The nine most notable venues and clubs that opened in 2012
When popular karaoke spot the Music Bar closed at the end of 2011, the space it occupied was thoroughly cleaned up and refurbished, using as much recycled material as possible. Local 46 opened in April 2012, becoming more of community tavern than the classic dive the place used to be. As a tribute to the older bar's history, though, some of the old jazz-style wallpaper still peeks through the new paint and recycled wood paneling on the walls. The bar brings in live bands on occasion.
Merchants Mile High Saloon:
The Border had long been a popular watering hole in the University of Denver neighborhood, though it went through some dry spells -- and then dried up altogether in May 2012. A trio of new owners, two of whom run Merchants Saloon in Oakland, California, recently took over the space and have reopened as Merchants Mile High Saloon. And although the new owners wanted the place to have more of a "dark and sexy" club feel than a casual sports-bar atmosphere, Merchants will show games when they're on.
NORAD, which moved into the former 2200 space, is the prime spot for mature dance music. What does that mean, exactly? It means that it's for people who know and love electronic music and haven't become jaded by the mainstream takeover. The biggest names in the underground dance scene come here, and the resulting parties run late into the night. The sound system is comparable to those at Denver's biggest clubs, and the location is such that once you get to NORAD, you won't want to go anywhere else.
Satori Night Club:
In June 2012, the Rockstar Lounge closed after a year-and-a-half run, reopening in September as Satori, with a new paint job, newly reupholstered furniture, a new DJ booth and a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. In keeping with its name -- "satori" is a Buddhist term meaning "enlightenment" -- the space is lovely and comfortable, yet not too glamorous. Once home to an array of venues including Zen Ultra Lounge and DC-10, the club brings in a steady stream of well-known DJs.
For decades, the Sidewinder was a storied Globeville dive, but in December 2012, a group of local musicians, including Fez Garcia (with some help from his folks) took over the spot and gave it a bit more hipster cred. Garcia says the group is trying to recapture the vibe of the now-defunct Gabor's in Capitol Hill: laid-back, not pretentious, and just really cozy. As expected, the jukebox is filled with lots of local bands, as well as mix CDs brought in by patrons. A music venue in the adjoined hall and a kitchen will open in the near future.
717 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO