Bars

Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge Shutters as COVID-19 Restrictions Tighten in Denver

Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge was one of the best record shops and bars in Denver.
Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge was one of the best record shops and bars in Denver. Michael Emery Hecker
On November 21, the day after Denver moved into Level Red COVID-19 restrictions, Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge announced that what had been a temporary closing has become permanent. Bowman's will not reopen.

"We are so sad to say that we will be closing our doors," the record store, venue and bar posted on social media. "We have so much to be grateful for, though. This thing is overwhelming, as it is to so many. We love everyone that has graced us with their presence over the last five years. It has been such an amazing feeling and reward to know and have met you all.

"Words don’t have enough power to describe how much this community and you people have meant to us," the sad announcement continued. "Thank you for all of your support and to all the bands.... you rock. You were always awesome. You made our little world turn and we appreciate you."

Darian Bowman, a former bartender at the Park Tavern and a singer for Denver ’90s punk outfit Dr. Neptune, opened the spot at 1312 South Broadway in 2015. The shop offered a wide selection of vinyl and occasionally hosted concerts; it was "a little beatnik, a little bohemian, and is just right for an evening out on South Broadway," Westword wrote when it opened.

The next year, it won a Best of Denver award, the first of many accolades from Westword: "Music and liquor have a long history together, so it's not that big of a stretch to think that a record store in a bar might be a good idea. Of course it is! Longtime bartender Darin Bowman saw the beauty in that and took a chance on it by opening Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge on South Broadway late last year, creating an instant hangout for experienced album-flippers and lounge lizards alike. With a bar in front and a selection of used and new vinyl — with listening stations — in the back, Bowman's is also branching out as a live-music venue, aiming to bring the connection full circle. It's the best of both worlds: Drop in and give it a spin."

Now the music has stopped, but the memories are flowing on social media.

"Bowman’s was one of Denver’s best gems," wrote Marie Litton on Facebook. "This breaks my heart! Thank you, Darin Diggler, for giving the music community such a wonderful home."

"Thank you for all the good times and drinks!" noted Nikki Graham. "This pandemic is hitting the local music scene so hard. It breaks my heart. Hopefully new things will come after all of this is over. Take care of each other until better days."

"Sorry to hear you'll be closing," wrote Dave Alfaro. "My favorite place to hang out. Best music. Great staff. This sucks."

In its farewell post, Bowman's offered some final kind words for its staff.

"To everyone who has ever worked here, thank you," Bowman's said. "We are nothing but an empty shell and a vacant brick building without you. You welcomed the weird, the obscure and the best people. Your service was the greatest gift any business could ever ask for. From our family to all of you... please stay weird and always be true to yourself. Life is a vehicle. Keep the engine greased and the tank full of gas. Knowledge is your power. Be kind and be gentle to each other’s engine, because someday you may need a little extra fuel."
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris