In June of 2012, Preston Douglas opened the doors of NORAD Dance Bar in hopes of redirecting the ears of listeners to the underground sounds of house, deep house, and techno music. Since then, the spot has become a fixture in Denver's growing dance and electronic scene, welcoming fans for sell-out nights with artists like Nicole Moudabar, Goldie and the Great American Techno Festival, to name a few. But NORAD will be closing at the end of May.
"We are not giving up the NORAD brand, the vibes, or the scene we've built, or the music enthusiasts that have rallied around us since day one," says Douglas, now a co-owner of the bar. "We are taking some time off and seeing where our options take us."
All remaining listed shows will happen as planned. The NORAD crew will continue on with its two complete sound and lighting rigs, promoting one-off shows at other venues and possibly opening another permanent location down the road.
See also: Denver's five best small dance clubs
The building housing NORAD, located at 821 22nd Street, has been for sale for nearly six years. The owners of NORAD moved in with the understanding that, once the building was sold, the continuation of the club would be at the discretion of the new owners. The landlord has found new owners, and their plans do not involve NORAD.
"We have first right of refusal if we are able to purchase the property, but at this point, we are not at a level of success to do that on our own," says Douglas. "The new property owners do not want to have an night club leased out there. They are going to move forward on whatever they are doing on their own."
Several sources who wish to remain anonymous have speculated to Westword that the building will house either a restaurant or retail space.
According to Douglas, there was no mention of a grace period once the property was sold. "We've just been trying to figure out what our best options were: If we could find someone to buy it, would that be enough? If we could get another investor with operating capital to get it the way we wanted...
"We've never been rich club owners -- we are music enthusiasts and fans," he says. "We've weighed the numbers, and unless someone came through with the money and would partner with us as a nightclub, it's not something we are ready to jump into."
What does this mean for NORAD and the fan base that has helped house, techno, and the underground sounds continue to thrive? Douglas and his crew already have two shows lined up at Beta Nightclub and the Roof Top at Bar Standard that will be branded "NORAD presents."
Since they own the system at NORAD, the sound and lighting equipment used in the venue will be going wherever the NORAD crew goes. In addition to the set currently in use, Douglas and his group own another system that is slightly more powerful. So the NORAD sound will still resonate, whether it's at another venue, warehouses or one-off special events.
And here's the venue in a previous incarnation.
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