Sure, Colfax Avenue boasts many of the city's best music venues, but Broadway has its share of spots where you can hear live music, too. Walk down that strip and you'll find places that host punk, metal, indie rock, honky-tonk, jazz and pretty much everything in between. Starting at Mutiny Information Cafe and working our way south, here are a handful of our favorite music venues on Broadway. If you're looking for more about this storied street, check out this week's Westword cover story.
Mutiny Information Cafe
2 South Broadway
Stuffed to the gills with new and used books, graphic novels, local-band CDs and vinyl, Mutiny Information Cafe is a place where you can sit at a table, sip coffee and flip through a book while a loud punk band plays on the floor just a few feet away. It's a rarely seen juxtaposition, but it's one that works alarmingly well. Rather than just keep Mutiny as a bookstore, the owners continue to cultivate the music community, opening up their doors to bands of all kinds and letting them play as loud as they want.
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7 South Broadway
Since opening in 2003, the hi-dive has become a Denver institution. Many top-shelf local bands got their start at the intimate South Broadway bar, which sits smack-dab in the middle of the Baker neighborhood. And even though many of those groups can now easily fill places twice its size, they still make it down to the hi-dive to perform on a regular basis.
3 Kings Tavern
60 South Broadway
Calling 3 Kings Tavern a rock bar only hints at the entertainment to be found at the South Broadway mainstay. From burlesque revues and dance nights to a full calendar of shows by top-notch local talent and compelling national acts (Red Fang and High Fire among them), 3 Kings has something for everyone.
140 South Broadway
The stalwart watering hole moved in 2003 from its sixty-year home at 58 South Broadway to roomier digs at 140 South, but the revered smoky atmosphere was carefully transferred, along with the pinups and classic Western and sci-fi movie posters that still hang over maroon booths. The Skylark brings its share of rockabilly, honky-tonk and rock bands on a weekly basis.
Read on for more of the best music venues on Broadway.
Syntax Physic Opera
554 South Broadway
Once a revered talent buyer at the Meadowlark, Jonathan Bitz opened music venue, eatery and bar Syntax Physic Opera in 2013. "Physic Opera is sort of a Latin phrase that the insiders would call a medicine show," he says. "The idea is that it is a medicine show — that everything is medicine, from the food to the drinks to the art to the music to the conversation, hopefully." The venue brings a variety of local acts as well as weekly jazz nights, monthly dance parties like Mile High Soul Club and Weird Touch, a songwriters' open-mic night and a comedy open mic.
1578 South Broadway
A kind of petri dish for the local-music scene, Herman's Hideaway opens its stage to bands in their gestation period as well as more accomplished acts that draw well on weekend nights. The space, which opened in 1962, is an open room with minimal adornment. Herman's feels a bit like a big basement where young players come together to perform for friends while also bringing in big names over the years like Phish — which played its first Denver show here — Widespread Panic, Jane’s Addiction and Faith No More.
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1643 South Broadway
French elegance and an artistic bent keep La Cour's stretch of South Broadway cooler than ever. A pastel building decorated with curated pieces from local artists and a menu of Parisian-style plates complete the feeling of a real Gallic bistro. It’s one of the only spots on South Broadway to host live jazz on a regular basis.
3263 South Broadway, Englewood
Opened during the Roaring Twenties, the Gothic Theatre had a long run as a movie house until Steve Schalk took it over in the late ’90s, saving it from the wrecking ball. Schalk remodeled and rebuilt the venue from the foundation to the roof, but left the theater's art-deco-style interior intact. Now it's a magnificent venue with old-world charm, great sound and a progressive booking policy. Beyond its aesthetic qualities — and there are many — the theater takes chances on lesser-known national acts, as well as providing a home for creative local projects that might not otherwise have a stage. In early 2013, AEG Live Rocky Mountains (now AEG Presents Rocky Mountains) took over both the booking and the operation of the venue.
Moe's Original BBQ & Bowl
3295 South Broadway, Englewood
Moe's Original Bar-B-Que, a Colorado-based chain started by out-of-state transplants, has grown into a group of restaurants across the country, including three in the metro area. This Englewood outpost, a few doors down from the Gothic Theatre, brings in a variety of local bands, whether it be punk, metal or jam bands, as well as the occasional national act like surf-guitar legend Dick Dale.