The best live music venues all bring something unique to the table; whether you’re into laid back acoustic sets or prefer more hands-in-the-air sing-along sessions, some of the best live music venues may be just a beat away.

1) Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

Nestled in the Rocky Mountain Foothills fifteen miles west of Denver, there stands a symbol of nature’s unparalleled majesty. Red Rocks is a geologically formed, open-air Amphitheatre that is not duplicated anywhere in the world. With Mother Nature as the architect, the design of the Amphitheatre consists of two, three hundred-foot monoliths (Ship Rock and Creation Rock) that provide acoustic perfection for any performance.

The area of Red Rocks, originally known as the Garden of Angels, has attracted the attention of musical performers since before the turn of the century. The majestic setting of the Amphitheatre, along with the panoramic view of Denver, makes for a breathtaking scene.

2) D’s Tavern

This tavern has it all. Pool tables, great food, ice cold beer and drinks, 16 HD televisions, pool tables, a stage for live music weekly and a lounge area!

3) Dazzle Jazz Club

Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge presents an authentic Jazz Club experience unlike anything in Colorado. This club takes pride on the high quality of service, food, and drink while providing an intimate showcase of local, national, and international musicians. Named “One of the Top 100 Jazz Club in the World” by Downbeat magazine and “Best Jazz Club” by The Westword, this venue strives to be a positive and unique part of the Denver community.

4) Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret

Located underneath Denver’s famed historic D&F Clock Tower, Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret specializes in presenting the most variety entertainment in downtown Denver. Gorgeous decor with a Paris/European cabaret feel, this intimate nightclub features everything from national jazz, blues and comedy acts, and tribute bands to live theatrical shows including singer/celebrity Lannie Garrett. Lannie performs regularly, with a selection of different shows from Big Band Swing to her comedy of Country music, “Patsy DeCline,” The club also features weekly magic and vaudeville shows, and classy burlesque shows.

5) The Oriental Theater

Located in the beautiful (and hip) highlands district, the Oriental Theater is a great choice for live music, comedy, art, movies, great food, drinking, and a night on the town.

6) Golden Moon Speak

This speakeasy style cocktail lounge and distillery tasting room offers an extensive cocktail menu featuring classic and modern craft cocktails, pre-prohibition style punches and long drinks – all made solely with the spirits produced by Golden Moon Distillery. In addition to a comprehensive cocktail menu, they offer cheese, charcuterie and a variety of other small bites and desserts.

7) Nissi’s

Voted Boulder County’s Best Live Music Venue— and the Best Restaurant in Lafayette, Louisville, Erie and Superior—Nissi’s is Colorado’s hot new “supper club” and music venue for adults of all ages. Located in Lafayette, Colorado, if you’re seeking to indulge yourself with great food and live entertainment Nissi’s is the place.  You’ll find award-winning music, entertainment, and event center that are unlike anything else in the area.

8) Herman’s Hideaway

A kind of petri dish for the local-music scene, Herman’s Hideaway opens its stage to bands in their gestation period as well as more accomplished acts that draw well on weekend nights. An open room with minimal adornment, Herman’s feels a bit like a big basement where young players come together to perform for friends, especially during the weekly New Talent Showcase.

9) The Bluebird Theater

The Bluebird Theater was built in 1913 and originally named after the prominent Denver grocer and druggest, John Thompson. The Theater was renamed in 1922 and became an important part of the community. The theater was initially a movie house and went through various phases over the years. In 1994, Chris Swank and a business partner invested in the Bluebird and it re-opened as the mecca for rock music that you know today.

10) Chautauqua Auditorium

A Boulder experience is not complete without enjoying a performance at the Chautauqua Auditorium. For over a century, the Auditorium has held a special place in the hearts of artists, speakers, and all who visit, and has brought the latest in arts, culture and education to the Boulder community. Heated and cooled by Mother Nature, the Chautauqua Auditorium is open from May through September and is a preferred performance venue by artists because of its incredible acoustics and unique architecture. Distinguished speakers such as William Jennings Bryant, Al Gore and the Reverend Jesse Jackson and a diverse array of performers ranging from the Reverend Billy Sunday and music legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Lyle Lovett, Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, BB King, Chris Isaak, The Indigo Girls, John Hiatt, Los Lobos, Ziggy Marley, and many more, have graced its stage over the last 118 years.

Briarwood Inn 1630 Eighth Street, Golden

While it’s absolutely true that the menu hasn’t been updated since you were a teenager sniffing whippets, the Briarwood continues to deliver one of the most elegant dining experiences in the city, thanks to polished, pampering service, tables draped in starched white tablecloths illuminated by soft light, and tried-and-true European cuisine that, while antiquated, is beautifully prepared by a kitchen staff that still believes in old-world decadence.

Barolo Grill 3030 East Sixth Avenue

Now that owner Blair Taylor has completely remodeled Barolo Grill, it’s a stunning restaurant that’s simultaneously sexy and sophisticated, making it an excellent date spot for newly hinged couples and those of you who’ve been married much longer than you care to admit. And then there’s the lovely fireplace that warms a table for two, a terrific wine list, an unfaltering staff and a chef who’s firing on all four cylinders.

Bistro Vendome 1420 Larimer Street

This bewitching French bistro, whose kitchen is commanded by a passionate chef whose food is just as lusty as she is, guarantees an intimate tete-a-tete. Linger over a bottle of bubbly, sneak smooches across the table, and then, to make things interesting, pick a fight to see who gets the last butter-soaked snail. Make up while sharing the chocolate-and-butterscotch tart freckled with fleur de sel.

Beatrice & Woodsley 38 South Broadway

Trumpeting some of the most memorable decor we’ve ever seen in a Mile High City restaurant, Beatrice & Woodsley is, quite simply, an elaborate fairy tale that unfolds in an enchanted forest. Here you’ll slide into curved booths that glow under the flicker of lanterns, which give the room, bedecked in light wood, a sentimental softness. As a bonus, the conversation-piece bathrooms easily accommodate…oh, wait, this is a restaurant.

Steakhouse 10 3517 South Elati Street

If the sizzle of tender steaks and scarlet juices at Steakhouse 10 doesn’t turn up your testosterone, the seductive nude photos, which dominate the upstairs lounge, undoubtedly will. And the dimly lit downstairs dining room, embellished with black-leather banquettes and booths, is nearly as seductive. You could easily settle in for the night…or until the cows come home.

Vesta Dipping Grill 1822 Blake Street

After all these years, Vesta Dipping Grill is still a gorgeous goddess. The sultry union of modern chic and weathered rustic interior creates a spark that fuels its romance. Adding to the kindle is an ever-evolving menu of shareable plates, delicious main dishes and dipping sauces complemented by a noteworthy wine list and alluring cocktails that are all too easy to have a mad crush on.

Black Crown Piano Lounge 1446 South Broadway

If you’re lustful for the quintessential romantic date place, the Black Crown Piano Lounge delivers it in abundance. The jaw-gaping quarters, strewn with magnificent antiques and chandeliers, is bolstered by talented — some remarkably so — pianists who croon better than Frank. Beautifully comfortable sofas and oversize chairs furnish the two-tiered space, which also has a kitchen that turns out everything from a cheese plate to basil-crusted lamb and beef Wellington.

Z Cuisine and À Côté 2239-2245 West 30th Avenue.

Before you pack your bags and jet off for Paris, indulge in dinner at Z Cuisine or À Côté, the French restaurant’s next-door bar. Both sanctuaries strike a romantic mood from the get-go, an ideal appetizer for dinner, which is so good that it makes the real world practically disappear into your cassoulet or charcuterie plate. But be forewarned: Tables are at a premium, and reservations aren’t accepted.

Mizuna 225 East Seventh Avenue

Unpretentiously opulent, Mizuna bathes in the glow of buttercup-stained walls, which cast a serene glimmer over the white-clothed tables that seat the city’s movers, shakers and starry-eyed romance makers. Everything here — from the unassailable service to the wine syllabus to the lobster macaroni and cheese, which in and of itself has made guests fall deeply in love — feels like an aphrodisiac.

Fruition 1313 East Sixth Avenue

True, the tables at tiny Fruition are precariously close to one another, but this is the kind of restaurant where it’s easy to ignore everything else that’s going on around you and instead focus entirely on what’s on your plate and the deep, heavy sighs of your date. Fruition effortlessly melds understated romance with chef Alex Seidel’s food poetry, the combination of which makes for an undeniably dreamy dinner.

Our Favorite Red Wines of the Season

We have all been beginners in wine at some point, and whether you’ve decided you’d like to get into red as a newbie, or you’ve been drinking one specific red for years and now want to branch out, in order to figure out what you like, it’s important to grasp an overview of the different styles that are out there. But it isn’t likely that many of us will be able to taste the insane amount of options available, so we need to start with wines that give us a good representation of the wide spectrum of what’s available.

Don’t worry; we’ve done the hard work for you. All you need to do is head to your local wine shop and ask for a good representation of the four wines below and voila, you’re set for dinner!

Freemark Abby Nappa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

From a wonderfully abundant vintage with exceptional quality, this Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend from over 20 + vineyards using all 5 Bordeaux varietals. This wine serves up a youthful dark ruby color, offers great complexity, the wine expresses aromas of fresh boysenberry, blackberry pie, Bing cherry, dark chocolate, chocolate berry truffle dusted with cocoa powder, all integrated with the spicy sweetness of oak, cedar, cinnamon, clove and a hint of black pepper. The body is very full with a soft entry, coupled with dark cherry/berry flavors that develop from start to finish. With great texture and mouth feel, this cabernet is full bodied, rich and opulent. In one word… delicious.

Tapiz Black Tears Malbec 2011

Wine Enthusiast calls this, “Pure, ripe blackberry aromas are heady, toasty and crisp like burnt bread crust. This Malbec has a profound, drawing mouth feel defined by full extraction and muscular tannins. Savory flavors of blackberry and roasted plum end with depth, focus and welcome freshness.

DAOU Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

A classically styled Cabernet with a highly perfumed nose offering black cherry, cassis, anise and black olive, together with notes of plum, graphite, dried herbs, crushed gravel and Oregon blackberry. Secondary aromas of leather, cigar box and incense reveal deep, harmonious complexity. Powerful, bold and brooding, bursting with layers of black and blue fruits. Boysenberry, blueberry, spicy currant and black plum with accents of sandalwood and toffee. Dark roast espresso, hints of vanilla and lavender potpourri. Flavors are focused in their intensity and beautifully structured, balancing power and finesse throughout the mid palate. A continuing evolution of pure fruit flavors is experienced with this wine’s amazingly long and elegant finish. Will age extremely well.

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

The 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark, rich full-bodied wine with great tannic structure and mouth-feel. It has a garnet color and a nose of ripe boysenberries, cherry liqueur, dark chocolate, sandalwood and a hint of roasting meat. On the palate, it is mouth coating and incredibly rich in umami. It has a very long, savory finish with the slight grip of fine-grained tannins. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2030.