Music News

Go minimal at Zen or max it out at Wicked Garden

When Kostas Kouremenos took over the old meeting hall at 940 Lincoln Street, his initial plan was to retool the space with an Asian concept, since the building's Japanese architecture would lend itself to that. But instead, in 2006 he opened an airplane-themed bar, DC10, which flew for two years before he grounded the club in August. Now he's returned to his original idea with Zen Ultra Lounge.

"Every two or three years, you gotta keep it fresh," Kouremenos says. "You gotta change the concept. That's the business I'm in. Otherwise, somebody opens downtown, they put a few couches in there, and they're like, 'Hey, we're opening a new club,' and everybody goes there. So I'm very much into keeping things fresh and bringing new concepts to Denver." With Zen, he's combining organic food and nightlife in a minimalist space. He brought in Roth Sheppard Architects, which he also used for DC10, to do the design; whereas the club's previous incarnation was very white, now the interior is black, save for some bamboo and a forest mural above the bar. On the south side, another level with booths has been added for bottle service.

But it's not all Asian: Kouremenos is also bringing in Organicity to serve organic Mediterranean cuisine, with small plates and tapas. This will be the first Organicity outside of Dallas, where the concept got its start five years ago. Denver's Organicity will open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with a Socially Conscious happy hour that runs until 7; part of the proceeds will go to charities selected by Kouremenos. The restaurant will open at 5 p.m. Saturday, and there will be a late-night menu. But after 10 p.m., the screen in front of the stage will go up, revealing a gold, custom-made Buddha. The lighting and atmosphere will change, and Zen will go into nightclub mode.

"We're not in LoDo," Kouremenos explains. "Every single dollar that comes in, we have to produce. It's something that makes us work much harder, makes us be more creative, and I think it makes us be stronger than other club owners and clubs that are downtown and just have the flow coming in. We have to bring in the business ourselves, which is fine. It just makes us be more creative."

Zen will celebrate its grand opening on Thursday, October 30, with the club's Geisha girls and resident DJ Danny at the decks. On Halloween, the club will host the Haunted Temple, and on Saturday, November 1, it's the Leather and Lace Ball. On Sunday, November 2, Zen will kick off its social industry night, with an event geared toward the fashion-industry set and stylists. The club's weekly events will start the following week: Wednesdays will be Pinup ladies' nights, with five dancers trained in classical and contemporary burlesque. Thursdays will be Tanta international nights, and DJ Khadiwala and DJ Danny will spin mash-ups of pop, Top 40, R&B and dance remixes on Fridays and Saturdays.

Club scout: Jet Entertainment Group's new club, Wicked Garden (1403 Larimer Street), will also celebrate its grand opening on Thursday, October 30, in the former Open Bar/Hush spot; Jet has vowed that this venue will be Denver's answer to Hollywood's Viper Room. The following week, Wicked Garden rolls out its weekly events, which include Daddy's Little Girl Thursdays, F*@k Me I'm Famous Fridays and SINful Sundays.

Francois Baptiste and Alvin LaCabe of 3 Deep Productions just kicked off their Saturday Swagger Check parties at Club Dynasty (3090 Downing Street), which took over the former home of Kiva/Tosh's Hacienda on October 24. DJ Chief Rocka will be spinning R&B, reggae and soul in the two-floor, three-room club. And on Saturday, November 1, Allen Iverson will be there to host the official after-party for the Nuggets/Lakers game.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon

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