The Ten Best Blues Venues in Denver

El Chapultepec is one of the oldest jazz and blues bars in Denver.
El Chapultepec is one of the oldest jazz and blues bars in Denver.
El Chapultepec

Face it: Denver is no Memphis. It's just not a blues town. But if you look around, you can find bars, restaurants, pool halls and more that host regular blues jams and showcase touring and local artists that are as good as anyone playing in the South. Here are ten of our favorite places to hear the blues.

The music plays on at El Chapultepec.EXPAND
The music plays on at El Chapultepec.
Justin Criado

El Chapultepec
1962 Market Street
Opened in 1933, the Mexican-restaurant-turned-venue is one of Denver’s oldest jazz bars, hosting its fair share of blues players on its quaint stage. The bar's menu includes authentic Mexican fare. If you really want to hate yourself, try the El Chapultepec shot, an elixir of green tequila complete with a candied cricket.

The stage at the Rusty Bucket.EXPAND
The stage at the Rusty Bucket.
Justin Criado

The Rusty Bucket
3355 South Wadsworth Boulevard, Lakewood

Tucked inside a shopping complex next to a Subway restaurant is the Rusty Bucket, a Pittsburgh-themed blues bar. The decorations are all black and gold, though you can find some Colorado Rockies and Denver Broncos logos sprinkled in there, too. The stage in the space’s rear hosts local blues acts, including the Wednesday night Big Blues Jam.

Herb's has it all.EXPAND
Herb's has it all.
Justin Criado

Herb’s
2057 Larimer Street

Herb’s doesn’t discriminate musically: The downtown dive bar showcases it all, including blues, funk, reggae and punk. Like El Chapultepec, Herb’s opened in 1933, welcoming jazz and blues musicians of all stripes. Beat author and jazz fanatic Jack Kerouac is said to have frequented Herb’s.

Lincoln's Roadhouse is more than meets the eye.EXPAND
Lincoln's Roadhouse is more than meets the eye.
Justin Criado

Lincoln’s Roadhouse
1201 South Pearl Street

A friendly New Orleans-themed biker bar, Lincoln’s Roadhouse hosts blues musicians as regularly as any place in town. An Eric Clapton Crossroads poster is situated next to the corner stage, in case performers need some extra motivation. 

The stage at Ziggies.EXPAND
The stage at Ziggies.
Ziggies

Ziggies
4923 West 38th Avenue

This sixty-year-old establishment is home to the longest-running blues jam session in the city and has been recognized as one of the best blues bars in Denver by Westword. Musicians of all skill levels and ages are welcome to play during the weekly blues jams. Ziggies is the closest thing to a Memphis Beale Street bar in town.

Read on for more of the best blues bars in Denver.

The stage at Jack's.EXPAND
The stage at Jack's.
Live@Jack's


Live@Jack’s
500 16th Street, #320

Live at Jack’s, indeed. The venue hosts live music six nights a week, and the lineup consistently includes blues artists. Jams spring up regularly. It's located on the third level of the Denver Pavilions, so the views of downtown are something to behold, as well.

Don't be spooked by the space's atmosphere.EXPAND
Don't be spooked by the space's atmosphere.
Mercury Cafe

Mercury Cafe
2199 California Street

Surely, Mercury Cafe isn’t a blues bar; you’re talking about that legendary hippie restaurant that hosts tarot card readings and witch gatherings, right? Yep. The splendidly alternative live-music venue hosts weekly Tuesday night blues dance lessons, complete with a Delta-blues-spinning DJ. The inclusion of blues music among the restaurant's many other offerings adds to the spot’s one-of-a-kind charm.

The Zephyr Lounge is just weird enough to work.
The Zephyr Lounge is just weird enough to work.
Zephyr Lounge

Zephyr Lounge
11940 East Colfax Avenue

The Zephyr Lounge holds poker nights and karaoke; blues acts line the Christmas-light-studded stage every week. Oversized stuffed animals get cozy in the corners, while kitschy art hangs on the worn-out walls. 

Oskar Blues Brewery puts its money where its mouth is.
Oskar Blues Brewery puts its money where its mouth is.
Oskar Blues Brewery

Oskar Blues Brewery
1800 Pike Road, Unit B, Longmont

Beer and blues: The home of Dale’s Pale Ale originally started in Lyons but moved to Longmont in 2008 in search of a bigger space. The brewery hosts blues and rock acts Monday through Friday. Erik Boa’s Blues Mondays are a weekly staple, while the Mile High Blues Society regularly jams at the venue, too.

44th Avenue Grill is a pool hall acting as a blues bar.
44th Avenue Grill is a pool hall acting as a blues bar.
44th Avenue Grill

44th Avenue Grill
7605 West 44th Avenue, Wheat Ridge

This joint might not look like a typical blues bar, but blues crooners will play pretty much anywhere (ever see any of those old Chitlin’ Circuit spots?). The diner/pool hall hosts regular jams, including Rob Fiorino's Thursday night blues event.

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