Lucky Strike Lanes Belmar's 16 synthetic lanes gleam under a healthy collection of neon lights and high-definition television screens as leather sofas at each lane cradle guests who patiently wait their turn. When not bowling, bowlers can play foosball or billiards at the onsite sports bar or order from a full menu of pizzas, sandwiches, and other grilled items. The sports bar?s wooden accents add to the alley?s decor, which harks back to midcentury lounge styling without vintage drawbacks such as faulty ball returns or the ghosts of failed mayoral candidates floating down the alleyways.
Founded by Cathy Cooke and Carol McKelvey, wife of comedian George McKelvey, Wits End Comedy Club has donated laughs to deserving patrons for two decades. Local and touring comedians stop by Thursday through Saturday night, and audiences can legally eavesdrop on searing live stand-up performances. Check out James Berry and Ryan Lowery in the last weekend in February to fulfill yuk prescriptions, or consult the calendar for future performances.
Amid the lively Kinga’s Lounge, owner Kinga Klek regularly rolls up her sleeves and tends to the full bar and kitchen, working beside a family of staffers as they construct traditional Polish cuisine from scratch. The chefs turn fresh ingredients into authentic dishes, such as stews, schnitzels, and pierogis, while bartenders help diners navigate the staggering menu of Polish beers and vodkas.
Inside the lounge’s dining area, a full-wall mural interrupts a red-and-white color scheme as light from chandeliers dapples ornate wood furnishings. Leather armchairs cradle patrons upstairs, who can carry their merrymaking downstairs to Kinga’s Basement, an equally spirited watering hole where exposed-brick walls stand sentinel under arches and pillars. Festivities spill over to the outdoor patio, enclosed by verdant foliage and strings of lights that crisscross the al fresco space in a foolish attempt to make their way east to become one with the sun. A full schedule of events, including a live DJ on weekends and a comedy showcase on Sunday evenings, keeps revelers reveling.
Every year since 2007, Jazz@Jack’s has won first or second prize in the Denver CitvVoter category of Best Live Music Venue due to its nightly soundtrack of live jazz, blues, and funk. The watering hole's co-owners and house band Dotsero regularly perform their acclaimed brand of contemporary jazz tunes, which floated weightlessly out of the speakers of the space shuttle Endeavor during a 187-orbit flight around Earth. A full calendar of local and national acts lures patrons into the sleek space, where walls of windows reveal panoramic views of the surrounding buildings' toupees. A vibrant hand-painted mural depicting musicians interrupts warm orange walls as the stage's bright lights spill onto a black-and-white-checkered dance floor. Tall tables serve as rest stops for dancers to intermittently sip wine and cocktails blended at the full bar, and a spacious patio encourages the sharing of conversations and selections from Jazz@Jack's smattering of classic bar appetizers and desserts.
Seasoned cook Jose Aparicio, affectionately known as Chef Pepito, puts his more than 20 years experience to use preparing authentic Peruvian dishes with an American twist, cooking inside a sleek, brightly colored eatery decked out with rustic wrought-iron chandeliers. He marinates his classic ceviche’s halibut in lime before mingling it with corn, potatoes, red onion, and cilantro, as well as sizzles up heartier entrees such as tacu tacu—bean cakes and brown rice topped with a quintessential Peruvian seafood sauce. He also riffs on classic Peruvian food with mushroom ceviche and spiced filet mignon with crunchy potatoes.
Behind the bar, which is inlaid with exposed brick, drink mavens craft Peruvian cocktails, such as pisco sours and the Mosquito, a variation of the mojito that’s amped up with Cointreau and fruit juices before being swatted, not stirred.
Every aspect of Next Door Lounge is designed with one goal in mind: helping patrons unwind. Craft beers complement Next Door’s menu of pub food classics, such as juicy Angus beef burgers and wings doused in fiery atomic sauce. As tunes play from the jukebox, the night’s biggest games and most crucial advertisements are shown on a 10'x6' television screen. Other matches unfold in-house, from tests of true aim on the beer pong table to careful stacking sessions with the bar’s giant Jenga set. Evenings at Next Door Lounge also pack plenty of live entertainment, including bingo and open mic nights.