Colorado's Best Indoor Music Venues

Leftover Salmon played opening night at 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco on October 30, 2018.
Leftover Salmon played opening night at 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco on October 30, 2018. Jenise Jensen

Red Rocks Amphitheatre and a proliferation of outdoor festivals bring a host of national artists to Colorado during the warmer months, so winter can be a slow time for music fans. But the state has plenty of top-notch indoor venues to enjoy, in Denver and the surrounding suburbs as well as mountain towns such as Frisco and Estes Park.

Below is a list of ten of our favorite new, old and very old venues in Colorado, from cozy bars like Syntax Physic Opera to the 101-year-old Ogden Theatre and the revamped Fillmore Auditorium.

click to enlarge Leftover Salmon played opening night at 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco on October 30, 2018. - JENISE JENSEN
Leftover Salmon played opening night at 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco on October 30, 2018.
Jenise Jensen
10 Mile Music Hall
After running the Barkley Ballroom in downtown Frisco for more than five years, owners Todd Altschuler and Keegan Casey decided to take things to a new level with 10 Mile Music Hall, which opened down the street last month with two shows by Leftover Salmon. The 750-person room has a number of jam-centric and electronica shows lined up for the winter, including the Disco Biscuits, Minnesota, and the Infamous Stringdusters.

click to enlarge A rendering of the new Buffalo Rose. - COURTESY OF BUFFALO ROSE
A rendering of the new Buffalo Rose.
Courtesy of Buffalo Rose
Buffalo Rose
In November last year, the Buffalo Rose in Golden closed for an extensive remodel. The event-center side of the building will open on January 25 as part of the UllrGrass Music and Beer Festival, while the restaurant and bar side will open in the spring. One of Colorado’s oldest bars, the Buffalo Rose hadn’t seen any major enhancements since the mid-’80s. Chris Cone, who bought the bar and music venue in 2016, said his first priority was to preserve much of the existing structure while completely overhauling the interior, including HVAC and electrical systems, flooring, lights, furniture and layout. The February calendar includes the Hazel Miller and Austin Young bands, as well as tribute bands Under a Blood Red Sky, Citizen Dan and KISSM.

Dazzle dazzles. - FACEBOOK
Dazzle dazzles.
After nearly two decades in the Golden Triangle, Dazzle moved to much bigger digs in the Baur’s building downtown. The new space, which just about doubled the capacity of the old location, had a stellar October with high-profile acts from the ECM label; in December, the venue is bringing in some great saxophonists, such as Houston Person and Javon Jackson.

click to enlarge The updated Fillmore Auditorium. - ALIVE COVERAGE
The updated Fillmore Auditorium.
Alive Coverage
Fillmore Auditorium
Fillmore Auditorium, which took over the longtime home of the Mammoth Events Center, will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2019. Over the past year, the Fillmore has gotten a multimillion-dollar renovation that includes gradated tiers throughout the main floor area, creating better sight lines; new seating areas on the east and west sides of the venue; expanded restrooms; and updated decor. More upgrades to the 3,600-capacity venue will be completed in the coming months.

Oakland l. Childers

Mutiny Information Cafe
Sure, Mutiny is a cool-ass space that’s packed with books, graphic novels, CDs and vinyl, and it’s got its own coffee shop, but it’s also an all-ages venue that hosts book readings, live podcast recordings and a wildly eclectic assortment of music acts, from punk, avant-garde and metal to electronica, hip-hop and jazz.

Ogden Theatre
When the Ogden Theatre first opened 101 years ago, it hosted organ recitals, dances and vaudeville acts before becoming a movie theater. Promoter Doug Kauffman bought the Ogden in 1992 and opened it a year later as a full-time music venue with a 1,600-person capacity. Over the past dozen years, AEG has booked a steady stream of primarily national acts there. This winter’s lineup includes Gogol Bordello, Railroad Earth, the Infamous Stringdusters, Desert Dwellers, RJD2 and many more.

click to enlarge DIY space Seventh Circle Music Collective. - JON TURNER
DIY space Seventh Circle Music Collective.
Jon Turner

Seventh Circle Music Collective
Once home to DIY venue Blast-O-Mat, Seventh Circle started with the mission to provide a safe space for all sorts of music and a meeting place for cultural and artistic endeavors. The spot, Denver's strongest and longest-running aboveground DIY space, books as many as five a shows a week, including local acts, obscure touring bands and occasionally a big-name artist looking to play in a community-run venue. 

click to enlarge A shot of the main auditorium, with its hydraulic glass door, in the Pavilion complex at the Stanley. - COURTESY OF THE STANLEY HOTEL
A shot of the main auditorium, with its hydraulic glass door, in the Pavilion complex at the Stanley.
Courtesy of the Stanley Hotel

Pavilion Amphitheatre at the Stanley Hotel
The Stanley, the reportedly haunted Estes Park hotel that served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, has hosted a handful of concerts over the past few years. Earlier this year, the Stanley opened a beautiful new venue, the Pavilion Amphitheater, and last month, AEG Presents Rocky Mountains inked a deal with the hotel to book sixty events per year. Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Murder by Death, Los Lonely Boys, Guster and others are slated to play at the Stanley this winter.

click to enlarge Swallow Hill Music - SCOTT MCCORMICK
Swallow Hill Music
Scott McCormick
Swallow Hill Music
While Swallow Hill Music has been educating students at its music school for the past four decades, its three venues bring in some of world’s best folk and roots acts and singer-songwriters. Acoustic Eidolon, Cheryl Wheeler, Sons and Brothers, Julie Geller and Harry Tuft (founder of the Denver Folklore Center) are just a few of the acts scheduled to play there this winter.

click to enlarge Hang Rounders at Syntax Physic Opera. - KENNETH HAMBLIN III
Hang Rounders at Syntax Physic Opera.
Kenneth Hamblin III
Syntax Physic Opera
Now in its fifth year, the cozy Syntax Physic Opera is an ideal spot for checking out an assortment of local acts and regular dance parties, including Mile High Soul Club, Funk Club and Weird Touch. The music venue, eatery and art bar also hosts one of the best singer-songwriter open-mic nights in town, as well as weekly comedy open-mic nights and jazz jams.
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