Heartthrob: 10175 E. Hampden Ave., 303-755-3300. Dancers looking for ´70s and ´80s music without all the LoDo fuss can follow a pink neon heart to Heartthrob. A huge yellow peace sign above the entrance suggests the vibe inside this cute building, where huge dance floors host mobs who'd rather pretend the ´90s never happened.
Herb's Hideout: 2057 Larimer St., 303-299-9555. Once described by Stuff magazine as "a dive bar where hot women actually go," Herb's Hideout hosts live jazz, blues and R&B bands some nights, as well as DJs on others, in a wonderfully unpretentious vintage setting. The drinks are strong, the bartenders are friendly, and the music is more for swingin' than settin'. At times overrun with twenty-somethings looking for an alternative to LoDo nightlife, the place is usually stocked with a heterogeneous mix of the hip and unhip.
Herman's Hideaway: 1578 S. Broadway, 303-777-5840. A kind of petri dish for the local-music scene, Herman's Hideaway opens its stage to bands in their gestation period as well as more accomplished acts that draw well on weekend nights. An open room with minimal adornment, Herman's feels a bit like a big basement where young players come together to perform for friends, especially during the weekly New Talent Showcase.
hi-dive/Sputnik: 7 S. Broadway, 720-570-4500. The Grateful Dead posters are gone, but don't expect too many major changes since the hi-dive took over the space most recently occupied by Quixote's. Mixing the prior tenant's smart use of space with an overhauled musical lineup, the dive and partner Sputnik offer a cleaner, comfier version of the old 7 South's punk-club kitsch.
High Street Speakeasy: 3862 High St., 303-298-9333. North Denver's favorite haunt and historical landmark, the High Street Speakeasy is more down-to-earth bar than new-age hotspot, despite its reputation for otherworldly activity. Regular patrons and curious visitors can expect good service, even if they don't see a ghost.
Hornet: 76 Broadway, 303-777-7676. Patrons get a snootfull of music with their drinks on Thursdays at the Hornet, a Broadway installation more yuppified than its quaint and quirky surroundings. Finding a seat may not always be easy, but enjoying the sweet bebop combos is almost guaranteed.
Hush: 1403 Larimer St., 303-623-4874. Hush is a tiny, cover-free subterranean hovel in Larimer Square where Beautiful People and Average Joes converge. It's got enough fluffy furniture to sink into, so those who arrive early have the best seat in the house to see clubbers scratching their heads over the unisexed bathrooms or tripping and tumbling their way through the dark. Don't think of it as stumbling over strangers in a dimly lit room; think of it as flirtatious fun.
Illegal Pete's: 1530 16th St., 303-623-2169. Who put the beat in your burrito? Illegal Pete's did. Which tables get moved to cram the DJs into this glass-fronted LoDo Chipotle-with-a-bar? Better yet, how do you dance without spilling your -- or your neighbor's -- salsa? Follow the smell of fat burritos or the sound of phatter tracks to find out.
Iliff Park Saloon: 2300 S. Chambers Rd., Aurora, 303-696-1404. Recent remodeling projects at the Iliff Park Saloon began with a thorough cleaning, which brightened the Aurora rock bar considerably. So while mullets and big hair are still welcome, they're no longer required. A large bar and a big-screen TV are among other improvements to the hole-in-the-wall room, which is home to many heavy bands.
Impulse Theater: 1634 18th St., 303-297-2111. Audiences shape the shows inside the Impulse Theater, a smoke-free space located in the bowels of the Wynkoop Brewing Co., and a cast of actors and comics improvise their way through the often absurd scenarios thrown out by the crowd. Bar service is available in the theater.
Ironworks Brewery: 12354 W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood, 303-985-5818. The brewing machinery is prominently displayed in the window of Ironworks, where eight-ball tournaments are taken seriously and a lava-lamp tree sees all. Rock bands work the spartan, metallic pub on weekends; gamers turn up for darts, pool and good beer seven nights a week. The house brews can be purchased to go in 2.25-gallon Party Pigs.
Jammin' Joe's: 7129 Sheridan Blvd., Westminster, 303-428-4597. Blues lovers come to Jammin' Joe's for live music, karaoke and a bucolic atmosphere. A sunken floor for billiards and several loft tables add to the quirky congeniality of the relaxed setting.
Jazz @ Jacks: 1553 Platte St., #202, 303-433-1000. Music notes lead the way down a hall to Jazz @ Jacks, an intimate non-smoking venue near the lofty Riverfront Park neighborhood. All seats point to the stage, where artists wielding synths and soprano saxophones perform for patrons who prefer their jazz on the lite side. Local jokers perform sketch comedy on Thursday nights.