Steve Schalk, owner of the Gothic Theatre (3263 South Broadway), had been eyeing the nearby Sport Bowl Lanes & Billiards for a long time before he finally bought it in August. By then, he knew just what he wanted to do with the joint. An ardent Star Wars fan, he'd go all out with a sci-fi theme — in a bowling alley and live-music venue. "My original idea was to have the rear end of the Millennium Falcon crashing through the front of the building," Schalk explains, "with a little red light on the back and some smoke coming out of the thing. Everyone driving down South Broadway would probably wanna come in."
He didn't go quite that far, but the name of the spot at 3295 South Broadway will be the Falcon, and to create an out-of-this-world feeling, space-themed murals painted on canvas will cover most of the south wall of the club, right up to the stage. In keeping with the theme, Schalk hopes that the 250-person music venue will serve as a launch pad for bands to move on to bigger clubs, like the Gothic.
Since the Falcon has the Gothic's reputation to live up to, Schalk has put a lot of work into the sound system — everything from a 32-channel front-of-house console to the massive, power-conditioning unit. A rolling garage door separates the music side of the space from the gaming side, which will have billiards tables and pinball machines in addition to eight bowling lanes. Since the place also sports an open kitchen with a pizza oven and bar, Schalk hopes the Falcon will be not just a destination in itself, but also a before-and-after gathering place for the Gothic. "They get off work, come down early, play a game of pool, have a beer, get some food and see a show," he predicts.
But first he has to get the place open — and he's targeting a couple of weeks from now. Because on December 1, the Ryan Montbleu Band is set to be the first scheduled act to hit the Falcon's stage.
A couple of miles north of the Falcon, Herman's Hideaway (1578 South Broadway) kicked off its month-long 25th-anniversary celebration with a party last Thursday. Over the years, Herman's has collected a lot of fans, and a few diehards showed up, including a guy who's been coming to the club since he moved to Denver from Tucson four years ago. Just before the move, the guy told me, he was loading a refrigerator into a rental truck and felt something about the size of an almond pop in his lower back. Every time he got out to pump gas during his drive up here, the pain was excruciating — and when he finally arrived, he checked himself into a Littleton hospital. Since then, he's gotten all sorts of pain pills, even morphine, but he said what seemed to help most were the shots of tequila he's had at Herman's. The guy even rolled out of bed to pay respect to the club on its anniversary, since he knew it would be the last time he'd get there for a while: He was slated for back surgery this week. Good luck to you, man, and happy birthday to Herman's.
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Club scout: Francois Safieddine, owner of 5 Degrees, Monarck and Mynt, will be going for the gold when he celebrates the grand opening of 24K (1414 Market Street), his new dance club, on Thursday, November 8. The spot, which is decked out with gold furniture, chandeliers and huge, back-lit photos of a girl painted gold and wearing a platinum wig, is located above Monarck, with an entrance in the alley. While the intimate 24K will primarily cater to the bottle-service crowd, it'll be a bit different from other bottle services around town, with lychee, mango, guava, passion fruit and pomegranate liqueurs thrown into the mix. 24K will be open Thursdays through Saturdays with rotating resident DJs — Rob T., Maciek and Smiley — spinning house and dance music.
DJ Brian Howe, who gave up his residency at Rise (1909 Blake Street) a few months ago, has just started up Flashback Fridays in the Velvet Lounge basement of Martini Ranch (1317 14th Street). On those nights, he'll dip into cuts from the '70s through the '90s — Depeche Mode, Madonna, Culture Club, Kool & the Gang and Duran Duran — and even drop some '80s hair rock. On Saturday, November 10, DJs Awhat and Cysko Rokwel will kick off their Pulp mash-up parties, which will run every other Saturday at the Loft (821 22nd Street) and feature national DJs and fashion shows with regional and West Coast designers.
Finally, 4040 Club Midtown (4040 East Evans Avenue) has opened in the spot that previously housed the Midtown Beat and, before that, the Deadbeat Club. The club features DJs on the weekends and no cover and free drinks for the ladies on Wednesdays — and on Thursdays, college students with ID get in free from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Occupying a spanking-new space — at Northfield, right across from the Bass Pro Shop at 8246 East 49th Avenue — is the Denver Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre, the 22nd Improv location to open since the first one was established in 1963 in New York City. Some of the acts on tap this month include the Jameson Comedy Tour (featuring Danny Bevins, Steve Byrne, Michael Loftus and Billy Gardell), Alex Reymundo, Finesse Mitchell and Chris Rock's brother, Tony.