Many years ago, the fathers of Colorado Springs laid out the city in a perfectly navigable fashion, offering easy transitions from west to east and back again. Ha, just kidding: Only downtown is laid out logically. Everything else requires knowledge of back roads, or at least a sense of how to drive down Platte Avenue.
Going either direction can be a pain in the ass, but if you're heading east we think you'll find it's worth it. And if you're already out there, you may not want to leave.
The city's leading venue for touring acts is out this way, in the form of the Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave., blacksheeprocks.com). Although its all-ages, there's a full bar for the old folks, and a roster of performers that keeps improving: Fitz & the Tantrums, Tech N9ne, Conor Oberst, Ozomatli, Cannibal Corpse. Just be aware that it's dark on nights without live music.
On nights like those, try spots like the Stadium Bar and Grill (6120 Barnes Road, barandgrillcolorado.com), which has morphed from a chain restaurant into a locally owned behemoth. An entire wall is covered with TVs, while the food trends toward the more exotic (ceviche at a sports bar?) and is pulled off admirably.
A few miles away sit Holy Cow Pub & Grill (5885 Stetson Hills Blvd, holycowpubandgrill.com) and Rhino's Sports & Spirits (4307 Integrity Center Point Place, rhinosbar.com). With large seating areas, a variety of national and local brews on tap, and stage space for rocking (assuming you dig hits from the '80s, '90s and today), the two are practically twins. Sure, Holy Cow has a rooftop patio, while Rhino's offers more electronic gaming options than your average arcade. In my mind, the differences only bring the two closer together.
Those interested in a more relaxed approach and some salt-of-the-earth company should head to Frankie's Bar & Grill (945 N. Powers Blvd., frankiesbargrill.com), Frank Patton's spot that sports a second location in Falcon (7376 McLaughlin Road), or the karaoke-loving Hideout Lounge (6437 Omaha Blvd., 596-9771). Those needing to pound sand can try the new BOODAD'S Beach House Grill (5910 Omaha Blvd., boodadsbeachhouse.com), which offers a patio bar and all the volleyball and Corona Extra one can afford — mentally, physically, monetarily, etc.
Then there's Copperhead Road (3330 N. Academy Blvd., copperheadroadbar.com). You might not be a country-music lover, but I bet you're interested in the energetic-and-wiggly, and you'll find that in spades here. Besides, the club's feel is more rebel-Willie Nelson than punch-me-in-the-face-before-I-hear-another-note-of-Conway-Twitty.
If shaking your bon-bon's the goal, Latin Quarters (1865 N. Academy Blvd., lqnightlife.com) is your go-to, while alternative types might also enjoy Club Q (3430 N. Academy Blvd., clubqonline.com). With LGBT-themed events like Cat Fight Night on Sundays, I'm pretty sure you'll find a good time.
Speaking of good times, what could be better than quaffing freshly brewed beer? Rocky Mountain Brewery (625 Paonia St., rockymountainbrews.com) is the east-side local. With a tasting room that could double as a garage, the guys take a casual approach. Still, their output's no joke — try anything with peaches in it, or the cherry-pie-themed Da' Yoopers. Also find Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (3316 Cinema Point Drive, rockbottom.com), which is a chain spot, but makes all its beer locally.
Lastly, for those with more prurient interests, the east side contains PT's Showclub (5975 Terminal Ave., vcgh.com) and Baby Dolls (2354 E. Platte Ave., babydollsgentlemensclub.com). The former recently switched to an all-nude format and supports bring-your-own-beer, while the latter's a staple of Platte Avenue — a good road to know in this town.