Discover Denvers Hidden Gems Small Music Venues You Cant Miss

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Hey there music lovers! Are you tired of attending concerts in large arenas where the performers are distant and the sound is mediocre? Do you long for a more intimate setting where you can get up close and personal with your favorite musicians? Well, you’re in luck because today we’re going to talk about the small music venues in Denver that cater to just that.

By the end of this article, you can expect to have a list of three awesome venues that offer fantastic acoustics and top-notch performances from talented musicians. We’ll also explore the unique atmosphere that can only be found in these small venues, and how it enhances the overall concert experience. You’ll discover why many established artists enjoy performing in these smaller settings and how it creates an entirely different vibe than what you may be used to.

If you’re tired of the impersonal nature of large music venues and want to discover the magic of intimate concerts, then stick with us! We’ll provide you with everything you need to know about Denver’s small music venues and show you why they’re a great alternative to the bigger, commercial arenas. Plus, we’ll give you some insider tips on where to find the best shows and how to make the most of your experience. So, let’s get started!

1. The Importance of Small Music Venues in Denver

As Denver grows and evolves, it has become a destination for music lovers of all genres. While larger venues like the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Pepsi Center draw big names and large crowds, smaller music venues offer an intimate experience that allows fans to connect with their favorite artists on a more personal level. Here’s why small music venues matter:

1.1 Supporting Local Music

One of the main functions of small music venues is to provide a space for local musicians and artists to showcase their talents. These venues offer a platform for up-and-coming acts, allowing them to gain exposure and build a fan base. Because small music venues tend to have lower overhead costs, they are able to take more risks and book lesser-known acts, giving them a chance to make a name for themselves.

  • Interesting fact: One of the most iconic small music venues in Denver, the Bluebird Theater, was originally built in 1913 as a movie theater.
  • Real-world example: The Hi-Dive, located on South Broadway, is a popular small music venue that hosts both local and national acts. Every year, they host the Underground Music Showcase, a multi-day festival that features over 400 local and national acts.
  • Case study: The Lumineers, a folk-rock band from Denver, got their start playing shows at small music venues like the Meadowlark and the Lion’s Lair. These intimate performances helped them gain a following and eventually led to their breakout success.

1.2 Fostering Community

Small music venues have a unique ability to bring people together. Because of their smaller size, they create a more intimate atmosphere that allows fans to bond over a shared love of music. These venues often attract a tight-knit community of regulars who support the venue and the musicians who perform there.

  • Interesting fact: The Mercury Cafe, a small music venue and restaurant located in the Santa Fe Arts District, has been a gathering place for artists and activists since it opened in 1990. In addition to live music, they offer swing dance lessons, poetry readings, and other community events.
  • Real-world example: The Ogden Theatre, a larger venue in Denver, was originally built in 1917 as a movie theater. It was converted into a music venue in 1993 and has since become a staple of the Denver music scene. Many fans have formed lifelong friendships with fellow concert-goers they met at the Ogden.
  • Case study: The Grateful Dead, one of the most iconic bands in rock history, played their first Denver show at a small music venue called the Family Dog in 1967. The small, intimate setting allowed them to connect with their audience in a way that wouldn’t have been possible in a larger venue.

1.3 Preserving Music History

Small music venues are often housed in historic buildings that have been converted into performance spaces. By preserving these buildings and using them for live music, we are able to connect with the past and appreciate the history of our city’s music scene. These venues also serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting live music in all its forms.

Pros Cons
Preserve historic buildings and landmarks May have limited capacity
Provide a unique atmosphere for live music May be more expensive than larger venues due to higher rental and operational costs
Offer an opportunity to connect with Denver’s music history May not have the same level of production value as larger venues
Allow musicians to perform in a more intimate setting
  • Interesting fact: The Oriental Theater, a small music venue in the Berkeley neighborhood, opened in 1927 as a vaudeville theater. In addition to live music, they also host film screenings and other events.
  • Real-world example: The Larimer Lounge, located in the River North Arts District, is housed in a historic building that was originally a dry goods store in the early 20th century. The building has also been home to a grocery store, a boxing gym, and a bar before becoming a music venue in the 1990s.
  • Case study: The Fillmore Auditorium, a larger music venue in Denver, was originally opened in 1907 as the Mammoth Roller Skating Rink. It was converted into a music venue in the 1960s and has since hosted legendary acts like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead.
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Small music venues in Denver play a crucial role in supporting local music, fostering community, and preserving music history. Whether you’re a music lover or simply someone who appreciates the culture of your city, make sure to visit these intimate spaces and experience all they have to offer.

Support Local Artists: Top Small Music Venues in Denver

Denver is a city that loves music, and there’s no shortage of live performances to attend. In recent years, the city has seen a growth in smaller music venues, which has given local artists a place to perform and showcase their talents. These intimate venues offer a unique experience for music lovers looking for an alternative to the larger, more commercialized venues. In this article, we’ll explore the top small music venues in Denver that support local artists.

1. The Bluebird Theater


Built in 1913, The Bluebird Theater is one of Denver’s oldest music venues. The theater has a capacity of 500 people and is known for its eclectic mix of genres. Over the years, it has hosted local and national acts, including The Killers, Imagine Dragons, and Macklemore.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Intimate setting Limited seating
Great acoustics No parking
Diverse music selection No food or drinks


  • General Admission standing room only
  • Two bars
  • Mezzanine level with seating
  • Balcony level with seating
  • Coat check available

Case Study: Lizzo

In 2019, Lizzo performed at The Bluebird Theater just before skyrocketing to fame. The concert was so popular that tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale. Fans raved about the intimate setting, saying it offered a chance to see Lizzo up close and personal before she became a household name.

2. Larimer Lounge


The Larimer Lounge is a cozy live music venue situated in Denver’s River North Art District (RiNo). It has a capacity of 250 people and is known for its underground and indie music scene. The Larimer Lounge has become a launching pad for many up-and-coming local musicians, with a focus on fostering emerging talent.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Intimate setting Small capacity
Great sound quality Limited seating
Low ticket prices Limited food options


  • General Admission standing room only
  • Small bar with affordable drinks
  • No designated smoking area
  • Outdoor patio with seating and heaters for colder nights
  • Coat check available

Real World Example: Nathaniel Rateliff

Nathaniel Rateliff is a local Denver artist who has played at the Larimer Lounge multiple times throughout his career. In fact, he credits the venue with helping launch his career back in 2009. Rateliff has gone on to become one of Denver’s most recognizable musicians, and he still stops by the Larimer Lounge to perform when he can.

3. Globe Hall


Globe Hall is a small music venue and restaurant located in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. The venue has a capacity of 200 people and is known for its country, folk, and bluegrass acts. In addition to the live music, Globe Hall offers a full-service restaurant and bar, making it a popular spot for dinner and a show.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Good food and drinks Small capacity
Intimate setting No designated smoking area
Live music every night Bathrooms are small and can get crowded


  • General Admission standing room only
  • Full-service restaurant and bar
  • No age restrictions before 7 pm
  • No coat check available
  • Free parking on site

Interesting Fact: Willie Nelson

In the 1970s, Willie Nelson recorded a live album at Globe Hall called “Willie and Family Live.” The album is considered a classic among country music fans, and it helped put Globe Hall on the map as a popular spot for live music.

In conclusion, the small music venues in Denver offer a unique experience for music lovers looking for an alternative to the larger, more commercialized venues. These venues are important for local artists, as they provide a platform to showcase their talents and help launch their careers. The Bluebird Theater, Larimer Lounge, and Globe Hall are just a few of the many small music venues in Denver that are worth checking out. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, be sure to support these venues and the local artists who perform there.

Hidden Gems: Exploring Denver’s Best Small Music Venues

Denver is home to a vibrant music scene, with a plethora of small music venues to explore. These venues are the backbone of the local music community, providing a space for up-and-coming artists to hone their craft and established acts to connect with their fans. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Denver’s small music venues, highlighting their unique features and the top reasons to check them out.

III. Top 3 Best Small Music Venues in Denver

Denver’s small music venues offer something for everyone, from intimate acoustic shows to rowdy punk rock concerts. Here are the top three must-visit venues:

1. Hi-Dive

The Hi-Dive is a legendary dive bar and music venue located on South Broadway. It’s one of the oldest and most established small music venues in the city, hosting shows for over a decade. The Hi-Dive has a grungy, laid-back vibe that’s perfect for fans of indie rock, punk, and alternative music.

  • The Hi-Dive is known for its impressive beer selection, including a rotating list of local craft brews and rare imports.
  • The venue also serves tasty bar food, with vegan and gluten-free options available.
  • The Hi-Dive has a cozy, intimate atmosphere, with a capacity of only 225 people, making it easy to get up close and personal with your favorite artists.

If you’re looking for a no-frills, authentic music experience, the Hi-Dive is the place to be. Some of the biggest names in indie rock and punk have graced the stage at the Hi-Dive, including St. Vincent, The Thermals, and Jeff Tweedy.

2. Larimer Lounge

The Larimer Lounge is a staple of the local music scene, located in the trendy River North Art District of Denver. It’s known for its diverse lineup of shows, featuring everything from indie rock to electronic music. The Larimer Lounge has a bigger capacity than the Hi-Dive, with room for 300 people, but still maintains an intimate atmosphere.

  • The venue has a spacious outdoor patio area, perfect for hanging out and enjoying a drink before or after the show.
  • Larimer Lounge offers great happy hour specials, including $1 off all draft beers and well drinks.
  • The stage is elevated, giving audiences a great view of the performers from anywhere in the venue.

The Larimer Lounge has a reputation for booking up-and-coming artists and helping them launch their careers. Some of the biggest names in indie music got their start at the Larimer Lounge, including The xx, Arctic Monkeys, and Local Natives.

3. Globe Hall

Globe Hall is a hidden gem located in the Globeville neighborhood of Denver. It’s a former country-western honky-tonk that has been transformed into a charming music venue and restaurant. Globe Hall is known for its Southern-style comfort food and diverse lineup of shows.

  • The restaurant serves classic Southern dishes like fried chicken, brisket, and pulled pork, along with vegetarian options.
  • The venue has a spacious dance floor and seating area, with room for up to 300 people.
  • Globe Hall often hosts themed music nights, such as 80s prom parties or country dance nights.
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Globe Hall is one of the most unique music venues in Denver, offering a one-of-a-kind experience that combines great music, food, and drinks. The venue has hosted a wide variety of acts, from country stars to punk bands to hip-hop artists.

Venue Capacity Food & Drinks Special Features
Hi-Dive 225 Impressive beer selection and bar food Intimate atmosphere
Larimer Lounge 300 Great happy hour specials Outdoor patio area and elevated stage
Globe Hall 300 Southern-style comfort food and vegetarian options Themed music nights


Denver’s small music venues are some of the best in the country, offering a unique and authentic music experience. Whether you’re a fan of indie rock, punk, country, or electronic music, there’s a venue in Denver that’s perfect for you. So, the next time you’re looking for a great night out, skip the big arena shows and head to one of these hidden gem venues for a night you won’t forget.

Denver’s Intimate Live Music Scene: Small Venues to Check Out

Denver has been a hotspot for music lovers for decades, and the small music venues that dot the city are a testament to that. If you’re tired of the big concert experience, looking for a more intimate setting, or just want to appreciate the local music in style, Denver’s small venues are the way to go. Here are some of the best small music venues in Denver.

4. Choosing the right small venue for you

Choosing the right small venue is just as essential as attending the events themselves. Your overall experience will be influenced by the venue’s location, style, décor, amenities, pricing, and more. Let’s dive deeper into the key factors to consider when choosing the right small venue for you.


The location of your small music venue should be convenient and easily accessible, particularly if you’re new to the city or unfamiliar with the area. Preferably, the venue should also have adequate parking and alternative transportation options. Take note of the surroundings, the nearby establishments, and any attractions that may pique your interest. Some of the best neighborhoods to check out for small music venues include:

  • South Broadway – an eclectic mix of iconic venues, high-end bars, and vintage thrift stores.
  • RiNo – a trendy neighborhood with a thriving art scene, craft breweries, and galleries.
  • Capitol Hill – a diverse neighborhood with a mix of historic homes, trendy cafes, and nightclubs.
  • Highlands – a hip neighborhood with a magnificent collection of restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.

Style and décor

The style and décor of a small venue are crucial and directly impact the overall vibe and atmosphere of the establishment. Whether it’s a funky, eclectic setting or a classic, vintage-inspired design, the venue’s aesthetic sets the tone for your music experience. Here are some of the primary decor styles you might encounter in a small music venue:

  • Mid-century Modern – a clean, streamlined aesthetic that utilizes geometric shapes and bold colors.
  • Gothic – characterized by ornate details, deep colors, and textures reminiscent of medieval times.
  • Industrial – often features raw, unfinished walls, exposed beams, and metal accents for a minimalist feel.
  • Bohemian – an eclectic, free-spirited aesthetic that blends global influences, textures, and patterns.


Aside from the music itself, amenities can make all the difference in your overall experience. These could include comfortable seating options, great lighting and sound systems, and various food and drink options. Some small music venues even have personal bartenders for VIP guests; others have full bars and restaurant services. Here are some of the most common amenities you might find in a small music venue:

  • Sufficient seating arrangements
  • Great lighting and sound system
  • Dance floor
  • Bars serving various drinks
  • Food service or snacks
  • Coat check
  • Balcony or outdoor areas for relaxation
  • Merchandise booth
  • Free Wi-Fi


The cost of attending a show at a small music venue varies depending on the artist, the venue, and the event’s popularity. Most small venues prefer advance ticket bookings, which can be more cost-effective than purchasing at the door, so it’s always beneficial to plan your night out in advance. In any case, here is a rough estimate of the pricing ranges you can expect in small music venues in Denver:

Event Type Estimated Price Range
Local band performance $5-$20
Regional artist $10-$35
Big-name artist $40-$150+

Who’s playing?

The music itself is the primary reason you’re attending the event, and as such, it’s important to know who’s playing before you decide to attend. Most small music venues will post their band schedule online, listing the upcoming performers or events. Some venues even host meet-and-greets or live music sessions with the artists. Additionally, it’s worth doing some research on the bands or artists you’re unfamiliar with, by listening to their music, watching their videos, or even reading their album reviews.

In a nutshell, if you’re keen on experiencing the local music scene in Denver, you can’t go wrong with small music venues. With a little bit of research and planning, the venues highlighted in this article offer an excellent opportunity to enjoy great music, food, drink, and a memorable night out. Just make sure you choose the one that’s right for you.

From Jazz to Indie: Small Music Venues for Every Genre in Denver

Denver, Colorado is known for its thriving music scene, with a wide variety of venues hosting talented musicians from all genres. Small music venues have been the backbone of the city’s music culture, providing intimate settings for both up-and-coming and established artists. Here are 5 great small music venues in Denver that cater to different genres of music.

Jazz Venues

Jazz music has a rich history in Denver, and it’s no surprise that the city has a number of great jazz venues.


Dazzle is one of Denver’s premier jazz venues, featuring nightly performances from local and national jazz musicians. This cozy club also offers a full bar and food menu, making it the perfect spot for a night out on the town.

  • Pros:
    • Intimate setting for live jazz music
    • Full bar and food menu available
    • Reservations available for prime seating
  • Cons:
    • Can be a bit pricey for some patrons
    • Seating can be limited

El Chapultepec

El Chapultepec is one of the oldest jazz clubs in Denver, having been open since 1933. This dive bar has hosted many famous musicians over the years, including Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. The atmosphere is casual and laid-back, making it a great spot for drinks and live music.

  • Pros:
    • Historic jazz venue with a casual vibe
    • Reasonably priced drinks and food
    • Live music every night of the week
  • Cons:
    • Can get crowded and noisy
    • Small stage and limited seating

Blues Venues

Denver’s blues scene might not be as well-known as its jazz scene, but there are still a number of great venues in the city for blues lovers.

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Ziggies is a blues bar located in the historic Five Points neighborhood. This venue has a gritty, dive bar feel that complements the blues music perfectly. The live performances are always full of energy, making it a must-visit for blues fans.

  • Pros:
    • Authentic blues bar experience
    • Reasonably priced drinks and snacks
    • Live music every night of the week
  • Cons:
    • Can get crowded and noisy
    • Not a lot of seating available

The Little Bear Saloon

The Little Bear Saloon is located in the mountain town of Evergreen, about 20 miles outside of Denver. This historic bar has been around since 1929, and has hosted many famous blues musicians over the years. The rustic atmosphere and stunning mountain views make this venue a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique blues experience.

  • Pros:
    • Beautiful mountain setting
    • Historic blues venue
    • Live music every weekend
  • Cons:
    • Far from Denver
    • Can be a bit pricey

Indie Venues

Denver’s indie music scene is thriving, with a number of great small venues hosting up-and-coming indie artists from around the country.

The Hi-Dive

The Hi-Dive is one of Denver’s best-known indie venues, featuring live music from indie rock and punk bands. The atmosphere is lively and energetic, making it the perfect spot for a night out with friends.

  • Pros:
    • Intimate setting for live indie music
    • Reasonably priced drinks
    • Live music several nights a week
  • Cons:
    • Can get crowded and noisy
    • Not a lot of seating available

The Larimer Lounge

The Larimer Lounge is another popular indie venue in Denver, featuring live music from both local and national indie bands. The sound system is top-notch, and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.

  • Pros:
    • Great sound system
    • Reasonably priced drinks
    • Live music several nights a week
  • Cons:
    • Can get crowded and noisy
    • Not a lot of seating available


Denver’s small music venues offer something for everyone, from jazz enthusiasts to indie rockers. Whether you’re a seasoned concert-goer or a casual music fan, these venues are the perfect spots to catch some live music and soak up Denver’s vibrant music culture.

FAQs: Small Music Venues Denver

What are some small music venues in Denver?

Denver has several small music venues such as the Bluebird Theater, Gothic Theater, Ogden Theatre, Summit Music Hall, Larimer Lounge, and Hi-Dive.

What types of music are played at small music venues in Denver?

Small music venues in Denver feature a range of music genres, including rock, indie, hip hop, electronic, folk, country, and jazz.

How can I purchase tickets for shows at small music venues in Denver?

You can purchase tickets for shows at small music venues in Denver online through their websites, or in person at their box office during business hours. Some venues may also offer tickets through third-party vendors like Ticketmaster.

What is the capacity of small music venues in Denver?

The capacity of small music venues in Denver varies, with some able to hold a few hundred people, while others can accommodate up to a thousand music enthusiasts.

Are small music venues in Denver 21+ only?

Not all small music venues in Denver are 21+ only. Some venues allow all ages, while others may have age restrictions for certain shows. Check the venue’s website or call the box office to find out their age policy.

Do small music venues in Denver have seating?

Most small music venues in Denver are standing room only, but some may have limited seating options. If you require seating accommodations, it’s best to contact the venue ahead of time and inquire about their seating availability.

Is there parking available at small music venues in Denver?

Small music venues in Denver may offer onsite parking or have street parking available. However, parking can be limited, so it’s best to arrive early to find a spot or consider using public transportation or ride-sharing services.

What is the dress code for small music venues in Denver?

There is no specific dress code for small music venues in Denver. However, it’s best to dress comfortably and wear appropriate footwear for standing for extended periods.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to small music venues in Denver?

Most small music venues in Denver do not allow outside food or drink. However, the venue may have a bar and snacks available for purchase.

Can I take photos or videos during a show at a small music venue in Denver?

Small music venues in Denver may have different policies regarding photography and videography. Some may allow it, while others may prohibit it. Check with the venue before the show or ask staff during the event.


In conclusion, Denver has numerous small music venues to cater to music enthusiasts. Venues such as Bluebird Theater, Gothic Theater, Ogden Theatre, Summit Music Hall, Larimer Lounge, and Hi-Dive offer a range of music genres and capacities. You can purchase tickets online, call the box office, or using third-party providers like Ticketmaster. Although parking can be limited, you can consider using public transport or ride-sharing. Most venues may have their bars and snacks available for purchase, and there’s no strict dress code. However, it’s important to follow the venue’s policy regarding photography and videography. After reading this article, a night out in Denver will be exciting with unforgettable memories that you will cherish. Thank you for reading, and check out other interesting articles.