I caught the poker bug on a trip to Vegas a few years back. And when I got back to Denver, I played a ton of Texas Hold 'Em games on my laptop, watched eleven-time World Series of Poker winner Phil Hellmuth on ESPN, and even checked out a few of Hellmuth's instructional DVDs from the library.
But as fast as that bug hit me, it left in a hurry once I started losing. We're talking a few hundred bucks — peanuts to real gamblers — but that was all it took to cure me. So when I tagged along with my stepdad on a return trip to Vegas a year later, I spent more time at the Double Down Saloon trying to figure out what the hell was in the bar's famous Ass Juice shots than at the card tables.
This might explain why I was more interested in the trivia game at Castle Bar & Grill (6657 South Broadway, Littleton) than the two games of Texas Hold 'Em that were in progress. Specifically, I was trying to figure out if Glen Campbell, Carl Perkins, Chet Atkins or Jose Feliciano played guitar on Frank Sinatra's recording of "Strangers in the Night." I was pretty sure it wasn't Feliciano or Perkins, and I was leaning toward Campbell, because I knew he'd done a lot of L.A. session work, including the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album. After playing a song from his laptop, the host announced that, in fact, it was Campbell who'd played with Sinatra.
Between trivia questions, I watched the Rockies-Braves game and looked at the wall covered with NASCAR paraphernalia, including three race-car hoods with different beer-company logos painted on them. When I heard the song "I Can See Clearly Now" — obviously not the version by Johnny Nash or Jimmy Cliff — I looked over in the corner and saw a woman singing a karaoke version of the tune. So this bar was not only hosting poker games and trivia, but karaoke as well. And then I saw that a few people were even playing pool.
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Obviously, Castle Bar & Grill does not lack for entertainment options. Officially, the lineup is Texas Hold 'Em on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, trivia on Wednesdays and live music on Saturdays. Tuesdays and Fridays are the main karaoke nights, but there's no telling when someone will start singing. With or without Glen Campbell on guitar.
Club scout: DJ Peter Black hosts his monthly Analog Space at Meadowlark (2701 Larimer Street) on Friday, September 19, with some supersonic space disco that he'll spin alongside A-What!, Derek Russo, Cakes and the Peacock Revolution. On Saturday, September 20, famed Toronto-based house DJ Deadmau5 visits Beta (1909 Blake Street). The club's Beatport Lounge is bringing in Beekay, Bitwise, Ishe and Skwared on Wednesday, September 24, as part of Beta's newly launched Bass Wednesdays, which will showcase dub step, drum & bass, breaks and jungle DJs every week. On Bass Wednesdays, ladies get in free before 11 p.m.; otherwise, it's a $5 cover (excluding special events).
DJ Rockstar Aaron has moved his Thursday-night "'80s and more" cassette nights at Rockbar to Fridays now that Night of the Living Shred is in the Thursday slot. Aaron says he'll continue with the same format, but Fridays won't be decade-driven, and the night will have more of a rock edge. And on Thursdays, he'll present his new, retro new-wave Distortion parties at the recently remodeled Alibi Dance Lounge (1523 Market Street), formerly known as Crave.