1. St. Julien Hotel & Spa – Walnut St. Boulder
Hotel and Spa? Sure, it sounds like the perfect staycation location (and it is, check back in June for our summer staycation article), but the St. Julien is also geared to your daily dancing, drinking and dining needs. With year-round music and the perfect elegant ambience for your date night out, this is the place you bring your beau when you want to leave a lasting impression.
“I’m open to all types of music but don’t dance any particular way,” says Kristen Rae Erkfritz, a local realtor and dance lover. She’s been boogying in BOCO for the better part of two decades and loves the St. Julien’s mature appeal.
Neha Mathur Johnson has been to its jazz and salsa nights. She tells me, “my husband and I enjoy jazz and they usually have pretty talented bands and fun dancing. Salsa nights in the summer are fun together with some friends.”
A local dance scene lover for four plus years, she points out that the St. Julien usually has “couples with young kids. Our kids are five and two years old, and we are in our early 40s. We go out a lot, so the kids know their boundaries.” Asked what’s the best thing about SJ – Johnson says, it’s in the “early evening, kid friendly, not too loud or crowded, adult-friendly, fancy, good drinks and food, you can dress up, it’s a good place to gather with friends, ample space, friendly crowd, good service … I could go on…”
But we’d rather you experience it for yourself. •
Dinner Pairing: Why go anywhere else? The St. Julien is home to Jill’s Bistro. They “highlight contemporary American cuisine prepared with a French accent [and have] one of the most beautiful private dining rooms in the city, The Onyx Room”. They also have vegan nights. If you’re thinking you want more of a bloody steak, head across the street to the Boulder Chophouse & Tavern before ducking into SJ’s for some tail shaking.
2. Breaker’s Grill – Longmont
Longmont’s newest dance venue, Breaker’s, is downtown on Main Street with everything you need for a casual, fun night out.
They have a handcrafted 45-foot steel bar inside their 9,000 square-foot, “something for everyone” venue: DJ booth, dance floor, facilities for live entertainment, private banquet room and enough TV’s to view all of your seasonal sports. Breaker’s also offers 28 taps serving your favorite brews, award winning craft beers and seasonal favorites.
All that entertaining stuff aside, with moveable tables and chairs and plenty of space to stretch out and let loose, this is one helluva place for the local dance lover in you.
Get out of the house, pretend like you’re going on a real date – press the pants, dab of cologne, dancing shoes – and have a night. It’s fun, it’s casual, and most importantly, it’s not full of professionals doing those dance moves that simultaneously awe us and make us want to shuffle off to the billiard tables and give up our two left feet hustle. •
Dinner Pairing: A twofer, you can easily have dinner and dancing at Breakers, with casual pub foods like pizza and calzones, burgers, soups and salads. For higher end fare, you’re a few minutes walk from one of our favorite dinner spots, The Dickens Tavern, which is warm, casual and excellent.
3. Daybreaker – Denver – Boulder
This one is super cool and super weird. Is it a date night? Not really, because it’s an early morning event. Let’s think of it as a bonus.That said, why not start your day with some loving intentionality and dance bae around a room before they head off to their daily work grind?
Daybreaker, according to their Facebook page, “is an early morning dance movement in 23 cities around the world. We start with a yoga + fitness experience and then dance with reckless abandon for two hours before work. We come as we are to sweat, dance and connect with ourselves and each other.”
The Daybreaker Denver + Boulder Facebook page says they gather once a month, waking up to “come together to create something magical…This is a community space where we can share, connect, and create around the incredible things that drive us.”
Things like love. •
Dinner Pairing: Well, since they have events at varying locations at at varying times (their next one is a dusk dance event), Good Luck.
4. Avalon Ballroom – Boulder Dance Coalition and more!
With a spring loaded floor to reduce the impact to your back and your knees, Avalon Ballroom is exactly the place you want to dance when you’re not a 20 something anymore…unless you’re planning for some backflips.
A non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization incorporated in the state of Colorado in 1988, Boulder Dance Coalition’s “mission is to promote public participation in music, dance and other folk arts in the Front Range of Colorado, to encourage expansion of these activities in the larger community.” Lofty goals, but they’re nailing it with rhythm and style.
Jim Borzym, VP of BDC has hosted dances in Boulder/Denver/Fort Collins for 32 years but now almost exclusively hosts at Avalon. With special events, like Colorado Friends of Cajun and Zydeco on Feb. 23, open dance groups from A to (almost) Z — literally, from American Vernacular Dance to Winter Solabration — and an annual summer International Festival, all your dancing needs are met…and exceeded.
Stop into BDC for a one off dance class with your lover and shake all that ice off while getting warmer together. All kinds of people dance at the Avalon – all ages, all styles, all strokes, which means your two left feet will fit right in. •
Dinner Pairing: Blackbelly is right down the street and can we talk about how lucky that is? One of the Good Food 100 (see our Dec/Jan issue), helmed by the inimitable, and award-winning, Chef Hosea Rosenberg. It’s one of the few restaurants that Denver foodies will make the trip for.
5. Hotel Boulderado – License No. 1
BOCO’s top rated historic hotel has you covered with two levels of date night dance opportunity. Why not be the inspiration for a room of onlookers to get up and lindy hop to variations from classical to light jazz every Friday evening in the lobby lounge.
If you’re looking for more regular dancing vibes, in addition to some of the areas most well made cocktails, License No. 1 in the Boulderado basement is your date destination. Impress your beau with some serious liquor trivia: “When Hotel Boulderado opened its doors in 1909, the City of Boulder was dry, having outlawed the sale of demon rum and spirits within city limits in 1907. In 1969, one of the first legal licenses to serve hard liquor in a restaurant was issued to the bar located in the basement of Hotel Boulderado. Today License No. 1 Liquor Bar continues with the very same liquor license first issued in 1969.”
Apart from great music and drinks, the speakeasy vibe makes our whiskey loving heart wanna dance and sing. •
Dinner Pairing: Not gonna lie, there is so much to eat in the area, but we’re leaning heavy toward either of the Skokan restaurants: Black Cat Bistro and Bramble and Hare, are both high class, farm-to-table fare, perfect for that elegant meal and exquisite cocktail pairing.
6. Nissi’s Entertainment Venue & Event Center
Here’s one I’d never heard of, and that’s a bad thing. Nissi’s is an entertainment and event venue with “a variety of music ranging from jazz, acapella, tribute bands, dance and rock bands,” meaning it’s definitely somewhere I want to take a date. Their retro – yes, RETRO – dance club has been around for 15 years and “caters to a 40 to 65 year old demographic, who enjoy an evening of reliving the music from the their past. There’s a comfortable, safe and cool atmosphere with plenty of seating and a great food and drink menu”. Ok, consider us sold.
Nissi’s brings national touring and local bands whose musicianship and professionalism are unmatched to their quaint 180-seat venue. “Whether it’s an 80s cover band, Elton John Tribute band, blues band,or Denver-based dance bands, it’s all about the fun memories and getting together with friends.” Beyond date nights for you and the mister or missus, there are many large groups often celebrating 40-50-or 60th birthdays. So now you have more reasons to check out Nissi’s. •
Dinner Pairing: Ten minutes away is a glorious foodie stretch in Lafayette, where you can find amazing dining options, from William Oliver’s Publick House and Black Diamond Chophouse to Community. If you’re out for adventure, we recommend Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian. Amazing food and service, with just the right amount of food play for you and your date to get closer.
7. Aviation Club – Colorado Rocky Mountain Regional Airport
What’s that? Date night at an airport? ABSOLUTELY. We’re all in for a night of dining and dancing at a local airport. Why be normal when we can step it up a notch or two? Plus, your partner will be shook when you drive up to the Rocky Mountain Regional Airport for dinner and dancing. Plus one in the “let’s make this official column”.
Aviation Club Colorado is a great live music venue and restaurant with a focus on blues & jazz, as well as other great music, according to their Facebook page. Swing is also a major player at ACC, meaning you can lindy hop your lover all across the room and get some real lift off during the big jazz numbers. •
Dinner Pairing: On site, E’s Just Good Eats has you covered with everything from “pre-flight” appetizers and finger foods to full on linguini, salmon, and chicken breast entrees. And more. You won’t be disappointed eating dinner overlooking a runway to the sounds of swing behind you. If you’re feeling slightly more elegant fare, we highly recommend Hickory & Ash, a short drive away adjacent to First Bank Center. Our last meal there was absolutely divine.
8. Hoffbrau Colorado
Hoffbrau is another fast casual kinda date night. They have live bands every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Thursday is “Rock” night, so let your hair fly. The music is mostly from the 70s thru early 2000’s. On Friday and Saturday nights the music is most often R&B/Pop dance music.
Hoffbrau tells me that “all of the bands are considered the very best in the area. “We also have ‘That Eighties Band’ four weekends a year. They are probably the top drawing band in the region. When they are here, it is more like an ‘event’ than just another band playing.” That’s also a great reason to plan your dates ahead of schedule. I’m thinking matching spandex and big hair? Yes?
Open since 1986, they moved to their current location in 2014. It’s the kind of place that draws an all ages crowd, where the youngins mix with the grown folk, “one of the comments we hear most often is how diverse our crowd is… We are truly a place for all ages 21 and up.” Count us in for diversity. And count you in for an epic hair metal date night. •
Dinner Pairing: Truth is, date night meals can go either way. You want to be a bit fancy? Cool, hit up the family friendly Carrabba’s Italian. Since it’s a date night, we suggest Amore Mondays.
9. Vali Soul Sanctuary – 6717 Valmont Rd., Boulder
Vali Soul Sanctuary is a major player in the hippie, earth love, healing, universal connectedness dance world. They host a variety of events, from yoga and meditation to classes on a myriad of subjects. It’s also the birthing of a literal dream: “Sadhna had a dream that he needed to build a temple connected to his home to serve people…. he created the temple space now known as Vali Soul Sanctuary.” They also play host to Boulder Dance Jams and regular ecstatic dance nights.
Boulder Dance Jams is one of the groups hosting events at VSS. They have a contact improv class that has been around since the 70s. Their ecstatic dance (huh, what’s that?) class “is a sober dance to consciously connect to ourselves and others so we may fall into a flow State of Mind and Body,” Tammy says. “There is no talking on the dance floor, we have a bonfire, and ask people to take the conversation outside.”
DJs at Boulder Dance Jams events at VSS “always play live sets and are local Colorado talent. In general funky tribal electronic beats that are fun to dance to are played, but – like the teachers – every DJ has their own style.” In case you’re wondering, this space is open to all ages. “There is no style or genre required just that you move enjoy of being able to move.”
Other ecstatic dance spots you can check out include Rhythm Sanctuary and 5-Rhythms at Star House.
10. BandShell Boogie – The Boulder Bandshell
Ok, let’s start with giving serious props for this coolest of event names. There’s nothing we want to do more than take our honey out to boogie a bit on a date night.
Bandshell Boogie happens all summer in Boulder, each Monday evening (plan ahead). This DJ dance gathering is held weekly from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and incorporates “a cross-section of electronic dance music to appeal to a wide-ranging audience comprised of people of all ages [this means you]. Specifically, events will be alternating weeks of multi-genre dance party music. A combination of: Disco/Funk, World/Ecstatic, Hip Hop and Rap, Club and Pop.”
Which is to say, there’s something for everyone and plenty of room to let loose. Bandshell Boogie points out that, “once people begin to dance and feel more connected to both themselves and a fun new community, what usually follows is that they almost automatically feel lit up and see more possibilities for their relationships, career, parenting, and self-image.” •
Dinner Pairing: Within walking distance: you should hit up Mustard’s Last Stand, Jaipur Indian, or for my vegan readers, Thrive. No matter what you choose, you’re having an epic meal and loving your life, lifting a glass to love and enjoying the start (or end) of your date night.