While there are rumors that El Chapultepec was operating as a speakeasy during Prohibition, it legally opened at the end of Prohibition, in 1933. Over the past eight decades, the infamous jazz and blues club has hosted a number of jazz greats, like Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker and Eddie Harris, as well as a host of other distinguished guests including rockers like Bono and Mick Jagger and former president Bill Clinton. To commemorate its eightieth anniversary, the bar will kick off a week-long celebration on Sunday, August 4.
Jerry Krantz, who passed away last year at the age of 77, inherited the bar from his father-in-law, Tony Romano, in the 1970s. When he first took it over, Krantz originally booked mariachi acts in the venue on the weekends, but later starting booking jazz acts. His daughter Angela Guerrero is now carrying on the tradition of live music there.
"The best of the best and the greatest of the greatest came through that place and played there because they could count on a great rhythm section and an open-door policy to visiting jazz dignitaries that is very rare across the county," says saxophonist Max Wagner, who spent more than three years heading up the house band.
If you wear a throwback 'Pec T-shirt during the celebration week, you'll get a special 80th-anniversary T-shirt for just $5; guests are also asked to bring pictures of themselves or celebrities at the club for the anniversary picture board.
Here's the entertainment lineup for the anniversary week:
- Sunday, August 4, 2 p.m.-1 a.m.: TeraBlu 2-5 p.m., The Heavy Heavies 5:30-8:30 p.m., Tony Black Summit 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Corona swag give-a-ways, Silver Coin Tequila tastings. - Monday, August 5: Blues Jam Session Hosted by David Booker 8 p.m.-12 a.m. 10 percent of proceeds will go to the Denver Musician's Association Emergency Assistance Fund. - Tuesday, August 6: Diana Castro Funk Band 9 p.m.-1 a.m. 10 percent of proceeds will go to the St. Francis Center. - Wednesday, August 7: Freddy Rodriguez Sr. Quartet 9 p.m.-1 a.m. 10 percent of proceeds will go to the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. - Thursday, August 8: Freddy Rodriguez Sr. Quartet 9 p.m.-1 a.m. 10 percent of proceeds will go to Jazz 89.3 KUVO. - Friday, August 9: Judge Roughneck 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Coors swag give-a-ways from the Coors Girls. - Saturday, August 10: Byron Shaw Projex 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Rockies post-game celebration.