On Halloween, three people were shot outside Posh Ultra Nightclub (4040 East Evans Avenue); one, John Singleton, died a few days later. The following Saturday was quiet at the club, with maybe twenty people scattered through the multi-level space, which was previously Midtown Beat, and the Deadbeat Club before that. A few guys were hanging on the patio, watching three policemen talking to a middle-aged African-American man sitting in a blue Cadillac parked in the lot. More cops were driving around the club.
For Steve Lyons, who opened Posh with his wife at the beginning of 2008, the police attention came a little late. "I think the Denver police kind of created this situation, because they never did want to help me," he said. "At one time we had police in here. But because the club started having a heavy black presence, they didn't want to have anything to do with it."
On Halloween, the club was already at capacity when a group arrived and wasn't allowed inside. "They were in the parking lot, and we were trying to get the people to move out of the parking lot and leave," Lyons recalled. "They wouldn't leave, and we kept telling them they had to leave, and we called the police. Then all that stuff broke out."
Stuff that he thinks could have been avoided if the Denver Police Department had allowed off-duty cops to continue working at the club. "We did a lot a lot of things for security measures because we started having big crowds on Saturdays," Lyons continued. The police asked him to put in extra lighting and take "a lot of different measures to make sure that the safety of the people, not only in Posh, but in the neighborhood, were in a better position, and I had done all those things." But while the DPD was "indicating that there was a possibility of bringing the officers back, the ban came from the chief of police."
"It's the chief's discretion where officers are allowed to work," says DPD spokesman Sonny Jackson. "It always has been. We're more than happy to work with any bar, whether it be in District 6, 2, 3 or 4, making sure things are safe. If it comes to a point where we feel like [a club isn't] taking enough measures, the chief has the discretion to say, 'We're not going to have our officers work here.' We'll respond and act accordingly, but at the same time, we've got to protect the integrity of the department. But our main goal always is the safety of the public, which could be the patrons of the bar as well as the bar itself."
Lyons, who says he went through a lot with the city just to get the club open, is now predicting that the city will do everything it can to close Posh. But according to DPD captain Judith Will, Denver's public nuisance abatement coordinator, the city isn't out to shut down Posh. "We're looking forward to meeting with the owners and the managers of the business," she says. "We'll begin that way, maybe bring in different players from different city agencies that might have a vested interest. We're not saying there is any foul at this point on the part of the owners. This is an effort to look at how we can help, how we can make it better."
In the meantime, the DPD just posted a Crime Stoppers alert regarding the Posh shooting; there's now a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible. Stay tuned.
Club scout: In August 2007, Shane Alexander and Josh Hawkins opened the swank club Thëorie at 1920 Market Street, in what had been the Real World: Denver house and B-52 Billiards before that. But just a year into the deal, the two jumped ship and the owner brought in Paul Piciocchi, owner of the nearby Tryst (1512 Larimer Street), to run it. He lasted a year before Thëorie finally closed its doors on October 31; a sports bar is slated to go in the space. But then, Piciocchi is getting ready to open a sports bar of his own, The Drink, along with Mix Music Lounge and Rack & Rye, a gastropub, all in the former home of Alto, at 1320 15th Street.
DJ Uplifter, who hosts the Dub Palace live broadcasts the first Sunday of the month at the Meadowlark (2701 Larimer Street) is moving Roots Dance to the club on the third Friday of the month, starting November 20. The conscious reggae party, co-hosted by DaTeacha, kicks off at 9 p.m.; Fetien of Konjo Catering will serve Ethiopian food, and there's a $5 cover.