Denver – For decades, there was a familiar after dark roar between Race and Vine Streets on Colfax Street in central Denver.
“It’s been the lion’s den for 63 years,” said Doug Kaufman, co-owner of the Lion’s Lair. “long time.”
The history of the intimate ceremony venue goes back even further.
“As far as I can tell, since sometime in the 1940s,” Kaufman said.
It was initially a jazz club.
“There was an infinite number of jazz artists who played here,” Kaufman said. “Including Dexter Gordon and Terry Clark.”
The venue has hosted legendary musicians and now some modern bands.
Kaufman said, “The Black Keys, The Decemberists, Ozomatli, Mojo Nixon.”
Kaufman believes that the King of the Denver music scene may have the oldest alcohol license of all concert venues in the city.
“With El Chapultepec closed, I can’t think of anywhere else,” he said. “The liquor licenses are numbered and were one of the oldest alcoholic beverage licenses in Colfax. They had no records going back to that time, so they couldn’t find it in the Excise and Licensing office.”
And boy – does the place have a history. Some think this hideout is haunted.
“Ghosts of old jazz, ghosts of old regulars,” Kaufman said. “You come here and you get some drinks inside of you, and you might start conjuring it up, you never know. It could be real.”
Like anywhere else with live music, the coronavirus crisis has recently silenced the lion’s roar.
“It’s been closed for eight months,” Kaufman said. “Business customers. Really, it is. It’s not like its old self.”
While the owner of the place was impatient, with a lot of uncertainty looming, Kaufman and one of his employees decided to launch GoFundMe campaign A few days ago.
“A lot of people are out of woodwork,” Kaufman said.
He and his business partner were totally amazed at the support.
It surprised us all, ”Kaufman said.
More than 350 donors and the number is growing until Wednesday evening.
“Small quantities, large quantities,” Kaufman said. “It has been taken that the place means a lot to a lot of the community here.”
They have raised nearly $ 16,000 so far. People in our society who appreciate this cultural icon. “King of” Colfax, if you will.
“We are very grateful to everyone cracked,” Kaufman said. “He will be back. I’m sure she will.”