formerly 60 South, the once brightly burning gay-bar flames have been extinguished in favor of a broader sports-bar appeal. Packed with pool tables, air hockey, pinball and a well-stocked jukebox, this neighborhood pub is all about making the customer happy -- especially with its liberal happy hours presented three times a day.
Sports Column: 1930 Blake St., 303-296-1930. A block south of Coors Field, this megalith of a LoDo sports bar transforms into a bustling meat market of a nightclub after dark. Within the Sports Column's memorabilia-plastered walls, there's an armada of television sets, pool tables and arcade games, plus a good menu and a dance floor; in the summer, the place offers a full-service rooftop patio.
Starlight: 167 N. College Ave., Fort Collins, 1-970-484-4974. The Starlight oozes personality, from its bare concrete floors to its seating: Legend holds that the "Ween Was Here" graffiti on one of the beat-up, red-leatherette booths was tagged by Dean and Gene themselves. The prototypical punk venue hosts touring indie, garage, metal and emo bands, as well as locals.
Stella's Coffeehouse:1476 S. Pearl St., 303-777-1031. Arguably Denver's most beloved gathering place, Stella's is a funky, good-smelling second home to intellectuals, writers, chess players and University of Denver students who live in the neighborhood. Acoustic musicians fill the cafe's many rooms several times a week, while open-mike events draw all kinds of artists.
Streets of London Pub: 1501 E. Colfax Ave., 303-861-9103. The Union Jack flies proudly in the hearts of Streets of London regulars, an Anglophilic bunch of punks, mod fashionistas, Vespa riders and neighborhood subjects. A British pub that thankfully doesn't serve warm beer, Streets has all of the requisite Old World flair, from pulled pints to posters of the Queen.
Supreme Court: 1550 Court Pl., 303-892-6878. Downtown disco divas can dance to DJs during the week on the roomy floors of the Supreme Court; but on weekends, local bands take the stage, playing jazz, rock, originals and covers -- anything to keep the party pumping.
Surfside 7: 150 N. College Ave., Fort Collins, 1-970-221-4281. Though the Hawaii Five-0 surf motif is mercilessly flogged here -- with surfboards festooned with pictures and a tiki-hut bar -- Surfside 7 offers some of the hippest rock and punk music this side of 1979. The place is tightly packed and loud, with friendly punks spilling out of the booths at all hours.
Swallow Hill:71 E. Yale Ave., 303-777-1003. Swallow Hill is aimed at musical multi-taskers, as many area players play, teach and even eat here. A school and concert venue that presents local and touring folk, roots and bluegrass artists, it also features an art exhibition area and a small cafe for after-show fortification.
Swan Restaurant: 200 Inverness Dr. W., Englewood, 303-799-5800. At the Inverness Hotel's Swan Restaurant, an intimate atmosphere, white tablecloths and award-winning Continental cuisine are served with a side of classical guitar. The ambience isn't cheap, so don't forget your credit card.
Sweet Rockin' Coffee: 414 E. 20th St., 303-318-9788. The collection of vintage posters displayed in this cubbyhole cafe are for sale, so patrons can ponder a purchase while a variety of local bands prove the Rockin' really is Sweet.
Tarantula Billiards: 1456 Champa St., 720-932-6666: The arachnid-themed tag team of Tarantula, with billiards upstairs during daylight hours, and Black Widow, with club DJs downstairs, late and later on select nights, offers urban underground style without the usual LoDo hype. Both venues lure their victims with top-shelf electronic music.
Teddy's:4849 Bannock St., 303-292-9500. Pink neon lines the windows in this rough and rowdy bar, the better to distinguish it from the Holiday Inn it shares space with. Drawing a cowboy-culture crowd, Teddy's has a wide dance floor for hoofing the "Boot-Scoot Boogie" or whatever else the DJ may throw in.
Terrace Maya:4929 N. Broadway, Boulder, 303-443-9336. A local hangout in north Boulder, Terrace Maya is first and foremost a Mexican restaurant, with huge, spicy combo plates and tangy margaritas. As a live-music venue on Fridays, the design is not the best, but the atmosphere is friendly and unpretentious.