Move to the Music at Denver's Hottest Dance Clubs & Lounges

Dance is a universal language with infinite variations, its rhythms and beats giving us license to sway, swing, twirl, dip, stomp and otherwise move across a floor to the sounds spun by DJs or played by musicians of every genre. But it's not just about the music. It's also about the building, the decor, the lights, the acoustics and the people. It's about state-of-the-art sound systems, such as those at Beta Nightclub and The Black Box, and it's about a wide range of music styles to appeal to a diverse audience; Milk is just one example. When it's time to take a break from the moves, it's nice to have a space where dancers can relax and chat, spaces such as the rooftop at Club Vinyl and Your Mom's House at Pearl's. If you don't already know how to dance swing or salsa or groove to the blues, you're in luck. Several of the top dance venues in town, including the Grizzly Rose and La Rumba, offer free or nearly free lessons, followed by the chance to try out your stellar moves with old and new friends.


North Denver
Grizzly Rose
Photo courtesy of Grizzly Rose

Since 1989, the Grizzly Rose has served up country western fun—not that you have to be die-hard country to have a great night here. Unlike some clubs, The Grizz doesn't have a long list of things you can't wear (there are a very few restrictions), there aren't endless lines to get in and you can bring the whole family some nights, kids and all. Better yet, the Grizzly Rose features live music six nights a week, from regional acts to nationally known performers, and a 2,500-square-foot dance floor. Most evenings start with free or nearly free dance lessons, and there's a full kitchen cooking up barbeque. Did we mention the dueling mechanical bulls? Here's a tip: some aficionados say it's more important to hang on with your legs than with your hands.

Denver may be a long way from Argentina, but the Mercury Café is the place in the city to learn the tango or to dance the tango if you already know how. It's also the place to learn swing or how to dance to the blues. In fact, Mercury Café has dancing of one kind or many nights a week. The lesson schedule is typically blues dancing on Tuesdays, swing on Thursdays and Sundays and tango most Fridays. The lessons are always followed by music and dancing just for the love of it. Most often there's a DJ, but on the first Tuesday of the month a live blues band takes the stage, and there's a live swing band every Sunday. About once a month, tango lovers gather at the Mercury to practice their sultry moves and precise footwork as musicians play.

Curtis Park
Photo courtesy of Tracks

Tracks dates back to 1980 when it opened as an after-hours bar. Today, its multiple dance floors and rocking parties keep it a staple on the Denver dance scene, as does its "whoever-you-are-you-are-welcome-here" vibe. Music on tap is likely to be Top 40, hip-hop and favorites from the '80s and '90s; occasionally there are live performances, too. As for a dress code, the folks at Tracks have just one rule. "We pride ourselves on being a place that anyone and everyone can come to. We are a place where everyone can really express their individuality with whatever they may feel comfortable dressed as. As long as you're not nude, come one come all!" Guests 18+ are welcomed on some nights and for some events.


Guests at Beta move to a wide spectrum of music played on the main floor and in the Beatport Lounge—house, techno, dubstep, trance, hip-hop, trap and everything in between. Beta is by and for DJs though there are live acts as well, which might include vocalists, instruments, turntablism or controllerism. The owners firmly believe that if you haven't been to Beta you have not experienced music as it's meant to be heard. "With our system processors constantly adjusted, acoustic treatment fully dialed and every aspect down to the wiring and placement fine-tuned, you can expect the best sound in Denver with the best artists." While there's no food served at the club, there are street vendors and food trucks all night long.

Golden Triangle
Club Vinyl
Photo courtesy of Club Vinyl

A vertical dance extravaganza, Club Vinyl features four levels, four dance floors and four types of music. As if all that weren't enough, the rooftop indoor/outdoor patio offers a year-round place to relax with heaters, fire pits, hookahs and sweeping city and mountain views. The spectacular Function-One sound system is just part of the experience, which also includes LED video design, multiple screens and large, open dance spaces. The club is open Thursday to Saturday from 9 p.m.-2 a.m., with summer seasonal partying up on the roof on Sundays. Thursdays are College Nights when the club debuts headlining DJs. Depending on the night and floor, music ranges from salsa, reggaeton, Latin or hip-hop to 1980s and '90s faves and Top 40 tunes to trap, dubstep and future bass music to underground house and techno artists.

Located in LoDo, within the nightlife-centric Nativ Hotel, Stereo Lounge is a place where art, decor and state-of-the-art sound and lighting combine to provide a music and design aesthetic with both contemporary and retro appeal. When not moving to the music, dance lovers can sip classic and classy cocktails prepared by creative mixologists at the bar, or cozy up in one of the exclusive VIP bottle-service tables for the ultimate beverage-and-dance indulgence. Rotating DJs treat patrons to ever-changing, memorable shows, but you never know when a surprise musical guest might show up and deliver a complete takeover of Stereo Lounge.

Golden Triangle
La Rumba
Photo courtesy of La Rumba

Latin dance. That's what La Rumba is about. The club for ages 21 and up appeals to a diverse crowd spanning multiple generations, cultures and ethnicities, and plays diverse styles of Latin music, from salsa, bachata and cumbria to merengue and cha cha. Channeling South Beach and Havana, La Rumba transports dancers to a sultry Latin hot spot, even if Denver is just outside the doors. And just as they would in South Beach or Havana, guests at La Rumba dress to impress. That means no sports apparel, ball caps, tank tops, shorts or flip-flops. On Saturday nights, La Rumba showcases some of Denver's top salsa orchestras, while Friday night is ladies night. In addition to free lessons, guests can signup for paid dance workshops, which take place before the doors open.

The Black Box is making a name for itself as one of Denver's top venues for underground bass music. It has two rooms custom fitted with basscouch sound, making it one of the top sounding rooms in the city. The Black Box side has a capacity of 300, showcases national headliners and charges a cover at the door. The more intimate Lounge, for up to 150, features local crews and has no cover charge, making it a great night out for community music lovers. Two nights of special note: Stomping Ground Thursdays, which is run by four rotating crews representing the local bass music scene, and Final Fridays, promoted by Cosmic Synergy and focusing more on the psychedelic side of bass music. On Sundays, the club hosts production and DJ clinics.

Anyone around the Denver dance-club scene for any length of time knows this address on E. 13th Avenue. It's been the Snake Pit, The Beauty Bar and now it's Pearl's, which is actually two different rooms with two different vibes. Pearl's is the welcoming bar side of the venue offering a not-to-be-missed happy hour. Your Mom's House is the dance and music side. Since last fall, the new owners have moved things around, installed $10,000 in lights and lasers and invested $20,000 into a new sound system. They hope to appeal to a wide range of patrons, even those not deeply into the music-club scene. Bottom line: They're doing the city and the venue proud, creating a new tradition in a space with a rich music tradition that's beloved by many. As one reviewer put it, "The music, the people, the vibe—everything is crushin' it, new hotness for sure." Right on.

THE alternative, underground hot spot in Denver, Milk is a 21+ dance club in the same building—the Jonas Brothers building—as Bar Standard, but tucked away on a lower level. The away-from-it-all venue provides an atmosphere and safe haven where music and dance lovers can express themselves freely and openly. Depending on the night, the musical genre on tap might be Goth, hip-hop, retro, metal, black rock or trap, mashup or turntablism, synthwave or synthgoth. This year, one of the Mile High City's magazines aimed at young professionals named Milk the best underground/underrated dance club in the city, a distinction that is right on target.


Meet Christine Loomis

Christine has written about every aspect of travel, from romance and adventure to family and wellness. She is also lucky to have had three major home states through the years: New York,...  More About Christine