New Event Space Zodiac Hause Is Heaven for Denver Burners | Westword

New Music Venue Zodiac Hause Is Heaven for Burners

After operating as a pop-up for years, Zodiac Hause has a new home at 800 Lincoln Street.
A view of Zodiac Hause's dance floor.
A view of Zodiac Hause's dance floor. Emily Ferguson
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On a recent Friday, Zodiac Hause was brimming with the kind of nightlife energy you'd encounter at a camp in Black Rock City. The bass from the back room was palpable as glittery club-goers queued up for drinks at the front bar, gathering supplies before surrendering to the spacious dance floor. Others were lounging on bean bags and plush couches in an adjacent room, saving themselves for the late-night surge as incense permeated the air in swirling clouds colored by violet, red, pink and blue lighting. By 1 a.m., the club was packed, with bondage-laced dancers, hula hoopers and general revelers bouncing to the sounds of Shae District.

On a weekday afternoon, the space at 800 Lincoln Street is quiet, but the Burning Man ethos remains among the plethora of plants, comfortable lounge furniture and colorful art.

After operating as a pop-up and hosting some events at a downtown studio, this is Zodiac Hause's first music venue since it was founded by Quincy Dancer, a cloud infrastructure engineer, and Gabe Evans, who runs a roofing company, in 2021. Sometimes planning parties can just seem like destiny, at least in the case of Zodiac Hause.

"Within different groups of friends, there's always like, one, two, three people who plan everything, whether they want to or not. And I've always had a propensity to do that and plan for the group," says Dancer, "especially if you want a certain type of experience."
click to enlarge plants and a lamp on a table
Plants and homey decorations abound at Zodiac Hause.
Emily Ferguson
In party scenes, friend groups ten to overlap, and the owners met through their shared love of turning a simple event into an unforgettable, inspirational moment. "We wanted to do a different kind of party — an experience," Dancer recalls. "There's a lot of amazing music and people in the city, but when you travel to other cities, there's a different feel. And we both felt there's an extreme lack of that here."

Most clubs here have the ordinary setup of lights, a DJ booth and not much else, he notes: "It feels like the same old, same old. ... We wanted to bring that different type of beach experience, holistic experience, green experience — just different, organic-type experience."

So the duo decided to start promoting pop-ups under the moniker Zodiac Hause, offering a unique, music-based experience once a month at such venues as Banshee House, Void Studios and ReelWorks. Introduced not long after the pandemic, the events offered Denver's eccentric Burner community a reliable place to find like-minded individuals. "And then we started looking into some more permanence," Dancer says. "Because you don't make any money throwing parties. Not that we're in it for the money, but we also shouldn't be struggling."

And the struggles of running a pop-up event were becoming exhausting, he says. From the organizational aspects, such as finding a venue and scheduling an available artist to the more hands-on activities, such as loading in equipment and breaking it down, it was all becoming too much work for several hours of partying. "And then you pay your staff and continue on with your life, and then whatever money you make goes to book another artist," Dancer adds. "It's excruciating; it's exhausting."
click to enlarge painting of a naked woman in red lighting
The owners curated all the art and decorations.
Emily Ferguson
Through it all, Dancer and Evans were keeping an eye out for a more permanent option. Then the spot at 800 Lincoln became available. "Gabe found this place through some sort of business relationship, and because it was available, it just became a viable thing — and almost overnight, so we had to jump on it," Dancer recalls.

That was in early December, and by the end of the month, the duo had transformed the former LowDown Brewery and adjacent Vital gym into a playa playhouse, complete with a music venue in the back. "We turned this place inside out in a week," Dancer recalls.

"Our headquarters were in a space downtown, and we'd throw an event there every once in a while...and then the building sold, so we had to move everything out into storage," he continues. "And then we found this space, and we're like, 'Well, we should just move everything here.' All that happened within, like, a month."

As the venue finds its footing, the owners are working on a membership model for Zodiac Hause. But in the meantime, the doors are open starting around noon for remote workers and networking, with events and concerts happening each weekend in partnership with nonprofits and other likeminded organizations. Events also include vendors selling their wares in the front lounge area and a wide array of non-alcoholic drink options from local makers. "We want to support the community, and nonprofits are systemically underfunded, so we're trying to partner with a couple nonprofits...and trying to understand if music-led entities and music-adjacent nonprofits could have some sort of symbiotic relationship," Dancer explains.

Zodiac Hause brings that same intention to the music it showcases, which is distinctly curated. "The music is very important," Dancer emphasizes. "Music that taps into more natural sounds — organic, tribal. It feels more tapped in and more holistic and more complex and beautiful. It works in the city, on the beach, in all these different types of situations."

When Zodiac Hause's lease ends in September (the property is slated for redevelopment), Dancer hopes that it can lengthen. "We have a good change in our business model" since the pop-ups, he says. "We want to evolve it, and if it works here, then when the next place comes along, we have a better idea of what we're doing."

In the meantime, the venue will continue doing what it does best: bringing high-quality events to the inclusive Denver Burner scene.

"It's kind of like a clarion call to our community," Dancer concludes. "That community brings in the energy, and the energy is very, very important."
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