Denver City Guide

Denver Nightlife & Entertainment

©2006 Denver CVB Lower Downtown Denver, or LoDo, is a sure bet if you're looking for fun nightlife spots.

Most visitors to Denver don't expect the bright lights, big city New York City-style of nightlife, and that's a good thing, because by and large, restaurant kitchens close early, bar crowds spill onto the sidewalks at precisely 2 am, and because of strict noise ordinances, concerts skid to a stop around 10 pm. That's not to say that the seemingly infinite number of Denver's bars, theaters, and clubs aren't packed to the rafters with revelers perfectly willing to perch on a barstool until the lights go dim.

Neighborhoods like Cherry Creek swell with sophisticates that typically turn in early, but Lower Downtown Denver (LoDo), South Broadway (SoBo), Highlands, and the stretch of nightlife spots along East Colfax crawl with a younger audience that are all too happy to party until a greasy breakfast calls -- usually at Pete's Kitchen, a 24-hour, perpetually packed habitat for those who don't seem to require much sleep.

An onslaught of recent openings -- an altitude-high sky bar at the Mobil Three-Star Grand Hyatt Hotel; Steuben's, an Uptown restaurant extolling the virtues of comfort food and late-night weekend kitchen hours; and Slim 7, an A-list back-alley bar behind Larimer Square, are all adding to the energetic verve

of Denver's entertainment scene.

Insider's Guide:

The Best of Nightlife & Entertainment in Denver

The Best of Nightlife & Entertainment in Denver

There are plenty of people willing to brave the elbow-to-elbow lines and strict door policy at Rise Nightclub (1909 Blake St.), and while the South Beach-inspired hotspot pulsates with uber-hip scenesters, there are far better places to experience Denver's ever-evolving -- and essential -- nightlife.

On the outskirts of downtown, in the Ballpark District, is El Chapultepec (1962 Market St, 303-295-9126), an aging dive bar that emanates with live jazz -- the best, in fact, in Denver. Since the space is the size of a shoebox, seats are hot commodities -- so arrive on the early side. Dress is casual.

Wine bars are all the rage in the Mile High City, and you can pop the cork at Cru Wine Bar (1442 Larimer St, 303-893-9463) in Larimer Square, Sketch (250 Steele St, 303-333-

1763) in Cherry Creek, and the Platte Valley's Paris Wine Bar (1553 Platte St, 303-217-5805). It's tough to recommend a wine for all of these places because the wine rosters are forever changing and evolving. But if you find a wine you like, make sure to get the name and ask if it's going to be part of the rotation periodically.

Sports bars are huge in Denver, none more so than the Sports Column (1930 Blake St, 303-296-1930). The glitterati hang at Cherry Creek's North Restaurant (190 Clayton Lane, 720-941-7700), while beer-imbibers soak up the suds at the Wynkoop Brewery Co. (1634 18th St, 303-297-2700), Denver's first brewpub.

There's no better place to engage in live, free entertainment than on the Pearl Street Mall (1420 Pearl St) in the college community of Boulder, a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver. The four-block-long pedestrian mall encompasses Boulder's core of shops, restaurants, and street performers -- easily some of the best in the country.

Mimes, fire-eaters, musicians, comedians, and perhaps the most famous entertainer -- the Zip Code guy (tell him in what city you live, and he'll spit out your Zip code in seconds flat) -- grace the lushly landscaped mall street day and night, year-round.

After a night out on the town, you may want to plan leisurely activities for the following day. Go to the next page for tips on how to relax and unwind in Denver.