I've been wondering what's been going on for the past few years at 776 Lincoln Street, the former location of Funky Buddha, a part-bar/part-nightclub spot with a rooftop patio. Turns out, a lot. I went by the bar and venue now known as Lincoln St. Station Bar & Grill and chatted with owner Rodney Miller over a vodka soda on a recent Sunday. Things were calm in the bar, with some folks drinking upstairs and downstairs in the various patio areas — but not much was happening inside. A crowd tends to gather later in the evening, , though, especially on weekends. On this particular Sunday, the scheduled late-night event was trance music, and the youngish crowd hanging around looked like they'd be sticking around after dark.
Miller says the bar welcomes a true mixture of every scene and crowd you can think of, especially groups of folks who might not otherwise have a go-to bar in Denver. After-work neighbors come in for happy hour each day for $3 wells from 4 to 7 p.m. or to watch sports, but after that, all bets are off. Miller hosts reggae festivals, punk-rock bands, live painting with local artists, events for the LGBTQ+ community, hip-hop shows, celebrity-chef tastings, Latin nights, swinger parties, DJ sets, Ethiopian parties, and even DJs who usually only play outdoors at Burning Man. On some nights, you might even find two completely different kinds of music or event happening simultaneously upstairs and downstairs.
Miller notes that some of the old-timers in the neighborhood like to hang around for a little while after happy hour each night to people-watch and guess what's going on later by the attire of the crowd coming in. Sometimes he sees guys who enjoyed dancing to cumbia and bachata music one night come back and find themselves having a great time with trance-music fans the next night. Miller and his staff are equal-opportunity hosts; they don't care who you are or what you do, as long as you like to have a good time, spend money and play nice with the eclectic mix of other revelers. Miller doesn't even advertise all the events, so as not to be labeled or pigeonholed as any one thing.
Miller's mission is to celebrate art, music and culture of all kinds. The space reflects that, with a variety of art pieces in several styles on display upstairs and downstairs. There's a front patio on the sidewalk, an interior with a series of modern-looking booths, a long bar and a stage area and dance floor downstairs, along with a kitchen serving bar fare like burgers, sandwiches and wings.
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At night, if there's a big crowd dancing or listening to music, the kitchen shuts down to beat the heat and the bar just serves Rocky Mountain Pizza frozen pizzas for late-night fare. Upstairs is another bar and a vast rooftop area looking out over the apartments, office buildings and restaurants along Lincoln Street. The second floor has a jungle or tiki bar vibe, with plastic vines and sleek green booths. It looks better than I remembered from the Funky Buddha days, and is still capitalizing on Colorado's warm, clear days with great views and outdoor drinking.
The bar owner points out the changes in the neighborhood, including the loss of Dazzle (which moved downtown), Le Central (and its short-lived successor, Clyde), and other nearby restaurants. Miller has owned the place for the past three years, After working here when it was the Funky Buddha, he bought the business from nightlife mogul Regas Christou, owner of the Church, Vinyl, Bar Standard and City Hall, to name a few past and present venues.
His goal since then has been to welcome everyone and make space for the many scenes in Denver that might not have their own bar, Miller says, and so far it seems to be working. If you want to grab a drink on a great rooftop patio, see some live art or music, or party with a whole new crowd every night, with its half-bar, half-dance club vibe, Lincoln St. Station Bar & Grill might be your neighborhood bar.
Lincoln St. Station is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday. Visit the bar's website for event listings and other information.