Best Small Club - 2003
The Lion's Lair might be just a cub in Denver's club kingdom when it comes to size. But in terms of character, it's elephantine. Whether the live music is punk, alt-country or straight-up rock, expect the experience to be intimate. On packed nights, patrons are often within spitting distance of artists on the stage. Local and small touring indies dominate the calendar, but bona fide legends working the small-room circuit sometimes show up, too. Yes, the layout is impractical, the feng shui is way off, and when the place is busy, navigating your way to the bar may require militaristic strategy. And what, exactly, is wrong with that? The beer's cheap, the jukebox is soulful and solid...and you can always ask the bartender to hand you a pair of earplugs.