Bars, clubs, bands, plays, movies, drugs (oh wait, not drugs) ...


Back East Bar & Grill

9475 Briar Village Point, 264-6161


This cozy north end spot is perfect for vegging out with the game, a pizza and a beer. The relaxed atmosphere and super-friendly staff attracts everyone from Dad-like baby boomers to that guy Dad told you to stay away from. Cheap drinks and a decent tap list help round out the attractions.

Buck's Mountain Saloon & Grill

116 W. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 686-1212

Woodland Park's friendly neighborhood redneck watering hole is always a fine place to wile away your miseries in empathetic company. But it's a must during summertime Sunday afternoons, just to hear the weekly country jam's 70-year-old-but-stilll-amazing Rosalie DuPree croon everything from Willie Nelson's "Pancho and Lefty" to her own ribald send-up, "Help Me Fake It Through the Night." And while we can't promise a cowgirl brawl while you're there, it's been known to happen.

Duffy's Tavern

4861 N. Academy Blvd., 599-7739

This super-low-key joint is a decent place for a quiet beer and a game of pool or darts. Added bonus: Smoking outside in the middle of a parking lot feels like free period in high school.

Erin Inn

6480 N. Academy Blvd., 598-3004

Every night, Erin Inn has a special $1 shot. What more could you possibly need? Here's a toast to your impending hangover. As the Irish say: Erin go, bro ...


15 E. Bijou St., Suite C, 635-8303


Best Of 'o8

A triple readers' poll winner Bar for a Martini, Bar for a Specialty Mixed Cocktail, Upscale Bar (its sixth straight year in this category) 15C is a den of hidden delights. Just walk down the dark back alley in search of the purple light to find the otherwise indistinguishable door. 15C's extensive array of martinis range from the classic James Bond affectation to such trendy concoctions as the Sugar Daddy, French Kiss and Velvet Hammer. You'll also find classic hors d'oeuvres, a cigar menu and candlelight.

Frankie's Bar & Grill

945 N. Powers Blvd., 574-4881


Celebrating his 25th year in the business, owner Frankie Patton also holds the distinction of having been sued by Led Zeppelin back in '07 for failure to pay ASCAP fees. (He's pretty careful about that now.) Most of the bands here play cover tunes by whatever artists will inspire patrons to drink and dance which they do with great enthusiasm. Just don't expect to hear a lot of Zeppelin.

Good Company Restaurant & Bar

7625 N. Union Blvd., 528-8877


Best Of 'o8

Sometimes you just gotta belt out your own idiosyncratically tuneful rendition of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" or Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me." But do you have to do it in public? Apparently so, as regulars at our 2008's Best Of Karaoke Bar winner know all too well. Owner Bob Jardon says Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch" may even inspire patrons to dance on the bar. And who can resist those Bad Santa and Pimp & Ho nights?

Hondo's Sports Bar & Grill

4659 Centennial Blvd., 685-8099


Best Of 'o8

Hondo's, Indy readers' pick for Best New Bar last year, offers two huge projection screens and plenty more high-def monitors. You can sit at the bar and watch football, baseball, boxing and whatever, all at once. There's live music on the weekends, pool tables available all the time, free wireless Internet and very decent food that goes beyond just the usual bar grub for instance, breaded and fried jalapeo slices, clam chowder or chili every day, and steak specials.

Indigo Joe's Sports Pub & Restaurant

6120 Barnes Road, 302-0969


Best Of 'o8

Putting in a sports bar somewhere along the busy Powers Boulevard corridor is a logical move, and finding a spot just upstream from Security Service Field (home of the Sky Sox) is even smarter. Our readers' favorite sports bar has plenty of high-def, big-screen TVs to pull in any game or sportscast you want. And it's not just a bar: The menu has plenty of variety, including surprises such as the Santa Fe chicken rolls or the swordfish sandwich.

Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub

21 S. Tejon St., 385-0766


Best Of 'o8

It's no mystery why Jack Quinn's wins our Best Irish Pub award year after year. Not only is it the best place in town to enjoy a Beamish, or one of the many other imports on tap, it also hosts an annual Oyster Fest, a weekly pub quiz and Brian Clancy belting out Irish tunes most Thursdays. The food's pretty tasty, too. Along with traditional Irish fare, Quinn's revamped menu includes mouth-watering choices like Irish-coffee-crusted ribeye.

Keg Lounge

730 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9531

Best Of 'o8

Man and woman do not live by drink alone, which is where Mike Donner comes into the picture. A Manitou Springs High graduate who was also a pretty good basketball player, he rules the Keg Lounge's open-air kitchen, cooking up a variety of consistently excellent dinners even on the busiest nights. He's been at it long enough to have his own staple on the menu: Donner's Scampi, which is a typical shrimp scampi doctored up with Mike's favorite spices. He'll make it as hot as you want, and there's no shortage of cold beer to cool you down.

The Loop

965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9344


Best Of 'o8

An enthusiastic welcome from the Loop staff might lead you to think they'd spent the entire afternoon sampling from the bar. But it's just a healthy "happy to see you" which, along with 13 different margarita concoctions, makes this a damn fine place to go. The menu offers two choices in size: regular, for mere mortals, and grande, which is perfect if you have lots of time to walk home.

McCabe's Tavern

520 S. Tejon St., 633-3300


Best Of 'o8

If shots of whiskey with water chasers aren't your thing, fear not. McCabe's has cheap, yummy shots throughout the week, including $4 Washington apples on Tuesdays and $3 kamikazes on Sundays. You'll find plenty of good beers on tap as well as what may well be the best food of any downtown bar.

Meadow Muffins

2432 W. Colorado Ave, 633-0583

The Urban Dictionary lists meadow muffins as a synonym for cattle droppings, but Frommer's calls it "a boisterous bar packed with movie memorabilia and assorted oddities." Even cattle love the Jiffy Burger, which is topped with bacon and peanut butter.


5910 Omaha Blvd., 574-7447


Best Of 'o8

In addition to myriad daily drink specials, Porky's also offers sand volleyball. (Yeah, that scene from Top Gun just flashed in my head, too.) You'll also find a huge patio and firepits, just like in Lord of the Flies! Except without that kid with the broken glasses. Whose name was Piggy, not Porky. Wait, how did we get onto this?

Rhino's Sports & Spirits

4307 Integrity Center Point Place, 578-0608


In addition to its 11 HDTVs, you'll get plenty of exercise thanks to Rhino's electronic darts, video bowling, video golf and beer pong. You'll also find good bartenders, live DJs on Friday and Saturday night and broadcasts of UFC fights for those who just can't get enough of Quinto Rampage and Keith the Dean of Mean.

Robin Hood Inn

2830 N. Nevada Ave., 520-0363

A king among dives, this packed bar serves strong drinks to a delightfully seedy clientele, rocks the liveliest karaoke ever and has several creepy murals of the anthropomorphic characters from Disney's Robin Hood. A huge, covered patio makes up for closet-sized bathrooms.

Rum Bay

20 N. Tejon St., 634-3522

Best Of 'o8

Holding a reputation as the place to dance like a fool is Rum Bay's forte 2008 was the club's third year in a row to win that award, with three additional wins in its history. You'll find eight nightclubs under one roof, including the 109.57-square-foot Sam's World's Smallest Bar.

13 Pure

217 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-0999


Serious drinking and dancing reigns at 13 Pure, where you'll find a $15 get-all-you-can-drink deal on wine, wells and drafts all night, plus $5 Jag and Tuaca bombs. This along with Top 40, electro and Latin music on the dance floor will guarantee a morning spent in bed.

Time Out Sports Lounge and Deli

3721 Drennan Road, 390-7257

This is the perfect spot for anyone who left his or her heart in Minnesota. Time Out serves up plenty of cheap drinks and hot, greasy bar food. Extra points for remaining faithful to its Vikings' purple pride right here in the middle of Broncos country.


311 N. Tejon St., 228-6566

Best Of 'o8

For two years now, Tony's won our Best Of for Bang-for-your-Buck Bar, Hangout and Neighborhood Bar. This, in spite of the fact that former Indy arts editor Pete Freedman left the state. You'll even find a "Recession Night" on Tuesday and Thursday evening, featuring five items for under $5, including a shot-and-24 oz.-PBR-draft combo. Who says life isn't good?


110 N. Nevada Ave., 578-7771


Best Of 'o8

Voted by our readers as Best Gay Bar in 2008, the Underground is located in the heart of downtown. Sure, there's the friendly, mellow clientele and roomy deck, but it's the incredible sound-system and brick dcor downstairs that keeps the party rockin' 'til the break of dawn. Well, actually 'til 4 a.m. Close enough.


Benny's Restaurant & Lounge

517 W. Colorado Ave., 634-9309

Best Of 'o8

Local blues prodigies like Grant Sabin and Jeremy Vasquez play here on a regular basis. Benny's is also an excellent pit stop for bikers, barflies and pretty much anyone else who knows how to live the good life.

Black Sheep

2106 E. Platte Ave., 227-7625


Best Of 'o8

Indy readers have awarded the Black Sheep our Best Local Venue for Live Music each of the three years since this all-ages venue opened. It books a steady stream of national-caliber indie, emo, metal, hip-hop and uncategorizable artists. Being owned by the Denver-based Soda Jerk Presents gives it extra clout when it comes to bringing in touring bands.


25 N. Tejon St., 596-1212


Best Of 'o8

In addition to Indy readers calling it the Best Place to Two-Step for the past three years, this Tejon Street venue brings in some pretty impressive country tunesmiths. Darryl Worley and Aaron Watson both came through recently. When the live music stops, there's always that mechanical bull and plenty of dancing. And if you've never seen a roomful of line-dancers getting down to Clarence Carter's "Strokin'," you haven't experienced Colorado Springs.

Crystola Roadhouse

20918 U.S. Hwy. 24, Woodland Park, 687-7879


Great sound and sightlines, plus a formidable lineup of touring roots and blues acts, make this wood-hewn getaway a destination spot for music fans throughout the area. Owner Darryl Maggs used to play professional hockey in Canada, which may be why Corb Lund and his Hurtin' Albertans came through twice in the first three months of '09.

Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub

21 S. Tejon St., 385-0766


Best Of 'o8

A who's who of the Springs' young blues players routinely hit this pub, along with no shortage of Celtic troubadours. Occasionally, patrons may also have a drink or two.

Jimbo's Take 2

2427 N. Union Blvd, 244-1601


Otis Taylor, Bob Margolin and John Hammond are among the artists who've performed at musician Big Jim Adams' Jimbo's Take 2, which started as a private club but is now open to everyone. No alcohol, though: The venue's aim is to present acoustic roots music in a setting with the intimacy of a house concert, just bigger and with much better sound.


950 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-4433


Best Of 'o8

Surprisingly few outdoor clothing shops play host to touring artists these days (or any days that we're aware of), but Kinfolks is and does just that. You'll also find darts not to be thrown at the stage and a selection of micro-brews that changes weekly. Plus, the guy who books shows there is named Shitty.

Oscar's Tejon Street

333 S. Tejon St., 471-8070


Best Of 'o8

In addition to being named by Indy readers as the Best Bar with a Smokin' Patio, Oscar's also has a lineup of smokin' patio bands. Its huge outdoor space has wood and plastic sheeting for walls, a stage for music, and big heaters and a bar for year-round comfort and joy. Combine that with a hangover breakfast on weekends and a Tuesday crawfish boil, and you are most definitely good to go.

Rocket Room

230 Pueblo Ave., 447-4990


Best Of 'o8

Colorado Springs' best live PunkRockabillyAmericanaGarageRock venue puts the stage front and center, but it's also got a Stooges-stocked jukebox and bartender Dave Baumgartner, both of whom snagged Best Of awards this year. All that plus absinthe, which makes the heart glow flounder.

SoDo Night Club

527 S. Tejon St., 314-0420


What can you say about a club featuring hip-hop DJs, Texas country artists and aging hair bands that hasn't been said before? And you thought post-modernism was dead.

SouthSide Johnny's

528 S. Tejon St., 444-8487


Best Of 'o8

Local stalwarts like Jake Loggins and Arch Hooks keep the dance floor packed at this lower Tejon establishment, which lives up to its motto: "It's better to eat at a great bar than drink at a restaurant." The axiom is no less true than Billy Connolly's claim that "If you want to lose a bit of weight, don't eat anything out of a bucket."

The Thirsty Parrot Bar & Grill

32 S. Tejon St., 884-1094


Sure, there's cover bands (including those touring Led Zep guys), but what other Springs venue can boast performances by Billy Bob Thornton and Firefall? The music takes place upstairs, away from the serious drinking, and features top-notch acoustics well-suited for weekly performances by local jazz players, as well as the occasional itinerant blues artist.

Triple Nickel Tavern

26 S. Wahsatch Ave., 477-9555


Best Of 'o8

Will the U2 or, God help us, Blink-182 of tomorrow be playing the Triple Nickel tonight? Um, no, but if you're looking to discover a motley crew of talented young road warriors from across this great country of ours, bands who sound f'n great after just one $5.50 pitcher of PBR, then this is your place. Pretty much all shows are free, except, you know, for U2.

Union Station

2419 N. Union Blvd., 227-7168


If you're looking for a place to get your metal on without hordes of underage vermin trying to swig your drink while your back is turned Union Station is just like your own little Cheers. Except that instead of that creepy postman, they have free body shots. But just for the ladies. Frat-boy gets to watch.


Armstrong Hall

14 E. Cache la Poudre St., 389-6606

This Colorado College venue has played host to bands ranging from Low to Phish, as well as public radio fixtures like Ira Glass and etown, operas, dance companies and the annual Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival. Sadly, reports of repeated attendance leading to enhanced biceps have proven apocryphal.

Arnold Hall

United States Air Force Academy, 2302 Cadet Drive, 333-4497

Where else on the Front Range would Sinbad or the current Mike Love-led Beach Boys play other than the U.S. Air Force Academy's Arnold Hall? Maybe not anywhere! Anyway, you'll also find theatrical performances here, as well as a Ticketmaster outlet for those who don't believe in computers or telephones.

Black Rose Acoustic Society

Black Rose Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Road, 528-6119


This is the 15th year that the Black Rose Acoustic Society has presented its twice-monthly open stage events, where folk, bluegrass and other unplugged musicians present their music for that rarity of rarities, an attentive audience. The not-for-profit group also presents a variety of jams and feature performers at venues throughout the area.

Colorado Springs World Arena

3185 Venetucci Blvd., 477-2100


OK, so you got your Elton John, you got your fancy TV comedians, you got your Colorado College Tigers hockey games, you got your big Christian music tours. What else? Oh yeah, there's those ice-skating Mickeys and Elmos. Did we mention CC hockey games?

Pikes Peak Center

190 S. Cascade Ave., 520-7469


From Wilco to ZZ Top to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, this beautifully appointed mid-sized venue plays host to a busy schedule of artists from all walks of life. The center is also home to Studio Bee, for those times when more intimate performances are called for.

Stargazers Theatre & Event Center

10 S. Parkside Drive, 476-2200


Go to a dome in Hollywood, and all you get is big movies. But in the Springs, you'll find the newly opened Stargazers, a large geodesic dome where local and national acts share the stage with the occasional Ben Franklin impersonator. Built 40 years ago by Hollywood Cinerama architect Vincent G. Raney, the venue that's previously served as a theater, opera house and series of churches has found new life (desperate pun intended) yet again.

Venue 515

515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1861


The Business of Art Center's performance space has been getting busy these days with big-name alt acts like Split Lip Rayfield, Pueblo's mighty Haunted Windchimes and a day-long Mardi Gras jamboree. Since this is Manitou, expect at least one barefoot white guy with dreads and one blissful woman twirling a hula hoop.


BAC Film Series

Venue 515, 515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1861

ifsoc.org, thebac.org

The Independent Film Society of Colorado and the Business of Art Center have teamed up to offer monthly screenings of high-quality independent films that shouldn't be missed, but would be if you relied on the multiplex.

Back-Shelf Movie Nights

Nosh, 121 S. Tejon St., 634-6674


Nosh's monthly screening and discussion group is led by the Gazette's Warren Epstein, who once proposed creating his own film awards: "The Warrens like the Oscars, but not." His film series should have a longer shelf life (again, pun intended).


Shuga's, 702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412


Every Tuesday brings film night at Shuga's, which means instead of popcorn and a movie, you can have a full meal and a martini while watching your favorite flicks. Show times and themes vary, so call ahead or check the Web site.

Colorado College Film Series

Colorado College, 389-6607


The college features a variety of foreign-language, alternative and thought-provoking films, throughout the year at various campus locations.

Filmmakers Alliance of Southern Colorado

steve@impactvideo production.com


Screenings of local films, filmmaker networking events, seminars on filmmaking techniques and more come via this growing group of filmmakers and film-lovers.

First Congregational Church

20 E. St. Vrain St., 635-3549 (church), 471-8215 (organizer)


The church offers multiple free film series that are open to the community and feature quality films with discussions and potluck dinners.

Independent Film Society of Colorado

15715 Valdez Circle, Peyton


This nonprofit hosts multiple events in the Pikes Peak region that bring audiences and filmmakers together. Chief among them: The Indie Spirit Film Festival, an ambitious, locally organized April event that's attracted hundreds of submissions in just its second year.

Indymedia Newsreal Brown Bag

Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, 332 W. Bijou St., #106, 632-6189


The PPJPC, your local source for nonviolence and social justice, offers occasional free screenings and discussion of alternative news clips that corporate media fails to show.

Journey to Community Film Series

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 730 N. Tejon St., 633-7717


Free and open to the public, this monthly series, features classic and award-winning films.

Movies @ Your Library

Pikes Peak Library District, 531-6333


Each month, local library branches present free screenings of current and classic movies for adults, teens and children. March brought Singing in the Rain, Shakespeare in Love, Mamma Mia! and Get Smart. (Also, don't overlook the fact that local libraries have pretty strong collections of movies on DVD, which you can check out for free.)

Theater companies & venues

Alleycat Theatrics

111 S. Seventh St., 209-1484


This acting school and theater company teaches children and youth ages 7 to 18 the craft of theater. Apart from classes, the company regularly produces "junior" versions of plays, staged at the City Auditorium.

Academy Concerts

Arnold Hall Theater, United States Air Force Academy, 2302 Cadet Drive, 333-4497


Arnold Hall plays host to the AFA's own performing groups as well as to touring shows. Its most recent season included Pajama Game and the musical Nunsense, starring Sally Struthers. Yes, that Sally Struthers.

The Butte Theater

139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 689-6402


The Butte is home to the Thin Air Theatre Company and the Butte Players, who occasionally share actors in classic musicals, holiday olios and original productions representing Teller County history.

Damon Runyon Repertory Theatre

611 N. Main St., Pueblo, 719/564-0579


The theatre produces a variety of shows every season, from interactive murder mysteries to dramas, musicals and comedies. The spring and early summer will bring shows including Gypsy and the sure-to-be-Broadway-bound The Royal Gorge Miner ore Go Pick Your Crack Young Man.

First Strike Theatre

919 Sahwatch St., 471-3405

These acting activists create custom performances that mix humor, song and dance with their own material to deliver current, politically charged social commentaries.

Iron Springs Melodrama Dinner Theater

444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5104

pikes-peak.com/ attraction/15.aspx

Although it's the only dedicated dinner theater in the area, the Melodrama does allow a meals-optional ticket to see its campy but charming shows. The season runs April through October, and there are special holiday productions in December.

JAKES Theatre Company



Boasting affordable theater put on by talented local artists, JAKES has the Springs covered for outrageously entertaining and playfully informal cabaret. At press time, troupe member Jessica Gisin was writing Things My Mother Never Told Me, to celebrate Mother's Day, as well as Group Therapy for the summer and a third, yet untitled, cabaret for the fall.

Manitou Art Theatre

1367 Pecan St., 685-4729


The MAT, though now technically in Colorado Springs, hosts only original theater. Expect shows for kids, a Premieres series with new national actors, and an Encores series of works by Colorado artists, including consistently wacky theater owners Jim Jackson and Birgitta De Pree. The MAT also offers acting workshops.

Moody Touring Mystery Theatre


You can schedule an event with this area theatre group, which engages audiences with a whodunit show. Started in 2007, the group writes its own material, which is suitable for ages 13 and older.

Opera Theatre of the Rockies



The opera company recently wrapped production on its 2009 show, Street Scene. With only one major production per year, the theater spends the rest of the time visiting schools and hosting the Vocal Arts Symposium with Colorado Summer Festival of the Arts, all to promote opera in southern Colorado.

Pikes Peak Center

190 S. Cascade Ave., 520-7469


Every year, the Pikes Peak Center brings the Broadway in Colorado Springs Series to town. This year's musical shows include Ain't Misbehavin' with American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.

Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center

Arts Center Theatre, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, 719/295-7222


The Children's Playhouse series and the Center Stage Series host local and national productions as well as dance acts from around the world. The center's own Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre performs contemporary and classic works.

Simpich Showcase

2413 W. Colorado Ave.


The puppet and doll workshop closed in 2007, but will reopen later this year this time with a 70-seat theater expected to house five shows annually, with performances three to four times per week. The showcase will expand to include an art gallery and a small museum with displays tracing the history of the locally made and beloved Simpich character dolls.

Spotlight Community Theatre/The Stage Door Theatre Players


spotlightcommunity theatre.com

A Monument-based community theater offering youth productions, such as Alice in Wonderland, Jr. This season, the budding company has expanded to include an adult group. Experienced producers, directors, vocal coaches and actors help run the organization.

Theatre 'd Art

Osborne Studio Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive, 264-9476


Run by ex-UCCS students, this is cutting-edge, experimental theater with substance. It hosts a yearly Theatregasm festival, and a weekend of original short, experimental plays. Its April production keeps up the avant-garde trend; R.U.R. tells the story of a future populated mainly by robots, who have become nearly human.

UCCS Theatreworks

Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive, 255-3232


The college's professional troupe performs works from modern classics (a stage adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath), to Shakespeare (As You Like It), to original productions. Its performances are overseen by a 40-local-show veteran, artistic director Murray Ross.

Watch This Space

218 W. Colorado Ave., #102, 633-8409


At the time of publication, local artist-grump Tom McElroy, known as Atomic Elroy, was about to open a performance/dance/multimedia art space with his artist wife, Lisa (who goes by Zelda Bubbles). Look for guest performances along with Elroy's own quarterly productions.

Improvisation and comedy

The improv groups below perform short- and long-form comedy skits, which often rely on audience participation. For a more traditional experience, head to Loonee's Comedy Corner (loonees.com) on Academy Boulevard, which regularly bills local and national comedians.

Improv Colorado


The RiP


Stick Horses in Pants


Best Of 'o8

Suburban Stage Munkys



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