Best Teen Dance Club Founded by Teens 2002 | The Grind | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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.
Every Friday night, the glam, the gay and the gorgeous converge on the newly renovated 60 South on Broadway for Lipgloss, a welcome new addition to the face of Denver club life. Friendly, funny bartenders (who just might ask you to sample new drinks they've concocted on the spot), an energetic but open vibe, and a daring crew of revolving DJs who don't follow any single sound or style combine to make Lipgloss shimmer. Regular DJs Tim Cook, Tyler Jacobson and Michael Trundle play everything from Blondie and Bauhaus to exotica and Euro-pop, occasionally clearing the booth to allow guest spinners to step up to the tables. Revolving exhibits from area visual artists add an aesthetic element to an event that will already stimulate -- and titillate -- you.
Devotees of house music are advised to start the week off right by checking into Skunk Motel, the wildly popular theme night at the Snake Pit hosted by Denver's DJ Skunk every Monday. Those with fun-forbidding Tuesday-morning commitments, or those who merely wish a bigger chunk of dance floor for themselves, will find an attractive alternative on Phrunky Fridays, where the Pit's resident house guru, DJ Little Mike, consistently rocks the house. Red Bull and Stolichnaya "legal speedball" specials are guaranteed to have you singing "Who wants the Phrunk?" in two rounds or less.
On Mondays, 1515 hosts Textiles, a weekly beat happening that fuses the prolific talents of local jazz saxophonist Pete Wall with those of Denver trip-hoppers Equulei, various live percussionists, and turntablists from the Mile High House crew, including Ivy, Todd Colletti, and Tom Hoch. Together these players cut a deep, chilly, down-tempo groove that makes for exceptionally easy yet edgy listening, dancing and socializing. The crowd usually peaks a little after midnight. Until then you can always get a table, though this new night should start to pack out before long. For now, there's no cover charge.

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