Best Jukebox 2015 | Nob Hill Inn | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Eric Gruneisen

One of the city's few remaining true dives, the Nob Hill Inn has hosted its share of music royalty — including Bob Dylan and Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister — in over a half-century of operation. And there's a good chance you'll find those legends' music on the bar's jukebox, which is just about as eclectic as its regulars. A bonus are the juke's mix CDs, which feature such expert and disparate pairings as Buck Owens and the Beau Brummels, the Hollies and Uriah Heep, and Parliament and Gene Autry.

Readers' choice: Sancho's Broken Arrow

The folks at Armida's are serious about karaoke. They should be, after hosting it for the past two decades — first on a once-a-week basis, and now every night. It got so popular, in fact, that an upstairs karaoke room, which can fit about thirty people, was added two years ago to accommodate all the folks — from first-timers to old hands — who come down to sing.

Readers' choice: Armida's

Belting out the Spice Girls' "Say You'll Be There" is always fun, but sometimes you just want to get in touch with your inner Selena and sing "Como La Flor" while a frozen margarita melts all over the microphone. When it comes to Spanish-language karaoke, 100% de Agave has a complete song list. Once the clock strikes 9 p.m. on Thursdays, the place fills up with people who want to chow down on happy-hour-priced munchies and salsa-dance to the amateur singing.

On the third Monday of each month, the experimental outfit ANIMAL/object holds an avant-garde open-mike night at Strange Grounds. Here, though, "avant-garde" just means that performers are prized for their imagination and willingness to throw themselves into the music. There's often time at the end of the night for impromptu collaborations — and last summer, the Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano (a recent Colorado transplant) decided to drop by with his violin and join the festivities.

Ken Hamblin III

It's not easy to get an in-store performance booked at Twist & Shout, and there's a good reason for that: These shows are almost invariably events you'll never forget. The store hosts cozy, living-room-style performances from big names (local and national) playing for shoulder-to-shoulder audiences full of excitement and focus. Check out Steve Earle's killer Twist & Shout performance of "Copperhead Road" on YouTube sometime, or just head down to see an in-store set yourself.

With an undying love for music and the intimate concert experience that often gets lost in the nosebleeds of the Pepsi Center and other large venues, Strings & Wood ( aims to bring concerts back to the living room — literally. Whether it rolls out in someone's home, the basement of a church or some other unlikely, intimate venue, the concert series brings local and national acts together for the dual purpose of providing audiences with unique shows and providing bands with ideal performing situations. Sitting on a cozy couch while listening to an amazing local singer-songwriter at a Strings & Wood show should be on every Denver music fan's must-do list.

Tucked away on Morrison Road is MGM's, a little club with big things happening inside. On Sundays, the place brings out the best in old-school hip-hop and R&B. The dance floor packs people in as everything from Zapp & Roger to SWV to Usher pumps through the venue's mighty sound system. Brand-new tracks get thrown in, too, so the hottest songs from Drake and Nicki Minaj make appearances throughout the night. The bartenders pour it up stiff, and everyone's a friend on the smokers' patio, if you need a break from the sweaty boogie madness.

The intimate but spacious setup at Bar Standard is perfect for accommodating the people who pack the dance floor on Friday nights, when TheHundred brings some of the best tune-spinners on the planet to town. And that list is killer, with past headliners including Ten Walls and Classixx, Miguel Campbell and Kill Frenzy, Golf Clap and Doc Martin. Those are some notably big names to be playing this particular venue (alongside local staples who also know how to sling a beat), so you can feel smug about scoring a pair of tickets — and when you factor in the early-bird admission discounts that can get you through the door for as little as $5, you've got yourself a stellar club night that you can afford to hit up on a regular basis.

Readers' choice: Tracks

Eschewing the aesthetics of giant EDM shows, which have been increasingly popular in Colorado lately, Deep Club ( formed in 2013 with a mission to provide an alternative to those larger-than-life presentations. When you walk into one of Deep Club's "secret" events, the atmosphere is more laid-back, the emphasis is entirely on the music, and even when the event is held at an unconventional space, the sound system is robust. In 2014, Deep Club partnered with the Communikey Festival, which promises a great future in Denver for fans of more adventurous electronic music.

Molly Martin

If there is a sports-like farm system in the Denver music scene, Bar Bar (aka Carioca Cafe) represents a quality AAA baseball club. Bar Bar's inclusive and open mentality allows up-and-coming bands like Hellhound, Gravity Tapes, Gentleman Crow and Nixon's the One to hone their craft and play rowdy and well-attended shows any night of the week. The regulars may sometimes be a little rough around the edges, but the crowd at Bar Bar is still inviting and open to all Denver's bands, regardless of stature.

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