Best Venue for After-Hours Shows 2023 | Knew Conscious | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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A nonprofit artist collective, Knew Conscious is a members-only club where you can see new talent in Denver perform alongside the digital artwork of the organization’s founder, Kurt Redeker, in an intimate setting. And one of the side perks of the private club is that because it's open late, big-name artists often stop by after playing sets at Mission Ballroom or Red Rocks to keep the party going. That happened in February with none other than members of Billy Strings's entourage, who played Knew Conscious for hours after their 1STBANK Center show let out. Clearly, that $12 monthly membership is well worth it.

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The Black Box has been one of Denver's most consistent purveyors of EDM since it opened in 2016. The club was founded by Nicole Cacciavillano, who had already been fostering Denver's underground electronic scene for a decade with her Sub.mission event, which occurs at the Black Box every Tuesday to showcase the best of the Mile High City's DJs. Sub.mission, which celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in 2022, is the oldest active dubstep promoter in the country, and was the first to bring an international dubstep DJ to the United States. The event's success is how the Black Box came to be, and the club has continued to deliver only the cream of the crop to its dedicated audience.

Jake Cox

Are hip-hop clubs an endangered species in Denver? For decades, they've been the subject of complaints from neighbors and cops alike, subject to shutdowns that last days, weeks...and sometimes forever. Over the past year or so, Roo-Bar Lounge has been slapped and LoDo's legendary Beta Event Center was closed altogether, making other clubs reluctant to take on the genre. All that makes the hip-hop parties and events that (shh!) pop up in the lobby and subterranean space at Nativ Hotel a real reason to celebrate. Fight for your right to party!

www.stampedeclub.net

With its country-Western vibe, the uninitiated might take one look at Stampede and assume it's a honky-tonk where bluegrass and country reign supreme. And while it does offer line-dancing lessons, Stampede has become known for championing Latin bands on the several nights a week that it hosts live music. The stage has been graced by the likes of Pesado, Duelo de Acordeones, Bertín y Su Condesa and Frank Reyes. In addition, every Wednesday is ladies' night, when the cover charge is only $5 and women drink for free until 11 p.m. Ándele, pues.

Courtesy of La Rumba

La Rumba celebrated 25 years in business in October 2022, but for its first two years in business, it was a swing-dance club called Ninth Avenue West. We're grateful that owner Chris Swank decided to change the club's musical direction, as La Rumba has established itself as the preeminent salsa and cumbia club in the city. There are classes in salsa, cumbia and bachata daily, and the music ranges from Dominican dembow to merengue, reggaetón and more.

Linnea Covington

One of the sweetest aspects of Nocturne is its supper-club atmosphere, something owners Scott and Nicole Mattson wanted to create when they opened the club in 2015. But the live music — exclusively jazz and showcasing the best local talent Wednesday through Sunday — is the real star here. The club also has an artist-in-residence program, with musicians typically honing their craft for six to eight weeks, giving them a distinct introduction to Denver jazz fans and helping to establish flourishing careers. Nocturne is serious about its artists, and your prepaid "dinner and a show" tab includes a percentage that goes directly to the musicians.0x2029

Molly Martin

When Bar 404 opened in December 2021 in the former home of Rory's Tavern, owners Kerry O'Brien and Marty Varela were eager to start a music program. Enter jazz veteran Ron LeGault, who had played in the building before and had experience in curating programs. After a test run of a weekly jazz series that consistently filled the room, every Wednesday since has been dedicated to free jazz performances from 7 to 9 p.m. You'll find some of the same musicians you'd see at dedicated jazz clubs around town, but for free and in a neighborhood-bar atmosphere, with cheap but delicious bar food and drinks.

The Bluebird stands out for its diverse booking practices, multi-level layout, excellent acoustics and support for local talent. But another great attribute is its location, which provides concert-goers with lots to do before and after a show. A Bluebird concert can turn into a day of East Colfax adventuring: Fill up on brunch at Denver Biscuit Company, get some spur-of-the-moment ink at Certified Tattoo Studios, then grab a pre-show drink across the street at Goosetown Tavern. And after a night of dancing to top-notch music, you'll be grateful for the late-night dining options within walking distance of the venue.

Riley Cowing

You already know the Ogden as one of Denver's top music venues, but if you're a Gen Xer, you probably remember it as the place you went on Saturday nights to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And if you're a Boomer — or even older — you might recall its first-run-flicks heyday, which the Ogden enjoyed from its opening day in 1917 through most of the twentieth century. It's only been a music destination since the mid-'90s, so the next time you're listening to your favorite new band there, take a moment to think about the kids who once gathered for the Saturday serials, the lovers coming to see Cleopatra on the silver screen, even the proto-goth Rocky Horror fanatics with their lingerie and bags of uncooked rice. You're in good company.

Eric Gruneisen

Considering that Taylor Swift is embarking on a tour that stops at the 76,000-capacity Empower Field, it's all the more impressive that the Grizzly Rose provided her a platform years ago, when she was less pop and more country. The venue has been Denver's country-music stalwart since it opened in 1989, and consistently hosts five boot-stomping events a week, including concerts from both local and national country bands, with Denver-based acts allotted several nights a week to allow for a residency of sorts. The Grizzly Rose is pure honky-tonk, with not one, but two mechanical bulls, a 2,500-square-foot raised dance floor, a pool room with five tables, an indoor smoking area and line-dancing classes — so pull on your dancing boots and mosey on down.

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