Although Casselman's Bar & Venue, which closes this weekend after a six-year run, it will leave a hole in the live music scene in RiNo, but there are still other spots to see live music in the area, some of which have around way before the area was even dubbed "RiNo." Here's a rundown of those venues.
When Scott Campbell opened the Larimer Lounge in 2002, its surrounding neighborhood was essentially a warehouse district. Since then the 200-person capacity venue has built a solid reputation as doing one thing better than anyone else in RiNo: It brings the rock, and all kinds of it, whether it’s indie rock, punk or just straight-up rock and roll. Sure, the Larimer Lounge has brought in indie rock progenitors like Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Sebadoh, and it’s also hosted acts like Arcade Fire, the Decemberists, the Killers and Bat for Lashes who have since outgrown the venue. Aside from a variety of national acts who come through every month, Larimer Lounge brings in a number of local bands as well.
The Walnut Room
When John Burr opened the Walnut Room eleven years ago, the area around it was much different than it is today. It had yet to be dubbed RiNo, and there was little to foretell the arts district that would blossom there in the coming years. The Walnut Room’s primary focus was music, though there wasn't much of a neighborhood clientele to service back then, Burr notes. Food was pretty much an afterthought. Over the last decade, Burr ramped up both the menu and live music with the help of talent buyer Randall Frazier.
Although it's a basement space, the Meadowlark features soft, tasteful lighting and a well-appointed interior that makes you forget you're below ground. The intimate spot, which opened in 2005, is a great place to see up-and-coming acts during weekly open-mike nights and outstanding players during its weekly jazz jams. DJ Low Key heads up "the Solution" on Fridays when he spins the finest in underground hip-hop.
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Nocturne, which opened nearly year ago, is one of the newer additions to the area. Scott Mattson and his wife Nicole transformed the building at 1330 27th Street from a warehouse-type space into a modern take on the 1940s jazz supper club, which has live music five nights a week. The club's interior is inspired by the 1920s and '30s Atlantic-Coast art deco of cities in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia along with more industrial components like mirrors, cement, brick and metal. The seated capacity of both the main floor and mezzanine is 104 and can hold about 170 standing.
Globe Hall, which opened in November, is technically in Globeville but it’s also on the outskirts of RiNo. It's a Texas-style smokehouse and dive bar. The venue’s owner Jeff Cornelius says he fell in love with live music while going to shows on Sixth Street, Austin's main drag for music venues. During his stint in that city, he was exposed to a variety of music. Instead of focusing on a particular genre at Globe Hall, there’s an assortment of acts — whether honky tonk, blues, reggae, bluegrass, Americana, alt-country or indie rock — playing in the 200-person music hall on Fridays and Saturdays.
Rhinoceropolis has it all — even if some of that is do-it-yourself. The venue is part show space, part home, and all living homage to every underground hangout in American teenage music history. There's no sign on the building, never any set cover charge for any show, and no question that whether Nu Sensae, Monotonix or SSION is coming through, there's a party to be had. The space is always all-ages, and open to virtually any kind of music. The venue is the not-for-profit heart of a creative community that exists for the bands, DJs, artists and people who get involved. While the block that Rhinoceropolis occupies was recently sold, the venue will still be operating for a while and has shows booked through May.
Park Burger RiNo
While not a full-fledged music venue like some of the other spots on this list, Park Burger in RiNo, which opened a year ago, brings in a variety of live music on the weekends, including bluegrass, blues rock and jazz acts. The new spot is 2,400 square feet inside and a has a 1,700-square-foot patio. Not only does that make it the biggest in the chain, but it has the biggest selection of beers, with 36 on draft.