Colfax. It's embedded in the Denver psyche as a relic of its past as a watering hole on the way west, a destination for trouble, the dirty bits. Like a junky in a halfway house, though, it's pulling itself up and dusting off the 70's. You can now go there to find a juxtaposition of trendy hipster joints and coffee houses down the block from used car lots, dirt cheap taco stands, and purveyors of all things green and leafy. And a juxtaposition of a street is a perfect spot for a place like the Lion's Lair.
It is tough to pin the Lion's Lair down, as from entry you're receiving conflicting signals. Cover charge is $5. By sheer principle a dive shouldn't charge a cover, so you're left a bit salty. Then, of course, as this is the Lion's Lair, you're awarded with some live music for your 5 hard-earned which takes away the sting a bit. The Atomic Americans proceed to take the stage, which is cozily jammed up in the front corner of the smallish velvet covered room (complete with Velvet Elvis; solid) that is the Lair, and they're led by a guy with a keytar. A frickin keytar? I fought the urge to ask for my cover charge back and ordered a beverage.
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Hopefully you get the picture. The Lion's Lair is well situated on Colfax, the battle of pleasant seediness versus gentrification that is going on before our eyes, as it'll cover whatever you're in for: a cheap can of anything cold, a craft brew, or five bucks worth of live music. And if you're in for the music, don't be dismayed if the band's sporting a keytar - the one I saw kicked ass (even though the rest of the band was only average).
You can disturb the Lion's Lair at 2022 East Colfax.