The negative temperatures and piles of snow last week were a pretty solid indication that winter has arrived in Denver. While every day of winter here doesn't involve bone-chilling cold, plenty do, and it gets old, fast. Suddenly, concert calendars look a little bare and the idea of leaving your couch and trekking outside seems more and more far-fetched. It's more than understandable if you never want to leave your bed all winter, but if you start to miss interacting with other humans and listening to live music, that can be arranged thanks to these five venues that will keep you warm and entertained this winter.
See also: Denver's Ten Best Small Venues
Nathaniel Rateliff at the Lion's Lair in 2007.
5. Lion's Lair There a scene in many a film where a character enters a dive bar, escaping the blizzard outside, usually to have a very shady conversation with another character. That dive bar is the Lion's Lair, and it's a fantastic place to step into from a blizzard. They have a lot of local and rock bands that step on their small stage, and some drink specials that will make you forget about the cold pretty fast. It's not fancy, but it is welcoming and very warm.
Rhinoceropolis during Fantasia.
4. Rhinoceropolis House parties are a great way to pass winter nights, and while Rhino is technically a venue, it's really a house turned DIY venue full of creativity, music and fun. It will fulfill your reckless teenage party fantasies while shoving new music down your ears and keep you warn and happy through the long cold nights. In a lot of ways Rhino is the heart of Denver's underground creative community, and if you're going to venture out anywhere on a freezing night, it should be on your itinerary.
3. Lost Lake Lounge Lost Lake is part dive-bar, part music-venue, and all around a great place to wait out that freak afternoon snowstorm. There is regularly touring bands visiting the small, dark side room, and it's an ideal place to down some PBR tall-boys while listening to loud music, which is really the only way to cope with winter. If you don't want to crowd in with all the punks, you can watch from the side of the stage, literally inches away from the musicians, which is a rarity these days, and an opportunity not to miss.
2. Syntax Physic Opera Syntax is the best victorian speakeasy themed bar in Denver, and not just because it's the only one. Decked out in red with a giant glass case of old-timey guns and vintage posters on the wall, stepping into Syntax is like stepping into a different world. Not only does this place hold great shows on their vaudeville-esque stage, it's become a favorite haunt of local musicians, so you could easily be eating next to Denver royalty. When the temperature drops, head to Syntax, order an old-fashioned and strike up a conversation with a stranger while listening to some live music, you wont regret it.
The Solution at the Meadowlark
1. Meadowlark Down a steep flight of stairs at the corner of Larimer and 27th, and through a small wooden door that is near-invisible from the inside is the Meadowlark. Once you've made it through the hidden entrance, you feel like you're miles away from the cold and snow, or at least a couple of floors below it. With a giant bar, cozy booths and wood-heavy decor, this place feels more like spending the night in a cabin with friends than a Denver bar. There's music, comedy and DJ's on their calendar, which means this an ideal place to forget about the polar vortex and sip some whiskey with friends.
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