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Mountain Music: Boulder's Funkiest and Most Spectacular Live Music Venues



Boulder is a town known for its mountainous skyline, fine dining, outdoor recreation, craft beer and, as of late, its music scene. Located only a hop, skip, and jump from the explosive Denver music scene and Red Rocks Amphitheater of Golden, which has been ranked by music enthusiasts as one of the best outdoor music venues in the world,it's no wonder that live music abounds in Boulder. From small picking sessions at your local tavern to full-out concerts at the Fox Theater, Boulder has something for the metal-heads, the country folk, the classical die-hards, and everyone in between. 

Some unique spots on our list include Conor O, Neill's where you can sip Irish coffee while listening to a group of local pickers. Oskar Blues offers New Orleans style pub-grub, craft beer, and some of the best and more raw blues tunes in the state. The Boulder Theater, located just off famous Pearl Street, offers big-name acts as well as local favorites. 

If you're looking for traditional music venues that aren't beer or food related, The Fox Theater and Red Rocks where you can experience big-name acts like Bruno Marz, Trampled by Turtles, the Avett Brothers, and Zac Brown Band. 

The venues on our list offer a variety of sounds-from country to rock and techno-reggae! 


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This high-energy bar is a favorite of sports fans, especially on football weekends. Live, local music gives this pub its signature hole-in-the-wall, "where everybody knows your name", feel. Best of all, Boulder "regulars" abound but newcomers are always welcome, making a visit to this one-of-a-kind pub the perfect way to mingle with the locals and get a true feel for the Boulder way of living, drinking, and dancing. Often down below the street floor, you can find people swaying their hips as they cozy up in the nooks and crannies of this unique bar. And, as is typical of Boulder, local musicians are there to help you dance the night away.




This beautiful Art Deco theater was built in 1906 as an opera house and was later converted to a movie theater. Today, it's one of the city's finest venues for live music, independent films, and community events. Concerts draw everything from local jazz bands to international performers and speakers. "E-Town," an NPR program focusing on entertainment and the environment, broadcasts from here as well. What's makes this theater special? Its intimate atmosphere. The stage and it's players can be seen well from any vantage point in the theater and, for most shows, the audience moves about so fluidly that you can often make your way to the front or various parts of the theater during the course of the show.




With two locations just 20 minutes from Boulder in Lyons and Longmont, this local brew-pub favorite if one of the best places around to grab a delicious burger, beer, and dance the night away. The Tasty Weasel taproom boasts a large dance floor and stage on the second floor of the building so that you can eat down below and then enjoy the after-party up above. Local live bands as well as national known acts play every Saturday and Sunday at a minor cover charge. Don't be surprised if one of Oskar's local regulars asks you for a dance, since there are many people who come every week to kick up their heals are not shy when it comes to meeting strangers.


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The Attic


The Attic offers excellent pubfare, dancing, and karaoke every week. Local bands keep the atmosphere hoppin' and a hardwood dance floor, offering seating during the day, is cleared for all of your dancing escapades in the evening. Take a break and enjoy their free pool tables or grab a drink at their ornate and fully stocked bar. Famous for The Fat Albert, ask for this purple concoction that packs quite a punch if you need a little encouragement getting to the dance floor. A variety of music is represented at this Boulder favorite, so you the dancing machine within you is sure to be satisfied.


The Absinthe House


Located in Downtown Boulder, Absinthe House features a true European style nightclub experience with International House DJs. A large selection of genuine absinthe is something that you will find in no other bar in the states, as well as a comprehensive list of over 40 import and domestic beers. Absinthe House serves European Bistro fare for lunch and dinner daily.The dance floor is expanded and boasts plenty of room for a wild throng of movers and shakers. House music blares from a top shelf sound system, and any of the 16 varieties of absinthe from Europe and America can be poured from table side fountains.


Conor O'Neill's


This lively and feisty traditional Irish pub is one of the most exciting ways to spend and evening in downtown Boulder. Lagers, Ciders, Ales, and Stouts abound, including Guinness on tap because what Irish pub is complete without it? In addition, several tasty micro-brews are available. Weekly live music is a staple at Conor O' Neills and includes slots for collaborative bluegrass pickin'. With plenty of space to dance, you'll be tapping your toes or doing an Irish jig. If you're a little rusty on your Lord of the Dance skills, the bar also offers classic rock to rock your body.




This local brewery offers some of the best refreshments in the area and is perfect to visit after a long hike at Chautauqua Park. One of their most popular beers, the Colorado Kind Ale, is dry hopped deliciousness and should be paired with one of Southern Sun's massive burgers or, our favorite, the grilled cheese. Hot wings and BBQ wings are a staple at this joint, as well as the delicious $1 tacos every Wednesday night. Choose from vegetarian or beef and eat late into the night since tacos service goes on well past pumpkin hour. Perfect place for a late-night snack.


Truly unique to the area, Red Rocks combines natural geological wonders with a stellar concert and event schedule. Come during the day for the best view of the red sandstone formations, over 250 million years old and 300 feet high. A moderate 1.4-mile trail loops around the area for the best views. Return in the evening to experience acoustic perfection as some of the biggest stars in music take the stage, including acts like Fleetwood Mac, Bruno Mars, and The Avett Brothers. A summer film series provides a change of pace when two bands perform before the screening of a classic movie.


Fox Theatre


This popular University Hill concert club features local, regional and national acts such as Martin Sexton, Hootie and the Blowfish, Disco Inferno, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Fat Mama, and ekoostik hookah. Look for alternative, standard rock, blues, folk, jazz, and jamgrass musicians. This former movie theater boasts a top-rate sound system and three bar areas. This hip spot is also known for hosting some of the best festivals in the area, including the Boulder Roots and Blues Festival along with the Boulder Brew and Music Festival; if the name doesn't say it all, this festival gives you access to over 25 different breweries set to music.




Planet Bluegrass of Lyons, Colorado is located just 20 minutes from Boulder and is one of the most beautiful and intimate music venues in the state. The massive wooden stage has played host to stars such as Alison Krauss and Union Station, Jerry Douglas, and Ricky Skaggs. Unlike the Telluride Bluegrass festival, which is awesome in its own right, Rocky Grass offers music on a smaller scale, so that you can drink, dance, and sing without the throngs of people. Located in the rugged mountain town of Lyons, Oskcar Blues Brewery is a great place to wet your whistle before and after the festivities. And, for those who prefer to camp nearby, Bohn Park is a great location and offers a free bus to Planet Bluegrass events.


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Meet Hope Gately

Hope Gately should have a bumper sticker proclaiming "Not a Native...But I Got Here as Fast as I Could!" A transplant from the Midwest, Hope has fallen in love with Colorado's mountains playing...  More About Hope

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