By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
Grizzly Rose: 5450 N. Valley Hwy., 303-295-1330. Country music will never die in Denver as long as the Grizzly Rose remains. Live music six nights a week, concerts by Nashville nationals, free dance lessons on Wednesdays and lots of space on the hardwood floor for honky tonkin' were among the attributes cited by the Country Music Association, which chose the Rose as one of the top clubs in the nation; regulars choose it because it's a local institution.
Hanson's Grill & Tavern:1301 S. Pearl St., 303-744-1052. Live music on Saturdays attracts music fans who might otherwise overlook Hanson's casual charm. Unlike its neighbors -- bustling student-packed places that orbit the University of Denver -- the tavern is a comfortable, pleasant locale where patrons can actually listen to the music and each other. A decent bar menu and drink selection are offered, as well.
Hapa Boulder: 1117 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-473-4730. Done with your sushi? Use your chopsticks to tap out the beat while the DJ spins it. A smart layout enhances the comfortably stylish environment so you won't bump the tables when the sake commands you to shake your booty.
Hapa Cherry Creek: 2780 E. 2nd Ave., 303-322-9554. This Hapa spinoff has been altered to fit the Cherry Creek aesthetic: Black and silver chic artfully permeates the corner spot. Too bad the only place to safely get your dance groove on while the DJs spin is in front of the hostess station.
Hard Rock Cafe: 500 16th St., 303-623-3191. Located on the 16th Street Mall, the Hard Rock Cafe attracts downtown workers, music sentimentalists, and tourists who can't get enough of the London-based chain's trademark T-shirts. With a souvenir shop, full menu and omnipresent displays of rock-and-roll memorabilia -- some of it collected locally during the Fey Concerts days -- about the only thing you won't find at the Cafe is hard rock.
Heartthrob: 10175 E. Hampden Ave., 303-755-3300. Dancers looking for ´70s and ´80s music without all the LoDo fuss can follow a pink neon heart to Heartthrob. A huge yellow peace sign above the entrance suggests the vibe inside this cute building, where huge dance floors host mobs who'd rather pretend the ´90s never happened.
Herb's Hideout: 2057 Larimer St., 303-299-9555. Once described by Stuff magazine as "a dive bar where hot women actually go," Herb's Hideout hosts live jazz, blues and R&B bands some nights, as well as DJs on others, in a wonderfully unpretentious vintage setting. The drinks are strong, the bartenders are friendly, and the music is more for swingin' than settin'. At times overrun with twenty-somethings looking for an alternative to LoDo nightlife, the place is usually stocked with a heterogeneous mix of the hip and unhip.
Herman's Hideaway: 1578 S. Broadway, 303-777-5840. A kind of petri dish for the local-music scene, Herman's Hideaway opens its stage to bands in their gestation period as well as more accomplished acts that draw well on weekend nights. An open room with minimal adornment, Herman's feels a bit like a big basement where young players come together to perform for friends, especially during the weekly New Talent Showcase.
hi-dive/Sputnik: 7 S. Broadway, 720-570-4500. The Grateful Dead posters are gone, but don't expect too many major changes since the hi-dive took over the space most recently occupied by Quixote's. Mixing the prior tenant's smart use of space with an overhauled musical lineup, the dive and partner Sputnik offer a cleaner, comfier version of the old 7 South's punk-club kitsch.
High Street Speakeasy: 3862 High St., 303-298-9333. North Denver's favorite haunt and historical landmark, the High Street Speakeasy is more down-to-earth bar than new-age hotspot, despite its reputation for otherworldly activity. Regular patrons and curious visitors can expect good service, even if they don't see a ghost.
Hornet: 76 Broadway, 303-777-7676. Patrons get a snootfull of music with their drinks on Thursdays at the Hornet, a Broadway installation more yuppified than its quaint and quirky surroundings. Finding a seat may not always be easy, but enjoying the sweet bebop combos is almost guaranteed.
Hush: 1403 Larimer St., 303-623-4874. Hush is a tiny, cover-free subterranean hovel in Larimer Square where Beautiful People and Average Joes converge. It's got enough fluffy furniture to sink into, so those who arrive early have the best seat in the house to see clubbers scratching their heads over the unisexed bathrooms or tripping and tumbling their way through the dark. Don't think of it as stumbling over strangers in a dimly lit room; think of it as flirtatious fun.
Illegal Pete's: 1530 16th St., 303-623-2169. Who put the beat in your burrito? Illegal Pete's did. Which tables get moved to cram the DJs into this glass-fronted LoDo Chipotle-with-a-bar? Better yet, how do you dance without spilling your -- or your neighbor's -- salsa? Follow the smell of fat burritos or the sound of phatter tracks to find out.
Iliff Park Saloon: 2300 S. Chambers Rd., Aurora, 303-696-1404. Recent remodeling projects at the Iliff Park Saloon began with a thorough cleaning, which brightened the Aurora rock bar considerably. So while mullets and big hair are still welcome, they're no longer required. A large bar and a big-screen TV are among other improvements to the hole-in-the-wall room, which is home to many heavy bands.