Diamond Cabaret & Steakhouse
A strip club seems ridiculous until you figure the guy/girl ratio, which is strikingly similar to that of Breckenridge. Most gents come to the Diamond Cabaret with a pimp roll to spend -- but they're grateful to see women they can touch or talk to without management stepping in and without it costing a buck a minute. So go ahead and revel in all the attention. And just for kicks, have one of the boys buy you a lap dance. It drives 'em nuts.


Funky Buddha Lounge
Art rules Tuesday nights at the Funky Buddha. Each week the popular lounge features works by a different local artist, making these opening-night parties a great foray into Denver's creative class. And if you've had your eye on someone, trust in one of the town's most gracious hostesses, organizer Michelle Barnes: She knows how to work the crowd and make all the right introductions.
The Church
We like the clubs, the clubs that go "boom." Which is to say we respect power in a sound system. But we respect precision even more. We want to hear the highs just as clearly as we feel the ribcage-massaging bass. Which is why we recognize the Church's new 100-grand main sound system as world-class, not to mention the best in Denver. The new speakers and amplifiers, which were installed in stages beginning last November, all come from the JBL Application Engineered line. In the past, a lot of the Church's sound went to the ceiling, where no one could hear it. But with twenty new computer-controlled speakers, not one of those 70,000 watts is wasted.
Josh Ivy has been typecast as a trip-hop DJ, better known for laying out cerebral, chilled-out grooves than sweaty, banging dance sets. But while Ivy is arguably the best down-tempo DJ in the city, the kid can also rock a party at 140 beats per minute. Peering out over the decks from behind his Buddy Holly glasses, Ivy smartly reads his crowds and adjusts his sets, skillfully alloying breakbeats and high-energy techno. If you're looking to just kick it for a bit and contemplate the universe, catch Ivy's Wednesday set at Harry's in the Magnolia Hotel, or Thursday gig at Hapa Sushi in Cherry Creek. But if you're in the mood to shake your booty from left to right (repeat as necessary), we suggest you hit up Ivy's lesser-known, full-bore after-hours sets at Enigma, where he reaches deep into his crates to unleash the beast.
Under the guidance of Buffalo Exchange co-owner Todd Colletti, DJ Quid has returned to the Snake Pit alongside DJ Wyatt Earp, bringing a trunkload of the electro sounds of artists such as Miss Kitten, Peaches and Fischerspooner. Who knows how long the sound will last? Who cares? For now, the fashion/music craze has beautiful gay boys, model wannabes and local rock stars all working the dance floor like a runway in Berlin.


Call it a social experiment. Borrowing an idea born in San Francisco, the Denver Guerrilla Queers and their leader Billie Trix have just one mission: Each month, they round up gay clubbers, mix them into a straight establishment...and shake well. Usually, everyone winds up dancing, drinking and hanging out together - but we can't help wondering if anyone switches teams for the night.


Charlie's Denver
Contrary to popular belief, straight men love to be ogled by gay men. But going from "God's gift to women" to "God's gift to all mankind" can be difficult, even for the most cocksure heterosexual. Most of the gay clubs make the mistake of blasting their diva ballads so loud that an honest man can't tell if he's being sexually objectified or given the evil eye for some fashion faux pas. However, the laid-back country-Western atmosphere at Charlie's acts as a soothing balm to the inner skittishness of straight men. It brings back memories of the campfire, the horseplay, the too-small tent with the too-thin sleeping bags that maybe would be warmer if zipped together. It's a comfortable reminder that all men alike base their lifelong decisions (and actions!) on the attention they receive from other men. Or maybe it's just the cheap nightly drink specials.


In an increasingly fractured world of clique-catering clubs, now is the time to celebrate La Rumba for bringing far-flung splinter groups together. Every Friday night, the club that is famous for its salsa, tango and merengue dancing plays host to 0/2 (Oxygen), and it truly is a breath of fresh air for Denver gaydom. Leather men mix it up on equal ground with disco boys to the sounds of a DJ-fueled techno beat that is hot enough to provoke shirtless dancing, yet chill enough to induce the blooming of wallflowers. Men of all ages (21+), shoe sizes and titles of royalty party under the watchful eye and rugged refreshment of the beautifully bartenderizing action of Travis, whose smile alone is worth the price of a drink. The thrifty get free admission before 10 p.m., $5 after. Finally, there is a place where we can all just get along.


The Fox Hole deserves more than a Best of Denver award. It deserves to be made a national historic landmark. The proud and blessed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered and questioning people of Denver also know it as a World Heritage Site and Universal Spiritual Power Center. Not just for its massive outdoor patio, but because it's the only bar in town in which each and every one of us has gotten lucky at least once. The combined energy of the GLBTQ community has kept our secret little hangout in the train yards going strong for years. We've danced to the rhythm under that giant cottonwood tree throughout two economic booms, three busts, a sports-bar name change and a complete neighborhood transformation. It's the big backyard we outdoors-loving urban Colorado queers turn to each and every summer -- even though each and every summer is rumored to be the last.


In the heart of LoDo rather than up in that slightly scary warehouse district, Engima Afterhours is 21st-century fresh, not '90s stale. The decor is a notch above the basic black-paint-on-wood look found at many other late-night locales, and this newish addition to Denver's club index pumps out the latest sounds in electronic music for the small but sprightly wee-hours scene.


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