Music News

Now that BJ's is closed, drag nights have moved to the Atrium Bar & Grill

BJ's Carousel, Denver's longest-running gay bar, finally closed its doors at 1380 South Broadway at the end of July, leaving a big hole in the local drag-queen scene. Now Delilah Winters, Sable West Lamar and Cher West are moving Divalicious and the Way Out West Revue, two of the biggest drag shows at BJ's, up the street to the Atrium Bar & Grill, which just celebrated its thirteenth anniversary.

Over the past month, the three have been busy overhauling half of the bar at 554 South Broadway, transforming it into a showroom — with their own money. "Basically, the agreement was you come in here, spruce it up and we'll let you operate it," Winters says. "It's kind of a win-win situation. Hopefully, it will bring people in and generate revenue for the bar. The queens have a new place to perform and a bigger place to perform."

In addition to the Divalicious and Way Out West Revue shows, which run on the second and third Saturdays of the month, the Atrium will host shows on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as burlesque on the third Sunday of the month and drag-queen bingo, which will be in a trailer park setting of sorts, on the last Sunday of the month. During the weekend drag shows, the bar will offer drink specials — something BJ's never had during its shows, Winters says — including $3 wells and $1 Natural Light drafts.

While the Saturday shows will be cast nights, Fridays will be charity shows. "When we decided we were going to do this, we were in agreement that we needed to be half and half," Winters explains. "Keep-your-money shows and give-back-to-the-community shows." The first show, on Friday, August 5, will showcase drag queens who will perform at the Atrium in the future; Winters says they're also open to letting other people use the space, as long as the money goes to charity.

Winters is hoping that many of BJ's regulars will find their way to the Atrium. "Most of the transsexuals won't have a place to go after BJ's," Winters says. "So we're hoping this will bring them in and give them another place to let their hair down."

Club scout: When Len & Bill's went dark after fifty years in March 2010, Denver lost one of its great dives. But now the space at 2301 South Broadway has reopened as Mike's Tavern. Nicole Keeney, whose father is Mike, says Len & Bill's regulars have been coming in and telling her stories about the old days, recalling how dingy the bar used to be. The Keeneys gave the place a major overhaul and even added a small patio out back; Nicole says they might create a Len & Bill's memorabilia spot with photos from those regulars on one of the freshly painted walls.

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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