Best rock club - 2000
15th Street Tavern
It's sometimes difficult to see the stage at the 15th Street Tavern, a teeny club on the semi-seedy side of LoDo, especially if you've made the mistake of showing up late on a Saturday night when the faithful crowd the floor and a thirsty, critical mass wraps three-deep around the curved bar. From a sight-line perspective, promoter Scott Campbell's knack for bringing in raucous, rugged and righteous touring and local acts is a complication; from a musical one, however, it's a gift. The Tavern ain't pretty -- expect some coagulated goo on the floor and an aroma reminiscent of the smoking lounge at the Vegas airport. Instead, the club's beauty lies in the fact that it provides a chance to see up-and-coming bands like the Forty-Fives, the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and Sweep the Leg Johnny in an intimate setting, usually for under ten bucks. Cheap drinks (made even cheaper by checking the ever-revolving code phrase posted weekly on www.15thstreettavern.com) sweeten the deal. Though it's not recommended for the meek, the Tavern is the kind of place that reminds us of rock and roll's gritty power. Just don't forget your earplugs.
Readers' choice: Herman's Hideaway