Finally, it’s time to see what Denver’s live music scene is really all about. There are some three dozen venues in Denver, and every local has their favorite. But for a reliably awesome experience, start with the Ogden Theatre (new events are being scheduled beginning in August 2021), a just-right-sized, standing-room-only venue that gets a refreshing mix of recognizable acts (Jenny Lewis, Maggie Rogers, Sterolab) and local up-and-comers, too. Or if you go for tiny and dive-y, Larimer Lounge is a true launchpad for emerging rock artists. For a venue that’s extremely well-tapped-into the best jam, electronic and hip-hop groups around, try Cervantes Masterpiece, which was a jazz club in the 1930s, in the historic Five Points neighborhood. Beginning August 2019, you’ll want to get tickets for the new Mission Ballroom in the RiNo (River North Art District), which is set to kick Denver’s music scene up yet another notch with a lineup that includes the Lumineers, Ben Harper, Brandi Carlile, Bastille and the Raconteurs.
Post-show, head to Bowman’s Vinyl and Lounge on South Broadway. Shop their vinyl collection, chill in an armchair by the piano, play pool and enjoy killer craft cocktails with music-inspired names, like the Rick Astley.
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a brothel-turned-peep-show-parlor-turned-restaurant. (Really.) The swanked-out joint has intimate balcony seating and a surrounding sunken stage that hosts performances most evenings. On Sundays, brunch comes with a side of live music, too, with performers ranging from Wes Watkins, the trumpet player of Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, to bluegrass bands. While you enjoy the tunes, try the crème brûlée French toast or the arepas Benedict, paired with a bottomless mimosa.
Arguably one of the last great independent record stores in America, Twist and Shout has been in Denver, in various incarnations, since 1988. It’s hosted in-store concerts by the likes of Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, My Morning Jacket and more. Head here on the weekend and you’ll join voracious vinyl fans browsing the colorful, sprawling shop for hours.
The last evening of your busy weekend calls for some low-key jazz vibes. For that, plus authentic Denver character, head to Nocturne , a modern jazz and supper club in Denver’s River North Arts District. Nocturne features live jazz every night; carefully curated wine, beer and cocktail offerings; and a one-of-a-kind seasonal culinary program anchored by a jazz-inspired, five-course tasting menu. Make a reservation on Nocturne’s website.