Walking through the front door at Denver's newest jazz supper club Nocturne – past the coat check and into the wide open bar and dining space, with its spiral staircase leading to a second floor of intimate seats and a ceiling that soars another dozen-plus feet above it – this is a show-stopping experience in its own right.
Looking up at the small plate glass original warehouse windows at night is a mesmerizing experience. And somehow, the gritty vacant warehouse environs manage to blend perfectly with the gilded dining room, stage and long bar area, evoking the supper clubs made popular in the hard-knock Great Depression years before World War II.
There's nothing else quite like this in Denver.
Nocturne is a Great Depression-era jazz and super club with a modern menu — Photo courtesy of Nocturne
The creation of seasoned hospitality professionals Scott Mattson, Nicole Mattson and Chef Dustin Beckner, Nocturne focuses on a combination of the culinary, cocktail and musical.
The 105-seat venue, located in a carefully restored early 20th-century factory building, embraces the industrial feel of RiNo, melded with elements that evoke Atlantic coast Art Deco from the 1920s and 1930s. Its exterior features a colorful street art mural depicting jazz greats Max Roach, Thelonious Monk and Lee Morgan, complementing Denver’s adjacent Art Alley.
“With its wealth of street art, funky work spaces, independent restaurants, great music venues and art galleries, our goal was to create a room that complimented RiNo’s culture while also looking to the underground jazz clubs of old Hollywood and New York for the inspiration of Nocturne’s spirit,” says Mattson.
Open Monday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Nocturne features a small plates menu that showcases produce, fish and meats sourced from area micro-farms. The restaurant’s Social Hour, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, includes culinary and cocktail specials, enjoyed to the sounds of classic jazz recordings.
Have a drink at Nocturne in Denver — Photo courtesy of Nocturne
Additionally, an ever-changing tasting menu series called Renditions is offered. Inspired by iconic jazz recordings, each Renditions menu explores the aesthetics and artistic ideas from the album by which it was inspired in five to eight courses.
A new Renditions menu will be launched roughly every eight weeks beginning in late March, with a release concert and dinner showcasing music from the album that inspired the menu, recreated by a jazz ensemble.
An adventurous wine list that emphasizes sparkling, still and dessert wines from boutique producers and a bar program featuring craft spirits, classic and original handcrafted cocktails and a curated beer list round out the experience.
Live music is offered every night of the week at Nocturne, through the restaurant’s artist-in-residence program. Six artists, each playing one night a week, take Nocturne’s stage for a three-month residency, during which they explore and perfect their crafts.
Nocturne also plays host to nationally touring jazz musicians.
"Denver is a great jazz city. It has a storied history, phenomenal musicians, a world-class jazz radio station and a lot of serious music fans," Mattson says. "Nocturne certainly celebrates jazz as an important part of our cultural heritage, but maybe even more so, it will make this dynamic, living art form accessible to a much broader audience. We can’t think of a city more primed for this concept than Denver.”