There is no other venue like Milk Bar in the city of Denver. The unique, exciting and never boring nightclub serves as a reflection to the diverse and variety that exists within Denver’s nightlife. Milk Bar was recognized for this having recently won the 2016-2017 303 Award for Best “Hidden Gem” or Underground Music Venue.
It is home to many different scenes within Denver and is an open venue for music lovers to enjoy the variety of genres that spin in the three rooms that comprise Milk Bar. The bar is located in the historic Jonas Furs Building, with the only entrance being through the alley way parallel to Broadway. Laid out like a rabbit hole, visitors indulge themselves in the three rooms that make up the venue.
Upon entry, to the right is a lounge and jazz room that accommodates those who feel like sitting down to enjoy the music, as well as a speedy bar. There are DJs who frequently play here, mixing tunes at the first stop for Milk guests. Then it’s time to decide whether to get lost in the labyrinth of the lavish club or hang out by the DJ for awhile.
A corridor leads you to the next and infamous Clockwork Orange-inspired room. This room has a large dance floor, as well as couches to lounge on while listening to music. The inspiration that is directly derived from the film Clockwork Orange can be seen with the checkered walls and provides a feeling you are flashed back into the 1962 novel. Then, there is a third room, which embodies what you would see in European clubs — if it wasn’t for the “Colorado Underground” sign that is placed behind the DJ booth. This room also has lounge areas for you to sit, leads to a smoking patio for guests to grab a gasp of fresh air and is home for another DJ to spin tunes to completely immerse and lose yourself in what makes up Milk Bar.
The venue is not only aesthetically pleasing but also serves as a place for a variety of music to be played. They host Goth Nights, luring those who enjoy the darker sides of things to get whacky on Wednesdays. This is hosted by resident DJ Slave1 in the jazz room, a Denver-based DJ who plays a mix of darkwave-electro and synthpop kind of style. Paired with Roland spinning in the main Milk Bar the experience provides guests with a dark and dance-y time.
Thursday’s are all about techno and tech-house, as well as mashed up hip-hop and trap music. This change-up in music brings about a different scene to the bar than Wednesday’s crowd does. But the energy always remains the same as people meander throughout the realms of Milk Bar.
Fridays at Milk Bar receive quite a rotation of monthly events. Milk & Cookies starts off the month with a First Friday celebration, with DJ’s and artists “battling it out.” It is hosted by Milk & Cookies, Lipgloss with Boyhollow and the Underground. That’s not all though – Lipgloss also hosts dance parties every Friday with Boyhollow and DJ Tower in the Clockwork Orange room. The second Friday of the month invites guests to experience the house music Milk Bar guests enjoy to love. When the third weekend at Milk Bar comes around, the venue gets more diverse with a Wake the Dead death rock and classic goth night. The fourth Friday of the month invites guests to repent, with the Repent-themed evening. Accompanying every Friday to incorporate all three rooms, the Green room on each Friday hosts rotating parties every week.
Saturday’s are just a mix of everything, hence the Mix-Tape Saturday theme. This includes a Goth Room, a Green Room for synth-wave and synth goth, as well as an ‘80s and ‘90s retro dance party in the third room.
With the continuation of weekly events, including goth night, a rotation of Friday events that covers a wide variety of music and Saturday night just mixing it all up, Milk Bar stands as one of the most eclectic places to see music in the Mile High City. In a world where certain styles of dance music dominate nightclubs, Milk Bar reminds the 303 of the diversity of music and culture that call Denver home.
All photography by Danielle Webster