When I pulled into the parking lot of The Hole (990 South Oneida Street) last Saturday just after midnight, I found two squad cars parked in front of the bar. I could have kept driving down Leetsdale a mile or so to check out the Naughty Prince (7950 East Mississippi Avenue), but I really wanted to see what the hell the cops were doing at the Hole.
I was hoping for some kind of bar brawl, but instead it was just one extremely sauced guy getting cuffed and stuffed in the back seat of a cruiser. So my girlfriend and I went on in, found a couple of seats at the bar and ordered beers. Everyone seemed pretty damn friendly, and I'm guessing the management had just done what it needed to in order to keep out the riffraff, which I could appreciate.
A DJ was set up in the corner, dropping some Top 40 stuff like Britney Spears and Lady Gaga before stepping back to the '70s with the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" (incidentally, the first record I bought as a kid). While the Hole, which was Denver's Old Hole Sports Grill and Jackson's Hole before that, is still more of a sports bar than a dance club, the DJ did manage to get a few people on the floor. But what really did the trick was Cupid's "Cupid Shuffle." Even a woman who had just gotten a basket of chicken wings (which I could smell even though she was sitting about twenty feet away) started line-dancing to the hip-hop tune. People playing pool in the other room were dancing, too.
The Naughty Prince
Every so often I checked out the six flat-screen TVs above the bar. For some reason, I was fascinated by the sight of former tennis star Jennifer Capriati's Range Rover getting pimped out, as well as the footage of guys jumping motorcycles off canyon cliffs, dropping the bikes and then parachuting to the bottom.
After a round of Heinekens, we headed outside. The cop cars were still there — and as we left the parking lot, a Denver C.A.R.E.S. drunk wagon was pulling up.
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Club scout: Elway's (2500 East First Avenue) kicks off its summer live-music Wednesdays on June 17 with Opie Gone Bad, playing from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The series, which runs through August 19, features such local favorites as the Railbenders, Message in a Bottle and Soul School performing in the courtyard next to the restaurant.
It looks like the recently opened Exhale Hookah Lounge (7575 West Florida Avenue in Lakewood) is starting to gain momentum as a hip dance club in a part of town that doesn't have many. Exhale opens every night at 8 p.m.; on Fridays, DJs spin electronic, hip-hop and Top 40 mash-up and remixes. The club throws different theme events on Fridays, as well, like a luau party on June 12 and the ABC (Anything But Clothes) party the following week. Detox Sundays are dedicated to indie hip-hop.
Brandon's Pub (955 Lincoln Street) just started a karaoke contest that runs through the next few Saturdays, with a finalist picked every week for the finals on July 11. First, second and third prizes are $500, $300 and $200, respectively.
Tryst (1512 Larimer Street) just launched its Friday Afternoon Club, which runs from 4 to 8 p.m. every Friday until September 25 and features $3 signature martinis and beers, as well as $1.50 sushi and $4 rolls from Sushi Han.