Lists

Ten New and Revamped Denver Venues in 2019

Outside the Mission Ballroom.
Outside the Mission Ballroom. Michael Emery Hecker

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click to enlarge The Mission in action. - MICHAEL EMERY HECKER
The Mission in action.
Michael Emery Hecker
Mission Ballroom
4242 Wynkoop Street

Of all Denver promoters, AEG made the biggest waves in 2019 with its brand-new Mission Ballroom, a medium-sized venue boasting a moving stage that makes the house look full whether 2,500 or 3,950 people are in attendance. With stunning sound, a selection of murals from Denver-area artists, tiered Red Rocks-style amphitheater seating, a large floor and VIP seats, to boot, the Mission has been designed to be the best venue in Colorado — and while there are plenty of spaces that hold their own, it's lived up to much of the hype.

Owsley's Crazy Diamond
1700 Logan Street

Jay Bianchi, who has had the corner on Denver's deadhead bar scene for years, opened up Owsley's Crazy Diamond in the old Avenue Theater space, adjacent to Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple. The new venue is named after Dead soundman and LSD chemist Owsley Stanley. While the space hosts plenty of concerts, Bianchi has also planned film screenings and burlesque. It's the latest in this notorious countercultural entrepreneur's wild career.

Neon Baby
1942 Market Street

The new pop-up disco club Neon Baby, a sister to the Yeah Baby nightclub in the RiNo Art District (which closed for renovations), opened in May with a late-night dance party and selfie-friendly decor. That spot, located in a historic temple, has become a staple of Denver nightlife.  Creative director Josh Sampson's goal with both of these projects has been to reimagine what dance parties can be and celebrate the possibility of transformation. His vision has been a smash success.

Rhinoceropolis
3554 Brighton Boulevard

In late 2016, two of Denver's most popular DIY hubs — Rhinoceropolis and its sister venue, Glob — were shuttered by Denver safety-code enforcers in the wake of Oakland's Ghost Ship fire. After years of grueling labor and cumbersome negotiations with the city, Rhinoceropolis is open once again. Equipped with a new sound system and a team of passionate volunteers, the space continues its long tradition of hosting underground, experimental and electronic shows and wild art.

Roxy Broadway
554 South Broadway

Denver's independent music scene was heartbroken earlier this year when Syntax Physic Opera announced it had shuttered its doors. The space had been purchased by a California-based entrepreneur who decided to bring her Encinitas-based concept, the Roxy, to Denver. Many were appalled that an outsider would bring in a new venue that shared a name with a historic Denver staple, the Roxy in Five Points. But thanks to Anthony Ruptak and others, the new venue in the Syntax space has maintained a commitment to local musicians and continues to be run independently. With new decor and an updated menu, the Roxy continues Syntax's long tradition of excellence, despite an awkward arrival. 


What are your favorite new venues in Denver? Let us know at [email protected]
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris