We lost Brendan's, but Manny's Smokehouse (2233 Larimer Street) is bringing BBQ and blues back to the Ballpark neighborhood. "Denver has nothing like this," says John Schlegel, who's been hired as the club's project manager. "Where else can you check out great blues and barbecue?" The soft opening of Manny's went very well, he says. The intimate, eighty-seat venue gets a grand opening this weekend with shows by blues greats Tommy Thomas and Otis Taylor on Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25, respectively. (The Tony Black Band opens for both.) Tickets run $42.50 for Thomas and $72.50 for Taylor -- but that includes dinner right off the menu. After this weekend's festivities, Manny's will be open Tuesdays through Sundays and feature national and local acts.
While the Blue 67 space (1475 Lawrence Street) is being transformed into the dual-purpose 5 Degrees -- a restaurant until 11 p.m. (with a menu by Eric Roeder of Bistro Vendome), then a clubby martini lounge -- another part of Francois Safeiddine's empire is going back to the future. On Saturday, June 25, Mynt Mojito Lounge (1424 Market Street) hosts "Shaken, Not Stirred," a James Bond theme party featuring a fashion show and specialty drinks. "Dress to impress," advises Mynt's Amber Fagan. "We're going to teach an old spy new tricks." But Bond may already be ahead of the game: In his last movie, the famous spy was spied drinking mojitos rather than his famous "shaken, not stirred" martinis.
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The Castle Nightclub (83 East 120th Avenue in Thornton) is once again offering live music, starting with a grand opening party Friday, July 8, with original bands Friday and Saturday nights -- and no cover charge. After that, club management plans to alternate original bands and cover bands in all flavors of rock, with the first cover band slated for July 15. Mike Crisler of Drug Under, who books local acts at Coors Amphitheater and the House of Rock, is in charge of booking here, too.