After publishing the Best of Denver 2018, we decided to look back on some of the most popular award categories. Compiling this list of all the Best New Club honorees in our Best of Denver edition since 2008, we were sadly reminded of just how finicky the nightlife crowd can be. Six of the ten best new clubs we've picked over the past decade have closed.
As any restaurateur or nightclub owner will tell you, trends are a gift and a curse in their industries.
Keep reading for a nostalgic trip through Denver nightlife over the past ten years. We've included the blurbs we wrote for the club the year it won and italicized updates.
1422 Larimer Street
Nearly two years after opening the basement-level Slim 7, Bill Ward expanded his subterranean empire to the other side of Larimer Square, taking over the 6,000-square-foot space that formerly housed the Champion Brewing Company and transforming it into two clubs, Pie Hole and Below. They're about as yin and yang as it gets: Pie Hole is the brightly lit, sparsely finished late-night pizza joint, while Below is a dark, candle-filled gothic lair pulled out of the pages of an Anne Rice novel. Nosferatu would foam at the mouth at the sight of this killer den — but to make sure the place stays lively, Ward has brought in nationally known DJs, as well as Lipgloss DJ Michael Trundle, who helms the club's weekly Recession Wednesdays. Below has closed.
Suite Two Hundred
1427 Larimer Street
Francois Safieddine has been in the LoDo club business for fifteen years. During that time, he's launched such hot spots as Lotus, Monarck, 5 Degrees, Mynt and, a year ago, his super-posh 24K club. But Suite Two Hundred might just be the feather in Safieddine's cap. Since it opened last August, the ultra-slick upscale club, located in the former Lucky Star space, has brought in nationally known celebrities such as Aubrey O'Day, Lady Gaga, Rock of Love's Daisy de la Hoya and Playboy Playmates to host parties that, in turn, attract many a local sports celebrity. While the club is usually packed on the weekends, its Room Service industry nights have also become the place to be on Tuesdays in LoDo. Suite Two Hundred has closed.
Casselman's Bar & Venue
2620 Walnut Street
In the year since Adam and Andrew Ranes opened Casselman's Bar & Venue, it's gone from a 9,000-square-foot space with a lot of potential to an outstanding, multi-use venue that's equally inviting whether it's being used for live music or corporate events. While the back room, which was a distribution warehouse for the May Company in the ’40s and ’50s, used to sound a bit boomy, a new sound system has done wonders for the place. So has the talent-buying team of Caddy Cadwell and Samantha Hanson, who are gradually ramping up the caliber of national acts coming to Casselman's. Casselman's has closed.
608 East 13th Avenue
After close to a twenty-year run as the Snake Pit, this Capitol Hill hangout got a much-needed makeover before it opened as Beauty Bar last June. Based on the original Beauty Bar concept that got its start in New York in 1995, Denver's Beauty Bar (there are similar clubs in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Las Vegas) was brought to life by partners Noah Ray McMahan, Justin Martinez and Mike Barnhart, who turned the 3,200-square-foot space into a sparkly new club that captures the ’50s beauty-parlor aesthetic of the original bar. Some of the furniture was salvaged from old salons, while booths and chairs left over from the Snake Pit era were reupholstered in black and silver glitter vinyl by a lowrider shop. Armed with a killer KS Audio sound system, the main room is a great spot for dancing to resident DJs or the nationally known spinners who occasionally pop in. Beauty Bar has closed; today the space is home to another winner.
1445 Market Street
As the head of Lotus Concepts, Francois Safieddine has carved out a niche in the Denver club scene with Suite Two Hundred, 24K and the Oak Tavern. His newest venture, Chloe, is a lot more than just a chic discotheque; it's also a lounge, and a restaurant that serves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Named after a fictitious jet-setting fashionista, the space definitely has a worldly feel, and the disco has a European vibe from floor to ceiling, as well as a 22-foot LED wall. Attracting its share of local celebrities and trendsetters, Chloe might just be the most stylish spot in town. Chloe has closed.
NORAD Dance Bar
821 22nd Street
Following a stretch as the third incarnation of the venerable Muddy's coffeehouse, the triangular building at 22nd and Champa was home to quite a few dance clubs, including Club Evolution, the Loft, Club Ra, Gallery 22 and 2200. No one seemed to be able to make the venue work — until NORAD moved in. Owner Preston Douglas, who formerly wore multiple hats at Beta, clearly knows what he's doing, and he's hosted some of the biggest names in underground music since opening NORAD. With a sound system comparable to that of some of the biggest local dance clubs, this place keeps things pumping big time. NORAD has closed.
2015 Market Street
Lotus Clubs founder Francois Safieddine, who owns Chloe and Suite Two Hundred, clearly knows a thing or two about dance clubs. He took a slightly different approach with ViewHouse, which opened just before the start of the 2013 baseball season, in the former home of Mori Japanese Restaurant. Safieddine pulled out all the stops to honor the ViewHouse name, transforming the venue into a 20,000-square-foot party palace topped by a deck with a breathtaking view of the mountains and Coors Field. ViewHouse is doing just fine; today there are also locations in the Denver Tech Center and Littleton.
1427 Larimer Street
Lotus Clubs owner Francois Safieddine has had a long and successful history in Denver's nightlife, especially with more recent venues like Chloe and both ViewHouse locations. While Chloe is a stylish dance club/restaurant, Safieddine went a step further when he opened Vie in late 2014 at 1427 Larimer Street. Formerly Suite Two Hundred, the 7,000-square-foot space has been transformed into an ultra-chic dance club. Vie brings in local and national EDM talent and features state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. Vie has closed.
608 East 13th Avenue
The building at 608 East 13th Avenue housed the venerable Snake Pit for nearly two decades before the Beauty Bar took over in 2010. When that venue closed last June, co-owner Mike Barnhart and manager Tucker Schwab spent the next few months transforming the space into a super-cool dance club and music venue on one side and a neighborhood bar on the other. Pearl's hosts the ever-popular Motown Thursdays — with free chicken and waffles — as well as other weekly and monthly dance nights.
The Black Box
314 East 13th Avenue
The building at 314 East 13th Avenue has housed several different venues over the past decade, including Bender's Tavern and Quixote's True Blue, but the place didn't truly start rocking the deep bass until Sub.mission's Nicole Cacciavillano took it over and opened in the fall of 2016 as the Black Box. While the dual-room club, which sports a powerful, state-of-the-art Basscouch sound system, brings in a number of local and national dubstep acts on a regular basis, a variety of EDM artists perform in both rooms throughout the week.
And the best new club in Denver in 2018 is...
Over the past decade, San Francisco's Temple Nightclub has built up a strong following, and last year, CEO and founder Paul Hemming opened an outpost in Denver, in the former City Hall location. The super-futuristic three-story venue, which Hemming calls "a love child of Burning Man and Las Vegas," has presented heavy-hitting EDM talent like Fedde Le Grand and Benny Benassi, who play jams pumped through a booming Funktion-One sound system. The club's LED-covered walls and laser light shows give the space a sci-fi-flavored ambience.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.