Tucked away in the Berkeley Highlands neighborhood rests Denver’s last independently owned historic music theater. You might have passed by its choppily lit neon sign and old school marquis without a second glance, but once you've stepped inside and experienced the nightly atmosphere of live music and hedonistic good times, you’ll fall head over heels, hopefully not literally, for the Oriental Theater.
It was constructed in 1927 as a movie theater, remaining that way for much of its life, with a few stints in the XXX sector (which happens to the best of us), until 2005 when it was bought by Scott Labarbera and converted into a music and event venue. Although greatly remodeled, much of the theater’s early charm remains intact, including the vintage red velvet seats on the balcony and tropical ceiling murals.
Not one to limit itself these days, you can catch a broad variety of shows including: live music (from local solo artists to national jam bands), independent film festivals, local and national comedy acts, aerial acrobatics, fundraisers, burlesque, and the occasional stripper pole-off. If you want it, they've probably got it. Or had it. Or will have it again.
Being one of the last of its kind, the Oriental has the adaptability to offer many benefits besides a wide range of acts, primarily its affordability. Tickets are priced with fans in mind to ensure everyone has plenty of funds to have those last three, potentially regrettable shots at the end of the night. Deeper than just money, the Theater’s small, raucous staff and community-oriented events will keep you coming back for more.
If you’re ready to support local music and businesses while giving Ticketmaster charges the middle finger, swing by the Oriental Theater. For more information on upcoming events, check out their online calendar.