Club Nights


For as long as there has been an underground rock community, there has been a connected, collective subconscious that randomly makes and kills trends. Remember trucker hats? Swooshy haircuts? Or, God, even Locust tattoos?

The scene makes you do funny things sometimes.

But the kids -- be they hipster kids, bike kids, rocker kids or whichever subset -- do have an impeccable knack for popularizing the unexpected. That, along with a drink-drank-drunk attitude and a thirst for alcohol specials, has made for gangs of badly dressed youth following each other around from one hole-in-the-wall dive bar to the next.

Over the years, a few staples have emerged: Gabor's, the Filling Station (which relies on its location just down the block from Rhinoceropolis and Glob Glob Glob, meaning it will stick around about as long as the DIY mixed-use venues do) and, of course, the infamous ultra-dive, Bar Bar.

Some spots, on the other hand, seem to last only a couple of seasons. Club 404 was once a regular Tuesday haunt, but these days it's looking like a scenester ghost town. Still, Club Scout has faith that the Broadway bar will make a warm-weather comeback, that throngs of twenty-somethings will soon amass there again, messenger bags and high-water pants in tow.

New hangouts will emerge, too, including City, O' City, which occupies the former home of WaterCourse and has been rising steadily in the scene since it opened a few months ago. And it will only get more popular as soon as people figure out that the vegan-friendly pizza joint/coffeehouse is also a fully stocked bar that keeps late-night hours -- although the drink prices do seem a bit out of budget for young punkers who live by $2 you-call-its.

That's why Scout is putting her drinking money on Crave as the next unlikely punch-drunk destination for notoriously broke scene kids. The LoDo newbie, located at 1523 Market Street in the old Club Purple space, has three floors of standard clubland fare and one unembellished basement that's looking to become an underground haven in the midst of total bro-dude territory.

"I don't feel like there's anything in LoDo that caters to the punk and indie crowd, the downtown hipsters," promoter/bartender Simon Frank says, then quickly adds, "Wait -- I shouldn't say 'hipsters.' That makes me sound pretentious."

He smiles. It's opening night for the basement experiment, which is scheduled to be a regular Wednesday gig in the lower level of Crave. The mid-week outing doesn't have a name, although music maestro/computer DJ Chip Boehm has jokingly dubbed it Just Fucking Good Music Night.

Boehm's laptop is plugged into the club's speaker system. He sits at the end of the bar, clicking and dragging songs into an iTunes playlist. Frank calls him not a DJ, but "the music selector." The mix is decisively eclectic, from indie bigwigs like TV on the Radio and Babyshambles to sentimental favorites like Lucero and Friends Forever. Requests are easily accommodated, and the casual demeanor of both Frank and Boehm suggests the kind of un-elitist mentality that the two are aiming for with their low-profile weekly event.

It's so low-profile, in fact, that there are no glossy fliers, no street team promoting it -- just a mass text message sent out every week to drinking buddies, along with some last-minute postings on MySpace. This is the new word of mouth. "It's nice to have a spot where we can do whatever the fuck we want and they don't care," Boehm says.

Upstairs, the music is thumping out Top 40 dance hits while well-dressed ladies prance around in too-tall stilettos and faux-hawked men sip bottled beer. It's typical LoDo aboveground, that's for sure. "I like this place because it feels like the cool friend's drunken parents' basement," Boehm jokes.

And while the locale may throw off the lowbrow scenester contingent, the stupidly cheap drink deals are reason alone for kids to explore this terrain: $1.50 PBRs, $2 wells, plus ladies drink free until midnight. LoDo just might get some scene cred after all.

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Tuyet Nguyen