Denver's Ten Best Small Venues

Devotcha did a three-night run for Valentine's Day at the Mercury Cafe in 2013.
Devotcha did a three-night run for Valentine's Day at the Mercury Cafe in 2013.
Brandon Marshall for Westword.

It's no secret that Denver is blessed with an overwhelming amount of music venues, places boasting calendars packed full of local and national acts every night of the week. We wanted to highlight some of the best of the little guys -- venues that can hold crowds under 500 people. There are some old favorites on this list, untouched and in their original, mildly sketchy glory. But there are also some venerable spots that have had recent makeovers for the good, plus some brand new locations just waiting to be discovered. Dive in and see if there's a venue in Denver you've never been to yet and then get out there and see some music. Stay tuned for more lists looking at Denver's bigger venues, bar rooms and D.I.Y. spaces.

See also: Denver Has More Live Music Venues Than Austin. Does It Matter?

Denver punk mainstays King Rat at 3 Kings.
Denver punk mainstays King Rat at 3 Kings.
Tom Murphy for Westword.

3 Kings Tavern 60 South BroadwayWhile South Broadway continues to see itself get cleaned up, 3 Kings Tavern is one of those old faithful spots that still looks, feels and acts like your friendly neighborhood punk rock bar. This is not to say the place is grimy, but 3 Kings provides the right kind of seedy but welcoming atmosphere fit for a punk show, a burlesque review, a bingo night or some great local comedy. A pool table and some booths are scattered about, but most visitors will find a comfortable seat at the bar or standing front and center for both local and national acts who get the proper treatment from some of the best sound people around.

Willie Houston plays Dazzle Jazz at the 2013 Westword Music Showcase.
Willie Houston plays Dazzle Jazz at the 2013 Westword Music Showcase.
Jon Solomon for Westword.

Dazzle Jazz 930 Lincoln Street For a decade and a half running, Dazzle Jazz has been hosting jazz greats and up-and-comers alike in its classy but accessible atmosphere. The semi-formal dining room offers up great food and stellar service while patrons are able to sit back and catch drummer Todd Reid's Tuesday Jam Sessions or a set from a national acts like Ravi Coltrane or the Ricky Earl Band. Dazzle continues to be a haven for jazz junkies and those looking for a first taste of Denver's vibrant and diverse music scene of expert players.

EMA plays the newly revamped Lost Lake Lounge stage.
EMA plays the newly revamped Lost Lake Lounge stage.
Tom Murphy for Westword.

Lost Lake Lounge 3602 East Colfax Filling a longstanding need for a smaller scale rock club on East Colfax, Lost Lake Lounge opened a handful of years ago under the ownership of hi-dive proprietor Matt LeBarge. After LeBarge sold the spot to AEG talent buyer Scott Campbell in 2013, the bar and adjoining show space saw big changes -- this year, renovations opened the room up and a new sound system changed everything. Lost Lake hosts local rock, hip-hop and funk bands along with national acts attracting substantial buzz, not to mention after-show DJ sets by big name performers who come through the Bluebird Theater.



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