Standing on the corner of 20th and Market, El Chapultepec has been a staple of the local jazz scene for a long time. Now, after decades of live music, good food and an impeccable jazz legacy, the Denver staple finds itself one of the latest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and is closing its doors for good according to an article from The Denver Post, published this morning.
Built years before the Downtown Revival that turned LoDo into what we all know today, El Chapultepec was more than just a bar — it was a window into Denver’s history. Built in the late 1800s, it’s suspected that the building first served as not only a bar, but also a brothel. After the end of prohibition in 1933, the bar then reopened as the Scramble Inn, though many locals still called it by its former name or simply, “the Pec.” Today, the bar claims this date as their official opening.
Adopting its original name sometime in the ’50s, then owner Charlie Romano used the space to pay tribute to his Mexican heritage. In that same spirit, Romano began the bar’s musical history by booking mariachi’s to entertain patrons. However, it wasn’t until 1967 that Romano added jazz music to the bar’s offerings, and by the ’80s jazz was the primary form of entertainment at the bar.
Throughout the years, El Chapultepec hosted both local and touring jazz acts, ultimately distinguishing itself both locally and nationally. However, in spite of El Chapultepec’s attempts to continue to bring jazz to fans via streaming throughout 2020, the pandemic has sadly claimed another victim. El Chapultapec follows 3 Kings Tavern and Local 46 as venues Denver has lost during the pandemic.