As a Denver native, I'm familiar with the Stampede, a C & W staple since 1992. The large, spacious venue boasts several bars stationed throughout, a stage in the back of the saloon and an entire upstairs area complete with pool tables and more drink stations. The bar in the center of the circular dance floor ensures that inhibitions are fully drowned in domestic beer, wine and well drinks, six of which are served free (for ladies only) in small pink Solo cups on Wednesday nights, along with free dance lessons from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and free cover until 7:30. After that, the music is turned up and the lights are dimmed as cowmen and -women (isn't it time to stop calling adults girls and boys?) start filling up the floor. Pull up a seat on the perimeter of the dance floor or at the center bar and enjoy the people-watching: It’s a fantastic part of the experience.
About 45 minutes after our arrival, we found our waitress and placed an order from the triangular table menu, which held a tiny selection of American- and Mexican-inspired finger-food options in various sizes, from small appetizers to a few bigger dishes, all ranging from $3 to $10. We ordered a little bit of everything, including the intriguing fried green beans and corn fritters ($6), a Stampede cheeseburger ($8), Kansas City bone-in pork wings ($8) and some Southwestern eggrolls ($6). Everything arrived at our table about thirty minutes later; we hardly noticed that some of the order was wrong, since the place was packed and there was plenty of entertainment going on around us. Our server made it up to us by taking one of the appetizers off the bill, which we appreciated, given the abundance of food we’d ordered. Onion rings and fries came as sides to our deep-fried feast, making an oily but tasty accompaniment to the burger. The large beef patty was overcooked and the bun dry and a bit stale, but the burger had a nice thick slice of cheddar cheese melted across it, which made it palatable.
The venue hosts an eclectic lineup of concerts and performances year-round — not just country, but rock, hip-hop and even reggaetón. If you’ve got a large crowd, you can rent the space for corporate events, parties or even weddings and other black-tie parties (as many a country fan with deep pockets has done in the past). On Latin Nights, a taco truck shows up to add Mexican fare, often running out of food before the night is over.
But this lively venue ain’t goin’ nowhere — so I reckon there’s still time to get my honky-tonk on at some point down the road.
Stampede is located at 2430 South Havana Street in Aurora and is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Wednesdays, and from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. (Thursdays are reserved for concerts and private events, and the venue is closed Sunday through Tuesday.) For a monthly dance lesson schedule, reservations and upcoming concerts and events, visit the Stampede website, or call 303-696-7686 for other information.