See Also: - Boulder's five biggest hipster bars - Denver's biggest hipster bars - Five best midsize venues in LoDo and Ballpark - Denver's ten best karaoke bars - Denver's ten best dance clubs - Five best places to buy vinyl
Just as music collections say a lot about people, a jukebox can do the same for a bar; it often reflect the place's personality. A lot of times, variety is key to a well-stocked jukebox, and 3 Kings Tavern, this year's winner in the Best of Denver, had that with balls, to boot. Here's a look at the ten best jukeboxes in Denver:
10. Barry's on Broadway, 58 Broadway When you pull up the A's on Barry's Internet-based TouchTunes jukebox, it's a bit scary that there's a bunch of Alabama, Jason Aldean, John Anderson, Gary Allan and Allman Brothers. But while it's heavy with country and Southern rock, there's also some metal (Avenged Sevenfold), some Finnish cello rock (Apocalyptica), and Chris Cornell's side project, Audioslave. There's also a good variety of rock, classic rock and R&B. 9. The Streets of London Pub, 1501 East Colfax Avenue With a moniker like Streets of London, you'd think the jukebox would be U.K.-centric, but it's a lot more than that. Sure, there's a 2-Tone ska compilation, Duran Duran's Decade, Total Madness, the Very Best of the Jam and a few Led Zeppelin albums, but there's also a whole lot of American rock, including Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett and Kiss. Blues fans might dig the selection of Albert King and John Lee Hooker, while the punk set will like the Husker Du and Helmet. 8. Carioca Cafe (Bar Bar), 2060 Champa Street While the music of Tom Waits might seem fitting in many of these spots, it especially works at Bar Bar. It makes sense that the bar has a disc like Used Songs, a collection of Waits's songs from 1973 to 1980, as Waits himself would have been right at home at a place like this. But there's also stuff on here that he might dig, like Merle Haggard, Sinatra and Johnny Cash. 7. Nob Hill Inn, 420 East Colfax Avenue The jukebox here is heavy on the country, everything from older stuff like Patsy Cline to newer country like Toby Keith. And there's also some Merle Haggard and David Alan Coe, who could probably eat Keith for dinner. Sprinkled in with the country and some blues are some classic-rock mix CDs that include the likes of CCR, George Thorogood, the Stones and ZZ Top. 6. P.S. Lounge, 3416 East Colfax Avenue Another diverse one, the P.S. Lounge's juke sports everything from the blues -- acts like John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan -- to jazz players like Chet Baker, Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus, to classic rockers like Jethro Tull and the Doors and country folks like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. There's enough alt-rock variety to appease most tastes, whether it be Oasis, Vampire Weekend or the Cure. There are also quite a few mixes thrown in from various decades, as well as soundtracks from, for instance, Pulp Fiction and Swingers. 5. Lancer Lounge, 233 East 7th Avenue Open up most any page of the Lancer Lounge's juke and you'll see just how diverse it is: the Grateful Dead sits next to Queen, Frank Sinatra is next to the Stones, and Tommy James & the Shondells are next to jazz tenor player Ben Webster. There's enough classic jazz here to satisfy any schooled jazzhead, as well as a decent selection of soul, R&B and funk. 4. Skylark Lounge, 140 South Broadway The music on the Skylark's juke perfectly complements the rest of the retro-centric spot, which is lined with vintage movie posters. There's plenty of rockabilly and country a la Johnny Cash, Bob Wills and Hank Williams, but there ain't a whole lot of stuff that's been released in the past few decades. Depending upon your perspective, that can be a damn good thing. 3. The Cruise Room, 1600 17th Street Out of this top-ten list, the Cruise Room is the only juke that plays vinyl. The Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 from the '50s doesn't skimp on crooners like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, or legendary jazzers like Louis Armstrong or Woody Herman. But it's also got a little bit 'o soul with Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin. Although there are coin slots on the juke, it's actually free. 2. Lion's Lair, 2022 East Colfax Avenue Winner of the best juke box last year and in 2004, Lions Lair's juke has one of the most eclectic collections in town. It's stocked with everything from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters to the Stones and Zeppelin to Hendrix and Iron Maiden. Oh, and there's some Black Sabbath and AC/DC thrown in for good measure. Of course, punk is present and accounted for, too, with the likes of the Clash (Joe Strummer drank here), X (John Doe plays the Lair nearly every time he comes to town) and Iggy. And along with at least five discs by Bruce Springsteen and a few by soul singers such as Otis Redding and Curtis Mayfield, you'll even find Miles Davis's watershed recording, Kind of Blue. 1. 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway Sure, you've got thousands of songs at your fingertips on those Internet jukeboxes, but the old-school CD jukes just feel like they've got soul -- or at least character. When you're flipping through the pages of 3 Kings Tavern's Rock-Ola Legend, which seems like it's at least a few decades old, the selection process is much more tangible, whether you're hunting for AC/DC, Crue, Stones, Skynyrd, Big Black, X's Live at the Whisky a Go-Go, or one of the stellar mix CDs. And since a stream of local acts plays at 3 Kings, it's not surprising that the juke is also stocked with a fair amount of the city's finest punk bands, including King Rat, Frontside Five and such dearly departed icons as Planes Mistaken for Stars.
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