Club Nights

Donkey Den

The folks who brought us Donkey Den (1109 Lincoln Street) -- the controversial club that got off to such a fast start this past spring when a group of women protesting the name gave business a real kick in the ass -- are doing so well that they've taken over the former home of clubs Allure and Ra next door, which they're turning into Grenade. Owner Tosh Berman promises that the new club will be "sort of punk rock meets Prada," with eight pool tables, two dart setups, eleven TVs and "wireless Xboxes" on the multimedia wall, and a cool lounge. "Grenade, right now it's sort of my baby," he says. "It's a pool hall, but it's also a nightclub. Graffiti artists did big pieces of art that we'll frame on the wall." He's hoping Grenade will explode on the scene by mid-October.

And that's not all. Berman's putting a restaurant in the space between Grenade and Donkey Den -- the lounge where Lannie Garrett performed back when the building was the Denver Buffalo Company. "We're going to open a small, intimate Italian restaurant named Gavi," Berman says. "It will be a very cool sort of space," with a master chef from Spain serving a menu aimed at a more upscale crowd. And after 11 p.m., when the Donkey Den is packed most weekend nights, Gavi will turn into a dessert bar, offering fifteen desserts, champagne and port.

But that's not all, either. Donkey Den has been modified -- cool green curtains now separate the happy hour crowd from the dining room -- with a new chef in the kitchen. "I changed the menu, condensed it," Berman says. "But I kept the boycotted burger on there." And he added some of the best salsa in town. And lunch.

And still there's more. Once Berman's done with this corner of the Golden Triangle -- which he'd like people to start referring to as "SoDo" (as in South of Downtown) -- he's got his sights set on opening a Donkey Den in Boulder. Any concerns about how that will go over? "People in Boulder are much more angry than they are here," he admits.

Fans of the High Street Speakeasy, the cult bar in a reportedly haunted Victorian building at 3862 High Street, can give up the ghost. After the Speakeasy closed overnight in August, the owner had hopes of saving it -- but the space is now occupied by a Mexican sports bar. And no doubt more than a few spirits.

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Chris Decker