Dazzle

Dazzle already had a great thing going for nearly two decades at its former location at 930 Lincoln Street, but since moving downtown to much bigger digs in the old Baur's building, the jazz venue has grown into even more of a world-class establishment. With more than twice the capacity and a much bigger stage and sound system than those at the former space, the new Dazzle offers a better listening experience all around. The venue continues to book the finest local jazz talent as well as internationally known luminaries; in March alone, the club brought in the Bad Plus, Dr. Lonnie Smith, James Blood Ulmer, Jane Monheit and Chris Speed.

Readers' Choice: Nocturne

La Rumba
Eric Gruneisen

While La Rumba is the best place in town to get down to a variety of Latin music, the venue is also a great place to learn how to dance through its salsa and bachata classes and workshops, which are offered most nights of the week. Whatever level dancer you are, La Rumba also puts on popular Latin nights, especially Thursdays through Saturdays, when the club heats up and the dance floor is packed with people dancing to some of the best salsa and bachata DJs in town.

Readers' Choice: La Rumba

Grizzly Rose
Eric Gruneisen

For nearly three decades, the Grizzly Rose has been the city's main outpost for country music, and the Country Music Association named it one of the best clubs in the U.S. The 40,000-square-foot venue, which hosts live music six nights a week, has seen rising stars on their way up — like Taylor Swift, who was still a teenager when she played there — as well as such seasoned veterans as Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. With its massive dance floor, the Grizzly Rose is also an ideal place to learn how to line-dance or two-step during monthly classes.

Swallow Hill Music
Swallow Hill Music

The fact that Swallow Hill has not only survived, but thrived over nearly forty years says a lot about the nonprofit's dedication to folk, roots and acoustic music of all kinds. Since its beginnings in 1979 as an outgrowth of the Denver Folklore Center, Swallow Hill has hosted local, national and international artists on its stages and taught countless students through its music school and, more recently, its outreach programs. Here's to another forty.

Lost Lake

Since opening in 2010, Lost Lake has gone through a few changes, both in ownership and aesthetics. Nearly a decade ago, the club's interior sported a cabin vibe, but after renovations, the feel is more industrial, with exposed brick behind the bar. Welcome upgrades to the stage and sound system have made it the best intimate spot to see live bands most nights of the week, from acts that tour nationally to the best in local talent.

Readers' Choice: hi-dive

The Black Box
@JVPhotography11

The folks behind the Black Box have shown time and time again that they've got dubstep down. That could be because Nicole Cacciavillano ran Sub.mission, a successful dubstep production company, for nearly a decade before opening the club in November 2016. But even though that music sounds amazing run through the Box's specially designed Basscouch sound system, there's a lot more than just dubstep here: The dual-room venue also hosts a wide variety of EDM acts at least four nights a week.

Readers' Choice: The Black Box

Beta

With Beta nearing its ten-year anniversary in May, it's safe to say that the venue is the king of dance clubs in Denver. Beta consistently pulls in the biggest names in dance music and electronica, like the Crystal Method, Infected Mushroom, Cedric Gervais and Ferry Corsten. But you don't have to take our word for it: Billboard named Beta one of the 25 Best Dance Clubs of All Time in 2015, and world-class DJ Paul Oakenfold, who has spun at the club multiple times, has called it one of the best venues in America.

Readers' Choice: The Black Box

Trade
Courtesy Trade Facebook page

Looking for a stiff drink and a stiffer man? Located in the building that once housed the Barker Lounge, Trade offers an unpretentious spot for gay men to congregate. This isn't a bar for the buttoned-up set: Expect underwear and leather nights, pulsing house music and hairy men galore. While some bear bars in town have garnered nasty reputations for being transphobic and misogynistic, Trade has established itself as a queer-friendly bar that's as welcoming as it is delightfully cruisy. The bartenders are fast and friendly, the beats are good, and whether you're in the market for a beer or a bear, Trade is ready and willing to serve up both.

Readers' Choice: Charlie's

Karaoke at Armida's is special because of the potential for greatness that every night holds for wannabe singers. The drinks are good at this Best of Denver stronghold, and the food is tasty (hello, Macho Nachos), but the real draw is that absolutely anyone can walk onto the stage and become a star for three or four minutes. While karaoke in front of strangers can be intimidating for first-timers, Armida's crowds are almost always engaging and supportive. And if none of that helps, there's always tequila.

Readers' Choice: Armida's

Blush & Blu

Despite a flood of development, Denver has suffered from a lesbian-bar drought in recent years. While there are plenty of open spots where queer women in this town feel welcome to drink and dance, Blush & Blu is no longer just the best lesbian bar in town; it's practically the only one. But even if there were twenty more, Blush & Blu would likely top the pack. From poker nights and poetry readings to dance parties and comedy nights, the space has got something for people of all tastes. And unlike many gay bars in Denver, Blush & Blu is transgender-inclusive.

Readers' Choice: Blush & Blu

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