Before the internet, people discovered new music by walking into a store and rummaging around the vinyl records. At Denver’s Vinyl, there are no vinyl records (well, at least for sale), but it still embraces that spirit of discovering something in person.
That’s because this beast of a space occupies four distinct floors in an industrial setting. From the basement to the rooftop (open and comfortable every day, despite the advancing cold weather this time of year), there’s a different vibe going on on each floor.
Yes, you can come for one floor, make it your go-to spot, and never explore beyond. Or you could climb a flight of stairs, and find yourself in a whole other concert experience you’ve never seen before. Hopefully, you’re dressed for the part or you might stand out a bit.
For a deeper look up and down Vinyl’s floors, I spoke with marketing director Stephanie Kroll.
So Vinyl is huge! Four floors of music. Can you tell us what distinguishes each floor? Can people move between them?
Each floor of Vinyl is generally pretty different. We try to book different programming on each floor to give guests a diverse experience. We don’t always do this, but there are a variety of doors at the entrance and around the building, so if we want to split off separate entrances for different floors, we can.
The basement is pretty dark with these glowing bottle service tables lining the sides of the room, and it feels very underground because it is.
The main floor above it is similar but with much more production; a Funktion One sound system, a space to chill in the back of the room, and two designated bottle service booths. Off of the main floor is a patio for smoking.
The second floor is split into two halves—one half is called the Glass Lounge, which is primarily used as a private events space, and the other half has bottle service booths, pool tables and you can usually find circles of people breakdancing to Top 40 music on this floor.
The rooftop is partially enclosed on one half, partially exposed to the elements on the other half. There’s a bunch of seating outside, including fire pits, heaters for when it’s cool out, and misters for when it’s warm out. You can also rent out hookahs on the rooftop. The inside features even more bottle service tables and a second Funktion One sound system.
People can move between all floors by using two separate staircases—one is outside connected to the smoking lounge and one is inside off to the right of the building.
Vinyl seems to get a lot of great artists, who’s been your favorite to see there?
The bookings are so fire here, it’s hard to choose!
I will never forget seeing Agents of Time during Cloak & Dagger Music Festival here in 2016. They put their gear on a big table in a bottle service booth and we had to go to every store in the city to find 24 European power converters to get them set up, but every second of that set was worth it.
I’m a major Anjunadeep fan, and we host the Showcase here every year, so seeing Yotto for the first time was pretty legendary. I would also say Bicep was one of the most incredible acts I’ve seen play live here. We also booked Justin Jay after the Fantastic Voyage EP came out, and that show was awesome because he brought out the live guitarist to play with him.
Any “underplay” act (basically a huge act who wants to play a more intimate and underground venue) is awesome—we’ve had everything from Bob Moses, Bonobo, Chet Faker, Mija, Claptone, Lee Burridge, etc. here.
You can also catch major techno legends like Nicole Moudaber, The Black Madonna, Paco Osuna, and Tale of Us here.
There are also regular club nights like Hip-Hop Thursdays, Fiesta Fridays, and Climax Sundays. What are those about and which do you think is the most fun?
Hip-Hop Thursdays are great because the beat boys come out to dance on the second floor and it’s just a fun, positive vibe all around. Fiesta Fridays is very diverse, everything from hip-hop to Top 40 reggaeton to Latin music is played here on that night. And Climax Sundays is seasonal throughout the summer months. There are a lot of themed parties and we feature some of the best LBGT talent from around the country.
If I had to pick one, I’d likely choose Fiesta Fridays.
Do you find that having different kinds of music under one roof helps expose people to music they might not otherwise have listened to?
It’s hard to say. Some people exclusively come to the venue for one specific type of music. For example, on Saturdays, a lot of the house and techno kids stay on the main floor and the rooftop kids are going to hear Top 40. But that said, sometimes there is overlap, and when people want to mix up their experience, they can always move freely between floors and try a different vibe out.
Outside of the music, I’ve heard there are other amenities that are very relaxing, like lounge, fire pits, mountain views year round, etc. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
In terms of the overall vibe, Vinyl feels very industrial. The whole building is made out of brick, glass, and concrete.
The fire pits and hookah on the rooftop are great. You can book bottle service on essentially any floor you’d like.
There’s a handful of “chill zones” so to speak, if you don’t want to be directly in the action.
The views from the rooftop are great—you can see up and down Broadway, have an awesome view of downtown Denver, as well as the mountain skyline. It’s beautiful at sunset, especially when we have day parties in the summer.
What upcoming events are you most excited about?
Easily our New Years Eve event called Higher Society. For this year, we are moving the event from what used to be City Hall to Vinyl. Not only are there amazing acts playing the show, but we are completely theming out and decorating every floor to be a special experience complete with art and performers. There are experiential activations at the top of every hour. We are announcing the show and details next week!
And the 2018 shows that aren’t announced yet 😉
If there was one thing someone HAD to experience when they came to Vinyl, what is it?
- Vinyl used to be a crematorium wayyy back in the day. We are pretty sure the basement is haunted.
- The GM of Vinyl has worked in the building a total of 15 years – first as a bartender, then as an assistant GM, and finally as the GM.
- The Vinyl staff feels most like a family—they buy each other gifts for birthdays, Christmas, etc. and really come together as a team.
- Vinyl staff members have cool day jobs—one works with the Broncos and one works with autistic children.
- One of our cocktail waitresses is also a kickass go-go dancer.
- Vinyl also can be reserved for private and public rental events—we have a Mac ‘n’ Cheese Beer Fest (how great does that sound?!) coming through this month.
- Vinyl was listed as one of 6AM Group’s “Top Underground Venues in the Country” for 2017.
Did you know that Vinyl is part of the SOCO Nightlife District? Check out their sister venue, The Church, too.
Go out tonight, and any night. Jukely is a concert subscription that gives members guestlist access to hundreds of music events – for one price. Whenever you want to go out, you’ll always have something to do. Learn more and sign up at jukely.com.