On a recent Saturday at the Zephyr Lounge (11940 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora), a guy was dancing by himself while the band played Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" — but he wasn't busting any moves like underwear-sporting Tom Cruise did in Risky Business. This guy was having trouble just finding the beat, and so it came off more like an interpretive dance or something.
There was another guy, a bit older than the dancer and wearing a U.S. Navy hat, sitting in a booth by a statue of a bearded man who may have been Jesus or maybe just one of the three wise men. He was pissed at the dancing guy because that fool was blocking his view of the band, and he kept waving for the dancing guy to get out of the way. But dancing dude just kept doing his thing while the Navy guy, who was nursing a mug of Bud with ice cubes, seemed to be restraining himself from jumping up and beating the shit out of some drunk who'd get negative scores in any dance-off.
Everybody else in the joint seemed pretty damn friendly. But then, it's hard not to be with two-for-ones near midnight on a Saturday night. The Zephyr has three daily happy hours — from 9 to 11 a.m., 5 to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. — which have been a tradition since the place opened six decades ago. If you order a bottle of beer within one of those time spans, the bartender will give you the second bottle in a plastic cup filled with ice to keep it chilled.
During the band's break, the Navy guy loosened up a bit, smiling and joking with the very nice waitress, who'd call me and my friend "honey" or "sugar" when she stopped by our booth.
Near the end of the night, the Osburn Brothers played Badfinger's "No Matter What" and then closed the set with Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl." The dancer guy had to get in one more workout, which almost set off the Navy dude, but the doorman stepped in before things got out of hand.
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On my way out, I took a quick glance at the group of Jesus portraits next to a painting of Elvis hanging above a booth in the corner. Although it was somewhat odd to see Jesus art in a bar, it was cool to think I could tell people that I'd been out drinking with Jesus and Elvis.
Club scout: Tooey's Off Colfax just opened in the former Club Boca (and way before that, janleone) at 1521 Marion Street, right behind Kinga's Lounge. The space had been vacant for close to a year, and after the new owners took over on October 15, they burned some serious midnight oil in order to get it back open on Halloween. One of the first things they did was move the bar, which used to be in the middle of the room, to the front near the window. And while it may take some time to get fully up to speed, the owners plan to eventually feature live bands and DJs, as well as monthly art shows.
Martini Ranch, at 1317 14th Street, is bringing in live bands on Thursdays all month, including MTHDS and UmConscious on November 13 and Kinetix on November 20; from 9 to 11 p.m. those nights, the place will offer a $10 open bar. And Brian Durkee, who's done a lot of club promoting in Arizona, just opened the aptly titled Basement in the basement of Martini Ranch.
If you're looking for some sexual healing and sensory stimulation, the Twenty40 crew is throwing its fifth annual Hedonism party at Vinyl (1082 Broadway) on Friday, November 14. DJ Cinful, who spins at the Playboy Mansion, and DJ mLE will be at the decks, and Orange Peel Moses & the Sex Kittens will perform as well. You can also expect naked sushi, dancers and lots of gals in latex body paint.