Sutra Dance Bar & Lounge
Just over a year ago, Paul Piciocchi and Charles Trujillo opened the sleek and sexy Sutra Room in the short-lived Donkey Den space, then added Left on Lincoln in the front. After trying to operate separate clubs that catered to different crowds, they decided to join the two spaces, in the process creating the best of both worlds. But they didn't stop there. To spice up the fun factor and change the energy on the dance floor, they put in two mini-stages and a mirror so that people could watch themselves dance. And they also added a swing and a stripper pole, presumably to boost the sexy factor. After all, the club is called Sutra.
Hiccups Sports Bar & Grill
The first two Hiccups sports bars are known for hot bartenders and waitresses wearing ass-less chaps with their panties. But when Hiccups III took over this former Brewski's location, the owners stepped things up, making this third spot the biggest and possibly the baddest of the bunch, with a big stage that attracts cover bands and the like (hell, even Jimmie Van Zant has played here) on weekends and Wednesdays, which also happens to be a good night for the ladies, who can drink free from 9 p.m. to midnight. And Monday through Friday, everyone can quench their thirst with five-dollar pitchers of beer. Let's see: hot chicks, cheap beer, live music. Sounds like a winning formula to us.
Larimer Lounge
Jeff Davis
Lately, happy hours at the Larimer Lounge have gotten happier. In addition to daily happy hours from 4 to 8 p.m. with $1 PBRs and Miller High Lifes, $2 wells and $3 you-call-its, the club has reinstated its late-night happy hours: Sunday through Thursday, midnight until close, you can grab $2 PBRs and High Lifes. The club's also souped up its happy hours by adding a few attractions: Monday it's Ninja Bingo; Wednesday it's Courier Happy Hour, with free Benny Blanco's pizza; Thursday it's free Breckenridge barbecue; and on Fridays, you can catch Jim Yelenick (aka Sputnik Slovenia) singing and playing hilarious acoustic covers of the Clash, Turbonegro, Boomtown Rats, Madonna and Britney Spears.
The Toad Tavern
After taking over the Toad Tavern this past August, one of Brice Hancock's top priorities was to build a new stage. Today the tiny spot in the corner that couldn't fit more than four people is no more; bands now perform on a better-situated platform that can easily accommodate at least a ten-piece act. And Hancock didn't stop there. He also raised the ceiling about eight feet and beefed up the sound system, doubling the number of speakers and power amps and effectively transforming a quaint suburban bar with a stage into a full-fledged music venue.
Bender's Tavern
One of the fliers for Night of the Living Shred shows a picture of two naked chicks with skateboards. But while you'll probably see some skateboard videos Thursday nights at Bender's Tavern, naked chicks not so much. Still, the young rocker boys and girls do sometimes let their hair down in more ways than one. It's hard not to, what with guys like DJs Wesley Wayne and Parris on the turntables throwing down everything from '80s metal to old-school hip-hop and a whole lot more. For the past two years, these guys have been packing Bender's dance floor and whipping the kids into a frenzy, in the process creating one of the city's best nights to hook up. And if that ain't enough, Wayne, Parris and promoter Charlie Morrison have also brought such renowned platter pirates as DJs Swamp, Qbert, Troublemaker, Goldenchyld, Platurn, Tittsworth and Klever to town.
Lion's Lair
A Denver institution, the Lion's Lair has always been a great place to see a show, whether you're seeking the city's best ear-splitting punk, metal and hardcore or taking in rare performances from iconic musicians like Graham Parker or Garland Jeffreys. Still, the place was due for an update, so kudos to Sarah Levin, who took over booking duties last August. She revitalized the venerable room by augmenting the usual dark and heavy fare with a steady stream of celebrated songwriters and acts from all facets of Denver's vitally eclectic scene.
Though it's spent many years ensconced in the former Elyria Elementary School building north of I-70, the heart and soul of the Chicano cultural and theater collective El Centro Su Teatro never left the old barrio. El Centro has always meant to return to that neighborhood, so we applaud the center's purchase of a property at Second Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, where it can return to its roots while looking fully toward the future — a future that will include a performing arts center with two theaters, a gallery space, an outdoor plaza and more. ¡Viva El Centro!
Brazilian-born New York artist Vik Muniz is chiefly known for his funny photographs, but he isn't really a photographer. He's a conceptual artist who uses cameras to preserve his ephemeral re-creations of works like "The Last Supper." For that da Vinci sendup, Muniz used expertly applied chocolate syrup, though he's also turned to ad hoc art materials such as cotton balls, wire, thread and cut-up magazines. This spectacular solo was curated by Devon Dikeou, whose own Dikeou Collection includes "The Last Supper" and who cherry-picked the West Collection's sizable Muniz holdings to come up with one of the best shows of the year.
When Frames singer Glen Hansard and new talent Markéta Irglová agreed to co-star in director John Carney's Once, neither expected much. So imagine their surprise when the joy-filled film became an unlikely hit that not only brought them together as a couple, but ultimately earned them an Academy Award for the impossibly gorgeous "Falling Slowly." At the Ogden long before the Oscars, the pair shared music from the movie and plenty more, interacting with the crowd and each other in such an intimate a manner that the audience became not just witnesses to their love story, but part of it.
Robischon Gallery
In January, Robischon Gallery co-directors Jim Robischon and Jennifer Doran put on a full-blown salute to contemporary Chinese art in Face East, an authoritative group show. The two typically go all out for their exhibits, which in this case meant traveling to China to pick pieces right out of the studios and workshops of the selected artists. The exhibit included more than fifty paintings, prints and sculptures by some of the biggest stars of Chinese art and some of the most promising emerging artists. Several artists do work that comments on Chinese politics, while others are more vaguely political, referring to the collision of East and West in Chinese culture. Although China is a police state where cultural life is hardly encouraged, artists there are making the best of it, as they have for centuries.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of