Big City, Small Venues — Underrated Spots to Catch a Show

Residents of Denver are unbelievably lucky to have so many high-caliber venues that consistently host world-renowned artists. If there is an act you’d like to see, it is almost guaranteed that they will make a stop in Denver. Attending a Red Rocks show is on bucket lists around the world, and we are lucky enough to call it our backyard. Ball Arena, Mission Ballroom and Fiddlers Green are all well-known places for a music lover to frequent, but we know size doesn’t always matter. 

If you’re craving something more intimate and affordable, with fewer people, there are plenty of smaller venues nearby that still pack a punch with the talent they bring and the quality of the show they put on. 

Here are six underrated spots to catch a concert that you maybe haven’t been to yet.

Larimer Lounge, Julianna Photography

Julianna Photography

Larimer Lounge

2721 Larimer St, Denver

Known as Denver’s premier Indie rock club, and a first-play milestone for up-and-coming electronic acts from Denver and beyond, Larimer Lounge had a variety of shows happening all week long. Located in the ever-growing RiNo district, the respect locals hold for Larimer Lounge is well deserved. For years they have highlighted acts as they were on the verge of making it big — playing Larimer one moment, then Red Rocks not long after. Arcade Fire, Billy Strings, Phantogram, and Lane 8 are just a few of the memorable performances their stage has seen.

The warm and bright bar up front is well balanced by their dimly lit dancefloor. The staff is always friendly and a large patio offers an airy escape for patrons needing some fresh air. Minimum age for Larimar Lounge shows range from 16 and up to 21 depending on the evening, but Larimer Lounge has a variety of accommodations. Group ticket sales are available on their site, and a separate lounge is available for hosting parties with up to 50 guests.

View their summer calendar here.

Lost Lake

Gracer Foto

Lost Lake

3602 E Colfax Ave, Denver

Located in Denver’s historic Blue Bird District, Lost Lake is a cabin-style lounge inspired by the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. It was formerly the Bulldog Bar but was purchased by Matt La Barge in 2010 where he transformed it into Lost Lake. In 2013 Lost Lake was bought by Scott Cambell and given a facelift, complete with a banger sound system and brand new stage.

A high-quality PA and strong drinks are just a few reasons you’ll want to check out Lost Lake. The Bluebird District is centered around the beloved Bluebird Theater and is a bustling stretch of fun bars, music venues, and good-quality restaurants. If you decide to catch a show at Lost Lake, make sure to stop by  Trattoria Stella or Mezcal for your pre or post-show meal.

View their summer calendar here.

Photo Courtesy of Chautauqua’s Website

Chautauqua Auditorium

900 Baseline Rd, Boulder 

Nestled at the foot of the famous Flatirons mountains you’ll find the historic Chautauqua Auditorium. Located in Boulder but just 40 minutes from the heart of Denver lies something superbly special that is well worth the drive. According to their website, the Chautauqua Auditorium is “heated and cooled by Mother Nature, open from May through September and is a favorite of artists and musicians everywhere because of its incredible acoustics and unique architecture.” On July 8th, they celebrated their 125th anniversary with overwhelming support from the community of Chautauqua.

Rows of auditorium-style chairs face a large stage in a stunningly rustic room. Daylight filters through the gaps in the wood as you are enchanted by unique performances. A short walk outside the auditorium you will find a charming box office run by friendly staff, rolling hills full of blooming poppies and covered, outdoor areas to purchase food and drink. Their calendar list events ranging from full bands, and classical musicians, to film nights and family story times. Be sure to visit this one-of-a-kind venue before it closes for the season in October.

View their summer calendar here.

Photo Courtesy of HQ’s Facebook Page


60 S Broadway, Denver

Located on an entertaining stretch of South Broadway, HQ opened in 2020 and has been a rising favorite in Denver ever since.

When 3 Kings closed, Scott Happel and Peter Ore purchased the space and turned it into what is now a top spot for enjoying a variety of genres. I have been to HQ for a night of dancing with a DJ and an evening in the pit of a grimy punk show and the venue did both extremes very well. Happel and Ore saw the value in the location and were honored to become the proud owners and make it their own.

Fans of HQ boast about the reasonably priced drinks poured by friendly bartenders, large bathrooms with short lines and comfortable couches in the open area of the back of the club. You’ll find a wide variety of events happening all throughout the week at HQ as they host artists of all sizes and genres. Their modern ambiance is complimented by a hint of grit from the punk and metal scene, making HQ a likable atmosphere for anyone that enjoys music in a smaller setting.

View their summer calendar here.

Photo By Forrest Pump

Your Mom’s House

608 E 13th Ave, Denver

“Catch a vibe at Denver’s funkiest bar & venue for live music, local art, cool drinks and general shenanigans.”

If a good vibe is what you’re after for your night out, Your Mom’s House is the place to be. They are well known for highlighting local talent in a space that is small but mighty and will be sure to do the artist justice. The space holds around 400, and none of you will want to leave their vibrant, LED dance floor. Parking can be a little tricky, but it’s worth circling the block a couple of times to spend an evening in this unique environment.

Your Mom’s House is a favorite because they support a variety of artists, not just performers. Shows will often feature live painters, and you can support other local creatives by shopping in their online art and merch store. The space is also available for a variety of rental options. All shows are 21 and up.

View upcoming shows here.

Get involved as a vender, painter, musician or intern here.

Photo Courtesy of Hi-Dive

6. Hi-Dive: 7 S Broadway, Denver

Another South Broadway favorite is the iconic Hi-Dive, one of Denver’s favorite dive bars since 2003. They are well loved for many reasons, but guests flock for the inclusive and low-key environment powered by their high quality sound-system.Catering to all genres from blue-grass to punk, small bands gain a following here and large acts continue to come back. The Hi-Dive is known for featuring innovative bands and providing at atmosphere that both artists and customers will feel comfortable and respected in.

According to their website, “Hi-Dive has been a Denver institution since 2003. Countless local bands got their start at this dive bar in the historic Baker neighborhood on South Broadway. Hi-Dive prides itself on its excellent sound and character, hosting local shows and touring acts all year round. 100% independent and musician owned and operated.”

View their summer calender here.