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Left on Lincoln/Sutra Room

As Donkey Den, this space got kicked in the ass but Charles Trujillo has big plans.

By eponym alone, Left on Lincoln makes sense only if you're coming from a higher-income bracket -- that is, the west or even the southwest (aka the 'burbs). The bar just opened in the former Donkey Den bar/patio space in the building at 1109 Lincoln that also now houses the Sutra Room, and owner Charles Trujillo has no qualms about mentioning the size of his patrons' wallets. "We're going for a relatively upscale younger group," he tells Club Scout, "people from the ages of 21 to 45, who go out every weekend and like to spend money and have disposable incomes."

Disposa-wha? Club Scout will have to look that one up later.

Trujillo has big plans for the troubled address in the heart of the Golden Triangle, where Regas Christou commands much of the nightclub landscape. Trujillo met Paul Piciocchi, owner of Tryst, while he was working at the Front Porch, Tryst's next-door neighbor on 15th Street, and they acquired the space last fall. They subsequently split it into two distinct venues, allotting the old dining room area to the Sutra Room and the other half to Left on Lincoln. LOL (which, OMG, BTW) is like the college-educated older brother to Sutra's sexpot baby sister -- but without any weird incestuous implications.

The Sutra Room was designed as "the ultimate dance club," Trujillo says. "Really, what we've done is taken ideas from clubs that we enjoy, like Body English in Vegas and Tantra in South Beach. We're really just trying to fill a niche. We're just trying to complement the area with something different.

"We're not competing with Regas or DC-10 whatsoever," he adds, "primarily because of the type of audience that we are targeting, plus the type of music that we play here. Regas showcases big DJs, and his whole musical genre is in electronica. We play very little electronica here. I think we're really the only ones in this area who are playing mashed-up hip-hop, rock and roll and house music."

LOL, on the other hand, was intended as the quintessential after-work hangout -- not unlike the Front Porch, one of Denver's most successful venues. It's an intimate, if a little bare, one-room bar furnished with a handful of stools and an oversized communal table that forces conversations/eavesdropping between strangers.

"The critical key to success for any place in the nightlife industry," Trujillo explains, "is to have a great staff and, obviously, have good owners and good management."

While that's not exactly the "hang in there" cat tagline, Trujillo's words do echo the cookie-cutter wisdom of a popular poster. Scout can't go a week without hearing "There's no 'I' in Team'" dittoed a few times over by optimistic go-getters.

"If you have those things dialed in," Trujillo acknowledges with a laugh, "it's difficult for a place to fail in Denver, you know? It's usually when you do those things wrong that it doesn't work out. So places like Donkey Den -- and I could name a handful of those places that were mismanaged -- are no longer around."

But you know what they say: One man's mismanagement is another man's totally sweet investment.

Scout report: Danceotron, which bills itself as "Denver's No Bullshit Dance Party," is on the move, temporarily decamping its hi-dive digs for the all-ages domain of the Marquis Theater on March 3. If that one-off social experiment works well, then danceolady Sara Thurston (better known as DJ Sara T) plans to host more in the future. "It's not for my benefit monetarily," she says, "but there's a void locally of all-ages stuff for dancing. There's all-ages shows, but there's really no all-ages party. The last one was Rock Island, and that's gone. "I like the enthusiasm of younger kids," she continues. "I like people who are enthusiastic and not jaded. I feel like in a sense it's a healthy way for them to see an older crowd that's not, like, full of shit. Danceotron is not about that. It's about dancing."

 
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