Beta Bounces Back After Being Closed Over COVID-19 Violations

Beta raged before the pandemic. Now, just 100 people will be allowed in at a time.EXPAND
Beta raged before the pandemic. Now, just 100 people will be allowed in at a time.
Aaron Thackeray
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Back in June, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment indefinitely shut down Beta Event Center, the latest incarnation of the once-world-famous club at 1909 Blake Street. In the weeks since, people have broken into the closed club and stolen liquor, according to current owner Valentes Corleons. The future was looking bleak, but he held on, trying to persuade the city to give him another chance. Finally, this week, the city has allowed him get back to business.

Lights will be on, DJs Squizzy Taylor and Hollywood Cook will be spinning, and a hundred people will be there for the sold-out reopening of Beta on Saturday, August 29.

The club, which was a staple of Denver's EDM scene for eleven years, was shut down by the original owners, including Bradley Roulier, in January 2019, not long after 33-year-old patron Jacob Morton reportedly died of an overdose outside the club. After Roulier failed to sell the space, he announced he would reopen that spring as Beta 2.0. After several bumps with construction and city codes, it finally opened last fall.

Corleons, who has opened other venues in town, purchased the club after that and ruffled feathers when he brought it back, as the Beta Event Center, with more hip-hop.

Then the coronavirus came to Colorado and shut down the city in March. Beta reopened in June, and a week later the city ordered the club closed after videos surfaced of multiple guests and staff not wearing masks. At the time, Corleons said he was being targeted by the city because his clubs played hip-hop and attracted Black customers.

"I've been fighting with them for three years," he told Westword in June. "They don't like my crowd. For three years, I've been suffering. They've been trying to revoke my license. 'If you don't change your crowd, change your music, have more security, have pat-downs....' I've tried everything."

Now, he and Denver officials have made up.

"We have a good relationship with the city," Corleons says. "It's like our family. We asked them for one more chance. We're going to do everything they asked. They want us to open. They don't want us to stay closed."

Reopening comes with strict guidelines, however. The city will allow the venue, which in good times has a capacity of 1,000, to allow a maximum of 100 people inside. The twelve tables that each seat eight people are already sold out for August 29.

"We're going to have a lot of security and police officers to help us enforce all the guidelines," Corleons says.

In the weeks to come, DJs will spin EDM and techno on Thursdays, Top 40 on Fridays, hip-hop on Saturdays, and Latin music on Sundays. Eventually, Corleons plans to bring country music on Wednesday nights.

Diversifying the fan base and catering to all kinds of crowds is critical to his vision, he says. He hopes that the EDM kids who spent their twenties at previous iterations of Beta will return and view the club as theirs again.

But first and foremost, he has to keep his customers and workers healthy, and the city off his back.

"Safety is very important," says Corleons. "We have to make sure everybody is safe, everybody's wearing masks, social distancing."

Guests will be required to make reservations through the Beta website, and there will be no walk-ins permitted. When customers arrive, they will sign a COVID-19 waiver and be seated by hosts. The club is offering food and drink, and nobody will be allowed to dance.

"If they want to go to the bathroom, they wear a mask and keep social distance," Corleons vows. "We're going to do the best we could. If we don't, we're going to be shut down again."

For more information about Beta's upcoming nights and to make reservations, go to the Beta Event Center website.

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