Two years ago, I made my first visit to Northfield Shops at Stapleton for the grand opening of the Denver Improv (8246 East 49th Avenue). Although Northfield can be seen from I-70 and is just a ten- or fifteen-minute drive from downtown, it still felt like it was in the middle of nowhere — even though there were stores and restaurants near the Improv, and the Bass Pro Shop and Super Target on the other side of the parking lot.
I had no idea there was a whole other section of Northfield behind the Improv, with a layout similar to that of Belmar, until last week, when I checked out the Twisted Olive (8270 Northfield Boulevard). This new restaurant/club is directly across the street from the Harkins Theaters, and while I was surprised to find that it existed at all, I was stunned by its upscale design and ambitious offerings. Since the Twisted Olive is a Mediterranean restaurant as well as a nightclub, its decor has a European flair, and the VIP/bottle-service areas are named after such Mediterranean countries as Greece, Morocco and Spain, with each area borrowing from that country's style. There are also four separate VIP tables upstairs, as well as four indoor cabanas downstairs that each have their own small outdoor patio.
In addition, the club has an extensive martini menu and hosts the Martini Society six nights a week between 5 and 8 p.m., when all martinis are half off and there's a 10 percent discount on food and other beverages. The only catch is that you have to sign up for a membership — it's free — on the club's website.
A DJ was laying down tunes the night we were there; the club offers entertainment four nights a week. On Wednesdays, there's spoken word and poetry; on Thursdays, Hazel Miller performs with various local musicians; on Fridays, DJs spin dance and mash-ups at ladies' night (and the first fifty gals get gift bags from Northfield shops); on Saturdays, there are R&B and neo-soul acts. And on Tuesdays, Northfield employees get half off all beverages and bottle service with proof of employment.
The Twisted Olive opens at 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and for brunch at 10 a.m. on the weekends.
Club scout: After leaving the Twisted Olive, I spoke with a Northfield security guard, who gave me the lay of the land. He said there had been talk of a country bar going in the former Circuit City space next door but that it never panned out; that Broncos players frequented the Improv and police officers hung out at Bar Louie (8332 East 49th Avenue) down the street. So we popped in to Bar Louie, where we saw no cops but did find three guys playing classic-rock tunes like Elton John's "Your Song" and Jethro Tull's "Living in the Past" to a drum machine. The club is a huge yet comfortable space with an indoor fire pit, similar in vibe to the Tavern clubs.
In other news, Suite Two Hundred (1427 Larimer Street) just launched its Baby Doll Tuesdays, when ladies can drink free from 9 to midnight, Jet Lounge (1612 Wazee Street) has started a comedy showcase on Wednesdays, and Vivid Ultra Lounge (4837 Washington Street) just celebrated its grand opening.