Best After-Hours Club 2002 | Enigma Afterhours | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
With the closing of a couple of clubland staples over the past year, the nocturnal socialite has fewer options from which to choose. Fortunately, Enigma Afterhours -- which began as Rezodanc in the spring of 2001 -- has swiftly filled the late-night void by opening its doors at the unsaintly hour of 1 a.m., Thursday through Saturday nights. With a mostly local and progressive roster of talent, including Friday-night sets from members of the prominent Casa Del Soul crew, the stylish Larimer Street locale has upped Denver's cosmo quotient considerably. A dedicated dancehound knows sleep is for wimps. So unplug your alarm clock, slam some Starbucks (or whatever elixir you fancy) and make a move for the dance floor. At Enigma, the beats go on.
What's the matter with kids today? Not a thing, if you ask the young crowds who populate Club Pulse, a Littleton hot spot that welcomes teenage patrons as well as the over-21 crowd. That's good news for younger hipsters who prefer to spend their Saturday nights on the dance floor rather than cruising the 16th Street Mall. True to its name, Club Pulse throbs to the sounds of hip-hop, R&B and DJ stylings, with music spinning into the wee hours on Friday and Saturday nights. (Sorry, kiddies, your time to shine ends with the midnight curfew.) Let's hear it for the boys -- and girls.
Last fall, when the Denver City Council was debating an ordinance allowing mixed-age crowds at cabarets, Rock Island owner David Clammage -- or, as his patrons know him, "Uncle Dave" -- was a vocal advocate of allowing local venues to provide safe and exciting entertainment options for the under-21 contingent. With his weekly All Agez Ragez, Clammage puts his booking policy where his mouth is. Every Saturday night until 11:30 p.m., the dark and buggy LoDo nightspot opens its doors to patrons ages sixteen and up; those eighteen and older are invited to stay until closing time. The Saturday-night fetes regularly feature revolutionary local spinners, including the Postman, DJ Harlan and Dave Granger. This is no mere kids' stuff.
It started with a bunch of Longmont area high school students who wanted their own dance club. They pulled together the resources, gathered community support and wrote a business plan that sold the Longmont City Council on the idea, to the tune of $91,000 in funding. With student managers, DJs and security -- adults are "advisers" only -- the Grind, which leased space in Longmont's Rollerena for six months, was a big hit; $4 and a student ID were all you needed to get in. That lease has expired, though, so the city's youth-services division is helping the Grind negotiate a new lease for a spot on Main Street. And a city-council-approved budget of $182,000 for this year is sure to get that party started right. Thanks to the efforts of the entrepreneurial group, Longmont club kids can look forward to having a safe and secure place to play and dance. Smells like teen spirit.
For those who prefer stylish settings to sports bars, Citrus is a juicy addition. This clean, Euro-style eatery boasts one of the city's finest selections of Champagne and top-shelf vodka. But five nights a week, the LoDo spot opens its floors (and its upstairs V.I.P. room) to the dance-music contingent, with DJs spinning all manner of house music, from Chicago-style soul to deep progressive. Citrus is a mellow, sophisticated, place-to-be-seen destination where the vibes flow along with the spirits. Call it fruity, fun -- and good for you.
If you've got cat class and you've got cat style -- or just a Ben Franklin for you and a friend burning a hole in your velvet pants -- this quasi-underground club is the hottest spot in Denver to strut your stuff. Entered via an alley behind the Diamond Cabaret strip club, Alley Cat features house music spun by the hottest DJs in Denver and around the world in the club's main dance chamber, and progressive trance in the smaller "red room" lounge. Fire twirlers and cage dancers (many of them Diamond girls partying after work) are standard on weekends. The Cat is open Thursday through Saturday; the cover charge is steep ($15, somewhat negotiable after 1 a.m.), but the sultry, supercharged atmosphere within is worth the scratch.
Every DJ in the Casa Del Soul crew excels at his craft. They all know how to read, and lead, a crowd. They all religiously mine the record bins at Casa Del Soul Records (owned by the collective's founder, Nate Uhlir). And they all play out regularly at the biggest dance clubs in Denver. But if you favor a hybrid style that seamlessly splices house with techno, East Coast with West Coast, then Ty Tek must top your list. Groove to it.
New clubs come and go, but there's really no challenging the staying power or superiority of Boulder's Soma. Less a traditional venue than a full dance-music environment, Soma maintains its status by constantly revamping its future-tech vibe and opening its spinning space to talent from all record crates and corners of the world. The club's excellent local residents spin hard house, techno and trance, and they hold their own against out-of-town guests. Local clubheads, along with the international media, have recognized that this little spot is Soma-thing special.
The price for a table inside Club Sanctuary's luxuriously appointed and well-guarded room for special people is $200 for the night, which is right in the range of the club's competition and still includes your first bottle of premium liquor free. Split between four people at a table, that's not bad, especially since it also buys the doting attention of a scorching-hot cocktail server who will find something to compliment you on within three minutes of your meeting (go ahead, time her). Recently renovated under the direction of Kaylene Martinez -- a former Denver nurse turned professional V.I.P.-room designer and manager -- this room-behind-the-rope is superbly lighted (the fire wall/water wall effect is gorgeous) and smoothly run. Martinez treats pro athletes and big-spending suburbanites with the same well-oiled courtesy.
There's got to be a morning after -- sooner or later, you're going to have to open your eyes, listen to that hammer hitting your head and remember every stupid thing you did last night. Well, almost everything. Pure, the nightclub that occupies the old Casino Cabaret, makes a good argument for facing the music sooner: the Recovery Room. This semi-regular Sunday bash starts early in the morning, ends by noon, and in between pours out the bloodys and pours on the soothing, "morning progressive trance" music, with Pure owner Kostas Kouremenos acting as DJ.

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