From navy blazers to red vests to bold Hawaiian luau-wear, Denver's frat-rock revivalists, the Orangu-Tones, are always in complete harmony -- from a fashion standpoint, that is. "Authentic" is the key adjective here: These guys wouldn't look out of place at a 1962 sock hop. The Tones' reliable uniformity is particularly refreshing in a time when many outfits seem to have forgotten that clothes sometimes make the band.
Grizzly Rose
Eric Gruneisen
Denver's long-lived country establishment has had its share of troubles over the past year. But despite a little scandal, some ownership troubles and battles with state liquor law-enforcement agencies, there's a bloom on the Rose again. Thanks to new management -- the place is now helmed by longtime Grizzly Rose dance instructors Kathy and Bill Ripolla -- this expansive roadhouse has returned to hosting national and regional country bands and serving longnecks to thirsty cowboys and girls. Area country fans, thrilled with the recovery, are boot-scootin' back to the Rose.
Mercury Cafe
From swing to salsa, dance crazes come and go with an almost Swiss precision. (We're still awaiting the return of the Freddy.) At the advance of each new wave, the Mercury Cafe is ready, opening its funky doors to dancers of all persuasions. While swing and lindy hop are still going strong, tango currently reigns supreme in Marilyn Megenity's luscious eatery/bar/cabaret on California Street, with weekly milongas, classes for dancers of all levels (from beginners to very advanced) and the occasional opportunity to learn from a visiting Argentine master. The Merc still shines brightly in the firmament of local nightlife.

La Rumba
Eric Gruneisen
You needn't know how to dance when you enter Sevilla, but it helps: Five nights a week, the gorgeous, Euro-style nightclub inside the Icehouse ushers in hordes of well-dressed dance-floor denizens, who move to the cardio beat of live Latin sounds, from merengue to mambo and salsa. Even if you prefer to just relax and watch other people shake their shimmery thangs, Sevilla is still a desirable nightspot: The drinks are reasonable, the atmosphere festive but not overpowering, and the clientele always entertaining. Sevilla has more Spanish flavor than a fire-roasted chile pepper.
Fox Theatre
Brandon Marshall
For a theater stuck in the middle of a college town that's about as white as the inside of a hospital toilet bowl, the Fox Theatre sure knows how to kick some flava: More than any other venue in the state, it consistently hosts fine performances by up-and-coming hip-hop talent along with its indie-rock and pop artists. The Fox's rap-centric calendar is made all the more appealing by a crystal-clear sound system and well-designed floor plan: You can actually see -- and understand -- the performers on stage. We hope the Fox maintains its good rap for a long time to come.

It's hard to keep it real these days in chic, overpriced LoDo, but no place keeps it real better than Jerry Krantz's El Chapultepec jazz club, an undeniably divey institution. It's smoky, true. And crowded, yes! But it costs only one beer to get in, and you can count on the local musicians to play like it's their last night on earth.
The neon sign beckons you downstairs, and the soothing, softly lit room, the comfortable chairs and the consistently great jazz will keep you inside Vartan Jazz Club. This venue has welcomed the likes of trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, hard-bop pioneer Horace Silver and the amazing Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, among many others. There's dancing and dining, too, but for an always-reliable roster of first-rate talent, no spot is better.
Amsterdam's owners cast an even larger net over the local club scene with the opening of Pure last year, a sort of pulsating oasis on Welton Street. But it's Amsterdam that stands out as their most brilliant achievement. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the club opens its door to dancers eighteen and over and leaves them open until the wee hours of the morning. Local and international DJs spin in the space that, true to its name, achieves the Euro-chic vibe that complements electronic beats so well. Amsterdam is a welcome late-night option for those who know that watching the sun come up after a long night of shaking your booty is one of life's pure pleasures.
The Church
Earlier this year, the folks at Vinyl, the club that rose from the ashes after a fire gutted its interior in 2000, got smart: They invited Hardy Kalisher, the brains behind the internationally recognized Boulder club Soma, to help them brainstorm a new direction for their space. The result is Club Next, which takes over Vinyl's multi-leveled dance floors three nights a week, with Kalisher at the production helm. Judging by the offerings so far -- the venue officially launched with a performance from Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl fame -- Club Next is poised to usher in a progressive club scene in D-Town by hosting national and internationally known DJs, as well as provide the opportunity for locals to regularly spin for the dance-happy crowds. This is one club that's definitely worth belonging to.
Every Wednesday night, The Snake Pit puts aside the dance and Gothic music that normally dominates its sound system to make way for Shag, during which Anglophiles dance to new and old music from the canon of British pop. Introduced in the spirit of the Pit's original Brit-pop night, Quid, Shag has grown into one of the most happening club-theme nights in town, where the sounds of Oasis, the Stone Roses and David Bowie inspire club kids to unite under a common musical flag. There's no bollocks about it.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of