Evolution bit the big one a few months ago when the owners of the gay-centric club at 821 22nd Street (you know, in the other part of downtown) decided to close it down for good. But the address wasn't out of circulation for long. With some fresh paint and new management, it reopened a month ago as the Loft, a chic bar whose interior rivals any of those LoDo hotspots. Intimate booths have been installed where the gay-boys used to shake their cabooses, and the overall facelift puts Joan Rivers to shame. The slick furniture is nice, almost too nice, for an area that has yet to really gentrify. (It's only a matter of time, however, before the direct-to-Mexico bus station across the street is swallowed up for a pricey loft project.)
Still, for the agoraphobic, right now the Loft's quiet locale is a pleasant change of pace from Larimer Square, where hordes of hungry singles and drunks mass every weekend.
"We wanted to bring an upscale lounge to a different neighborhood," explains manager/owner Jamie Uhlir, who, along with partners Shane Hudson and Ryuji Brumley, took over the space from Evolution owner Andy Mannsfield. And although the spotlight is no longer on the gay-and-lesbian circuit, Uhlir insists that the Loft welcomes everyone. "We have something different that Denver hasn't seen yet," he says. "Downtown is so saturated that you can't even park. Here, people don't have to worry about fights or getting attitude from the staff. We try to focus on service."
And, boy, does he mean that. Not only does the club offer the rare amenity of a free parking lot, but from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, it also features an Escalade limo service that shuttles patrons between the Loft and down-downtown. That means you can still get your pre-game drink on Five Points style, and wind up on Market Street in time for 2 a.m. Let Out. Pure genius.
All sorts of weekly events, from live bands to classic cinema to martini and manicure nights, are popping up on the Loft's calendar; for a full schedule, visit www.myspace.com/theloftdenver or call the bar at 303-296-4604.
Meanwhile, back on Larimer Square: After twenty very sober years, the Market, at 1445 Larimer Street, is going for a hotel-and-restaurant license so that it can offer beer and wine with its food offerings. Sounds good to us. The public hearing is September 11. You know how Club Scout would vote.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.