Marquis Pizza

When we stumble out of a show at the Marquis Theater, sweaty, ears still ringing from the music and (probably) a little buzzed, there's only one thing we want: a hot slice. Fortunately, you don't have to look far. The literal hole in the wall that is the Marquis Pizza window is a beacon in the night, calling to all who crave a late-night fix of thin-crust, New York-style pizza. Slices are cheap, tasty and ready fast, and that's exactly what a post- (or even mid-) show bite should be.

Mile High Spirits

The Mile High Spirits Tasting Room boasts a wide array of acts and fun activities week in and week out; it's also a pretty good place to get drunk (there's even an event here called Blackout Brunch). But you'll definitely want to pay attention to the drinks menu, because while almost all of the cocktails here are $10 a pop, they're all double pours. If you want to listen to music while on a budget, MHS is the move. Just be sure to keep Uber on speed dial.

They may be no-frills, but the bathrooms at Ball Arena are clean and, most important, abundant. With a capacity of 20,000, it's essential that the venue — which brings in national touring acts such as Billie Eilish and John Mayer and hosts basketball and hockey games and monster truck rallies — have enough bathrooms, because there's nothing worse than waiting in line for 45 minutes and missing your favorite song. Fortunately, Ball Arena has plenty of them — and they're conveniently located next to other services such as food and drink stations.

Your Mom's House
Sam Nguyen

While the name of this venue may leave newcomers to the city confused ("You're going where?"), it has, without a doubt, the best dance floor in any Denver venue. The space is illuminated with cubes of LED lights that bounce from color to color with the music, so you can dance to the beat with the light on your feet. That design makes Your Mom's House a popular spot for flow artists such as hula-hoopers and poi spinners, prop dancers who can match the LEDs of their flow toys with the lights on the ground. A night here is almost always a colorful dance party lush with self-expression.

Sugarkube is a private, members-only arts collective that stays open European late. It also boasts the only Funktion-One Vero VX system in the United States. Funktion-One is commonly used as a marketing term to get people to come out to shows, despite the system often being a mutant combination of other sound systems. But this is the real deal, engineered by one of the only teams in the world licensed to use the rare piece of technology.

Denver Botanic Gardens
Brandon Marshall

Every summer, the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts its Summer Concert Series, which includes shows in the grassy amphitheater at the center of the York Street facility; this year will see performances by DeVotchKa, Corinne Bailey Rae and the Keb' Mo' Band, among others. The DBG will also host the return of Evenings al Fresco, a pandemic innovation that allows you to spend a warm summer evening listening to small ensembles perform while you stroll the stunning grounds. Heighten an already heartwarming experience with a bit (families come here, too) of psilocybin and enjoy the company of friends and music in the midst of lush greenery and exotic plants.

When you want some shisha, you really want two things: a variety of flavors and a clean, comfortable environment in which to enjoy them. You're covered on both counts at Aria, which specializes in hookah and only hookah. The laid-back surroundings are definitely welcoming — you can bring in food if you like, and there are a number of non-alcoholic drinks available — but the big draw is the shisha, with plenty of blends to keep people coming back. Hands down, Aria smokes the competition.

When 3 Kings Tavern announced that it was closing, an owner of the Oriental Theater jumped at the opportunity to create HQ at its South Broadway location. While the club faced the challenges of opening during a worldwide pandemic, HQ has thrived, bringing in both local and touring bands and DJs. But it also hosts karaoke nights, dance parties, drag shows and more; every Friday, it’s now home to indie dance party Lipgloss, which is back at the address where it started more than twenty years ago.

X Bar

X Bar consistently beats out its competitors by offering a wide variety of entertainment options along with a welcoming, inclusive environment and a low cover fee — even when national performers headline. The huge patio is a perfect place to grab happy hour drinks, and since happy hour goes from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, there's really no excuse to miss it. When the sun goes down, X Bar becomes a neon-lit party, and there's usually a drag show, theme night or other event to spice things up. The bar is managed by a leading drag queen in the community, Kelela C, so the drag here is not just an afterthought, but a key part of the business. Don't worry, though: The shows always include plenty of dance breaks.

Best Drag Show
Courtesy of the Marijuana Mansion

The Marijuana Mansion hosted its first-ever drag show, Chronic High on Heels, in January, a mix of burlesque, comedy and drag. The event was hosted by Samora Kash, who'd done a photo shoot at the venue and decided it was the perfect spot for a drag show. Performers Coco Bardot, Jessica L'Whor, Lulu Alnight and Lala filled the night with outstanding performances and some cannabis-themed numbers, as well as a funny history of the mansion's haunted past. The show was such a hit that Kash turned it into a monthly fixture at the mansion. Let's hear it for the girls!

mjmansion.com

Best Of Denver®

Best Of