Bristol Brewing Company
1647 S. Tejon St., 633-2555 | bristolbrewing.com
Best of 2009
Even after 15 years, we never tire of Bristol. For one thing, it churns out not just beers, but talented brewmasters: Jason Yester was a Bristol brewer who started Trinity Brewing Co., and now assistant brewer John Schneider has started his own label and brewery-within-a-brewery called Black Fox Brewing. As ever, the main attraction is the brew: the recently coined Compass IPA, the ongoing Skull and Bones series, the award-winning Laughing Lab and lots, lots more.
Judge Baldwin's Brewing Company
4 S. Cascade Ave., 473-5600
When Judge Baldwin's opened in 1991, it was the Springs' first microbrewery. Located inside the Antlers Hilton, it's now a low-key operation, churning out beers mainly for hotel and restaurant guests, says head brewer Mike Ford. He makes a few seasonal beers, including an Irish red for St. Patrick's Day and an Oktoberfest in the fall, but for the rest of the year he's content to brew old favorites like amber and pale ales.
Phantom Canyon Brewing Co.
2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2800 | phantomcanyon.com
Best of 2009
Because Phantom doubles (quadruples?) as a restaurant/billiard hall/banquet facility, it's tempting to classify it as something other than a brewery. That is, until you taste the beer. (The huge industrial brew tanks in plain sight are also helpful reminders.) Classics like the Hefeweizen and Queen's Blonde Ale are always on tap, but Phantom regularly offers seasonal creations, like summer blueberry ale and an annual barleywine. Enjoy any of the beers over dinner, or head upstairs to the aforementioned billiard hall for nightly drink specials.
3316 Cinema Point Drive, 550-3586 | rockbottom.com
Rock Bottom may be corporate, but its Springs location does all its brewing on-site, every beer the product of local brewmaster Jason Leeman. He picked up two awards at the Manitou Craft Lager Festival last summer, and each month unveils a new creation. Rock Bottom usually offers about 14 brews on tap, but don't expect to find Bud or Coors: "If we don't brew it," Leeman says, "we don't serve it."
Rocky Mountain Brewery
625 Paonia St., 528-1651 | myspace.com/rockymountainbrewing
The guys at Rocky Mountain like to experiment with small batches of unusual flavors. They've done a red chili beer and a toasted coconut porter, the kind of brews that disappear soon after they're introduced. But whenever you visit this garage-like tasting room, head brewer Nick Hilborn promises you'll get beer with personality: "We're not trying to dummy down our beers. We're not reducing the flavor so that more people will like them ... we're trying to impress the microbrew drinkers."
Trinity Brewing Company
1466 Garden of the Gods Road, 634-0029 | trinitybrew.com
Much of Trinity's interior was constructed from repurposed materials, including the psychedelic bar top, made from shards of beer bottle glass layered in resin. But its business model is anything but recycled: Trinity implements Slow Food (local, organic) principles in the kitchen and rewards human-powered arrival (biking, walking) with discounted beer. As for the beer, Trinity keeps it flowing from 30-plus taps, both imported craft brews and refreshing creations from head brewer and owner Jason Yester.
Back East Bar & Grill
9475 Briar Village Point, 264-6161 | backeastbarandgrill.com
Back East is a little bit of heaven up north (or back east, depending on where you start out from), especially if your idea of heaven includes vegging out with the game, a pizza and a beer. Relaxed atmosphere and a super-friendly staff draw a varied clientele, as do the cheap drinks and a decidedly decent tap selection.
1106 N. Circle Drive, 635-7865
Some things just improve with age, and Bernie's is proof. The bartendress is seriously old-school, as is a clientele that's been going there for decades and will treat you just like family (but in a good way). Plus, there's a "Homey" shrine on the bartop. So what are you waiting for?
Buck's Mountain Saloon & Grill
116 W. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 686-1212
Stepping into Buck's is like stepping into another world, which can be a good thing. Woodland Park's friendly neighborhood watering hole is a fine place to wile away your miseries or celebrate hard-won victories in empathetic company. And while we can't promise a cowgirl brawl while you're there, it's been known to happen.
1850 Dominion Way, 265-8820 | dublinhouseco.com
Because you can't have enough Irish bars — let alone Irish bars with plentiful 2-for-1 deals — in Colorado Springs, or anywhere else for that matter. And yes, since you ask, they do have karaoke.
4861 N. Academy Blvd., 599-7739
Beer's cheaper by the bucket at Duffy's (which inexplicably does not carry Duff Beer), and the atmosphere is about as low-key as Tom Waits' voice on a bad day. For the truly ambitious, there's also pool and darts, as well as a bunch of smokers in the parking lot, just like in high school.
6480 N. Academy Blvd., 598-3004
Yes, every single night of every single month of every single year (except June 17, 2012 — mark your calendar), Erin Inn features a special $1 shot. Think of it as the value menu over at McDonald's, if Ronald was an Irish clown with a family history of alcoholism. Here's a toast to your impending hangover.
15 E. Bijou St., Suite C, 635-8303
Best of 2009
You can drink, you can smoke, and you can stare across a candle-lit table at your loved one. Or you can just drink and smoke. A multiple readers' poll winner in the Bar for a Martini and Upscale Bar categories (its seventh straight year in the latter), 15C is a den of hidden delights located down a back alley with a purple light next to an indistinguishable door. In addition to the cigar menu, martinis rule here, from the classic James Bond affectation to such trendy concoctions as the Sugar Daddy, French Kiss and Velvet Hammer.
Frankie's Bar & Grill
945 N. Powers Blvd., 574-4881 | frankiesbargrill.com
Surviving a quarter-century in the business, owner Frankie Patton also holds the distinction of having once been sued a few years ago by Led Zeppelin for failure to pay ASCAP fees. Frankie still books cover bands, but don't go there expecting to hear "Stairway to Heaven" anytime soon.
28 N. Tejon St., 636-2244 | gasolinealleycs.com
Best of 2009
Winner of this year's Best New Bar, Tejon Street's most conspicuous newcomer specializes in rooftop partying fueled by happy hours with $3 pints and $6 pitchers. (Get it? Fueled? Gasoline Alley? Um, hey, where'd everybody go?) Put it all together and you've got the perfect environment for a clientele that the bar boasts is "wild, crazy and ready to rock out."
Good Company Restaurant & Bar
7625 N. Union Blvd., 528-8877 | goodcompanybar.com
Best of 2009
OK, it may not be the same as watching Bill Murray croon Roxy Music's "More Than This" to Scarlett Johansson, but Good Company's karaoke nights have their own kind of special moments. Like when folks climb up on the bar during feverish renditions of Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me," the occasional Pimp & Ho night ... it's all part of what makes Good Company Colorado Springs' reigning Best Karaoke Bar winner.
Hondo's Sports Bar & Grill
4659 Centennial Blvd., 685-8099 | hondoscoloradosprings.com
Every cut, gash and bruise will come to life as your favorite boxers and hockey stars earn their money on two huge projection screens and a ton of high-definition monitors. Also good: free wireless, pool tables, live music on weekends, steak specials and extra-healthy breaded and fried jalapeño slices.
Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub
21 S. Tejon St., 385-0766 | jackquinnspub.com
Best of 2009
If we were the Gazette, Jack Quinn's constant wins in our Best Irish Pub category would require us to rename it the Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub Award. (No, honest, they're actually doing that.) But, you know, we're not, so we won't. What we will do is tell you that not only is this the best place in town to enjoy a Beamish or one of the many other imports on tap, but it's also home to an annual Oyster Fest, weekly Geeks Who Drink trivia contests, Brian Clancy's Irish drinking songs and tasty Irish-coffee-crusted ribeye.
730 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9531
Mike Donner, a Manitou Springs High graduate who was also a pretty good basketball player, rules the Keg Lounge's open-air kitchen, cooking up a variety of consistently excellent dinners even on the busiest nights. He's been at it long enough to have his own staple on the menu: Donner's Scampi, which is a typical shrimp scampi doctored up with Mike's favorite spices. He'll make it as hot as you want, and there's no shortage of cold beer to cool you down.
965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9344 | theloopatmanitou.com
Best of 2009
Voted this past year's Best Bar for a Margarita, the Loop boasts a staff so downright cheerful, you could swear they'd spent the afternoon getting a bit looped themselves. Not so! It's really just a healthy "happy to see you" attitude, which goes perfectly with the Loop's 13 different margarita concoctions. You even get your choice of sizes: regular, for mere mortals, and grande, which is perfect if you have lots of time to walk home by a somewhat circuitous route.
520 S. Tejon St., 633-3300 | mccabestavern.com
In addition to what may well be the best food of any downtown bar, McCabe's has cheap, yummy shots throughout the week, including $4 Washington Apples on Tuesdays and $3 Kamikazes on Sundays. It also has lots and lots of beer, which is kind of unusual for an Irish tavern, isn't it?
2432 W. Colorado Ave., 633-0583
Whether you want to drink and dance or just soak up some atmosphere in a bar that's named after cattle droppings, Meadow Muffins can meet your needs. No less an authority than Frommer's calls it "a boisterous bar packed with movie memorabilia and assorted oddities." What those oddities are varies from night to night.
101 N. Tejon St., #10 (½ block east on Kiowa), 302-0280 | themetropolitaindowntown.com
Billing itself as "a bit of Paris and New York in downtown Colorado Springs," the Met is accessed via a metal subway entrance that forgoes the broken bottles that line the steps to Brooklyn's D Line. The Pink Grapefruit Martini is essential, whether shaken or stirred, with grapefruit juice squeezed fresh right when you order it. These martinis aren't just refreshing — they make pickup lines sound fresher as well.
Pine Gables — Stray Dog Saloon
10530 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls, 684-2555
Well-above-average bar food and plenty of libations make this western getaway a great escape from the unrelenting urban intensity of places like Old Colorado City. You'll also find local microbrews, blues artists and jam bands in a laid-back setting.
5910 Omaha Blvd., 574-7447
Pending the submersion of California, Nevada and Utah, this theme bar from Oscar's proprietor Phil Duhon is the closest thing Colorado Springs will ever get to a beach. In addition to myriad daily drink specials, the brand-new OE also offers sand volleyball, just like Top Gun, except without Tom Cruise. You'll also find a huge patio and firepits, just like in Lord of the Flies, except the kids are old enough to drink now and they don't kill each other.
Rhino's Sports & Spirits
4307 Integrity Center Point Place, 578-0608 | rhinosbar.com
In addition to great bartenders and deejays who don't suck (according to the Indy's own recovering techno deejay), Rhino's offers 11 HDTVs, electronic darts, video bowling, video golf and beer pong. Plus, there are broadcasts of UFC fights, so you can get your Quinto Rampage fix.
Robin Hood Inn
2830 N. Nevada Ave., 520-0363
A king among dives, this packed bar serves strong drinks to a delightfully seedy clientele, rocks the liveliest karaoke ever and has several creepy murals of the anthropomorphic characters from Disney's Robin Hood. A huge, covered patio makes up for closet-sized bathrooms.
20 N. Tejon St., 634-3522
How does Rum Bay do it, you ask? Volume. It's got eight nightclubs under one roof and has managed to rack up a half-dozen Best Of awards through the years. Rum Bay is arguably the biggest reason for those Tejon Street traffic slowdowns on weekend nights.
217 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-0999 | myspace.com/13purenightclub
Serious drinking and dancing used to reign at Syn. Which sounds fun, except that serious violence often ensued. In March, the city's liquor board revoked the club's license to serve alcohol. What's left, at least as of press time, is a historic stone downtown building where you can get ... soda and other decidedly un-syn-ful drinks. Do with that information what you will.
Thunder & Buttons II
2415 W. Colorado Ave., 447-9888
In addition to local rock bands and the occasional hip-hop night, this west side watering hole boasts bottled beers at extremely reasonable prices. And, oh yeah, karaoke. Lots of karaoke.
Time Out Sports Lounge & Deli
3721 Drennan Road, 390-7257
With lots of cheap drinks and hot, greasy bar food, this is the next best thing to being in Minnesota. Extra points for remaining faithful to its Vikings' purple pride right here in the middle of Broncos country.
Tony's Downtown Bar
311 N. Tejon St., 228-6566
Best of 2009
Voted our Best Bang-for-your-Buck Bar and Neighborhood Bar for three years now, Tony's is all that and more. Now going into its 11th year, the friendly neighborhood Tejon Street establishment has a large selection of bar foods to keep you going, although that second order of deep-fried cheese curds might not be the best idea.
110 N. Nevada Ave., 578-7771 | undergroundbars.com
Best of 2009
Voted by our readers as Best Gay Bar and Best Bar to Meet Men, the Underground is located in the heart of downtown. Sure, there's the friendly, mellow clientele and roomy deck, but it's the incredible sound system and brick décor downstairs that keeps the party rockin' 'til the break of dawn. Well, actually 'til 4 a.m. Close enough.
19 E. Kiowa St., 471-8622
This off-Tejon refuge was recently taken over by Brian Moore, the brains behind Westside Tattoo. It offers an overhauled martini menu, plus comfortable booths, a relatively low-key atmosphere and rotating art curated by Brett Andrus of the ultra-hip Modbo. What more could you possibly need?
40 Thieves Hookah Lounge
1524 N. Academy Blvd., 591-8315 | 215 Fontaine Blvd., Widefield, 358-7860 | 40thievesonline.com/coloradosprings.html
This is the only hookah business with two locations in the Pikes Peak region. At the Academy location, you'll find hookah smoking, of course, but also a retail shop, a 40/40 cigar room with an eight-foot humidor, pool tables, arcade games, karaoke, DJs and even belly dance classes and "fetish nights." The Widefield location boasts pool tables and multiple TVs for gaming while you enjoy smoking the store's signature blends.
4541 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 597-0467 | myspace.com/abookahhookah
Abookah Hookah boasts "lots of flavors," plus occasional special events like dance parties, deejays and movie nights.
Amsterdam Hookah Lounge
3020-B W. Colorado Ave., 694-8490 | amsterdamhookah.com
This west side spot features plenty of smoking along with special live music events, and regular theme nights featuring movies, karaoke, video games, deejays and open mic poetry slams.
11 E. Bijou St., 477-1939 | hookahking1.com
Hookah King is not only a hookah lounge, but a smoke shop offering a variety of hookahs, pipes, tobacco/sheesha and accessories.
412 S. Tejon St., 577-4204 | myspace.com/hookah_shiraz
This hookah lounge just south of downtown carries a full line of fine and exotic-flavored tobaccos that can be mixed, matched and enjoyed in its relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Hookah Springs Café
3634 Citadel Drive North, 596-9937
This hookah lounge near the Citadel Mall is a favorite with soldiers and shoppers looking for a relaxing toke.
Hooked on Hookah
Best of 2009
Hooked was Colorado Springs' first hookah bar, and the winner of the Indy's first "Best Hookah Bar" award. Its MySpace page lists upcoming events and specials, while its Web site carries a full line of supplies in an online store.
124 E. Cheyenne Road, 635-7057
One of this hookah lounge's standout features is the fact that the football fandom is welcomed; during the season, Monday night is football night at the lounge.
LIVE MUSIC CLUBS
962 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5503 | ancientmarinertavern.com
The Mariner hosts a variety of musical acts, but the every-other-Sunday acid jazz jam remains the must-hear attraction. Led by Kim Stone — the former Spyro Gyra and the Rippingtons bassist whose current band, A New Brain for Arnie, released an impressive debut album last November — the improvisational musicianship can get positively transcendent.
Benny's Restaurant & Lounge
517 W. Colorado Ave., 634-9309
Best of 2009
Benny's has nothing if not character. And characters. Local blues prodigies like Grant Sabin and Jeremy Vasquez play here on a regular basis, and it's also an excellent pit stop for bikers, barflies and pretty much anyone else who knows how to live the good life.
2106 E. Platte Ave., 227-7625 | blacksheeprocks.com
Best of 2009
Over the past year, the Black Sheep has snagged the likes of Conor Oberst, Mr. Lif, Gaslight Anthem, Static-X and Ozomatli. Our readers have voted it Best Local Venue for Live Music each of the four years it's been open. Blessed with the booking clout of the Boulder-based Soda Jerk Presents, it's also cornered the all-ages market with visits from national emo, screamo and metal bands.
25 N. Tejon St., 596-1212 | worldfamouscowboys.com
Best of 2009
OK, we have no idea why Bret Michaels, Winger and April Wine are slated to play our nationally renowned citadel of foot-stomping, shit-kicking Tejon Street fun. And to tell the truth, we'd rather not know. Maybe it's just a fleeting midlife crisis that comes from being named Best Place to Two-Step for the past three years straight. But hair-band refugees notwithstanding, country is still king at Cowboys, with artists ranging from the reverent Aaron Watson to the outlaw David Allen Coe. Mechanical bull rides are optional.
20918 U.S. Hwy. 24, Woodland Park, 687-7879 | myspace.com/crystolaroadhouse
If the Donut Mill isn't enough to get you out to Woodland Park, the Crystola Roadhouse should be. Great sound and sightlines, plus a formidable lineup of touring blues acts, make this wood-hewn getaway a destination spot for music fans throughout the area. Owner Darryl Maggs used to play professional hockey in Canada, and his love for roots music shines through in the bookings.
Front RangeBarbeque (west side)
2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596 | coloradorestaurantguides.com/frbbq
Best of 2009
Ribs and roots music have had a symbiotic relationship since shortly after the invention of fire, and Front Range has got the ritual down pat. This past year, it's taken to bringing in more touring artists of the bluegrass and insurgent country persuasion, while serving as a regular refuge for local heroes like Grass It Up and Coaltion of the Willing. A recently installed outdoor tent keeps the music hot all year long.
739 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-4438 | giftshopmanitou.com
The newest kid on the block in sprawling Manitou has already booked some impressive American-esque touring acts. Also look out for the improvisationally inclined A New Brain for Arnie and other local bands of numerous persuasions. Good music in a relatively intimate space.
950 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-4433 | kinfolksmanitou.com
Hey kids, we've got ourselves an outdoor clothing shop right here — let's put on a show! Kinfolks dares to do just that, as customers gather around the parkas for excellent shows accompanied by darts (not to be thrown at the stage, thanks) and a selection of microbrews that changes weekly. Plus, the guy who books shows there is named Shitty.
Music Street Tavern
204 N. Union Blvd., 635-5708 | myspace.com/musicstreettavern
Making its InSider debut, Music Street Tavern recently featured an impressive performance by Cedric Burnside, grandson of the late, great R.L. Burnside. Also look out for the Sunday night blues jam hosted by Jeremy Vasquez.
Oscar's Tejon Street
333 S. Tejon St., 471-8070 | oscarstejonstreet.com
Best of 2009
Oscar's also has a smoking patio that plays host to smoking local acts like the Jake Loggins Band. Its huge outdoor space has wood and plastic sheeting for walls, a stage for music, and big heaters and a bar for year-round comfort and joy. Combine that with a hangover breakfast on weekends and a Tuesday crawfish boil, and you are most definitely good to go.
230 Pueblo Ave., 447-4990 | myspace.com/therocketroom
Best of 2009
So do you feel thirsty, punk? Well, do ya? Then head to the Rocket Room, where you can slake your thirst for both cheap booze and great music in true punk-rock style. Colorado Springs' best live ThrashabillyAmericanaGarageRock venue books tons of underground touring bands you can tell your grandkids about someday. There's also a Stooges-stocked jukebox well worth your care and feeding.
SoDo Night Club
527 S. Tejon St., 314-0420 | sodonightlife.com
Before Cowboys ever thought about dabbling in hirsute '80s rock, SoDo was maniacally shifting between musical extremes, including hip-hop, country and hair. (If the bill says Dokken, don't come a-knockin'.) The club has been fairly quiet lately when it comes to live shows, but we have faith that post-modernism will yet return to South Tejon.
528 S. Tejon St., 444-8487 | southsidejohnnys.biz
When Jake Loggins isn't playing up the street at Oscar's, you can usually find him strumming at this lower Tejon establishment, which lives up to its motto: "It's better to eat at a great bar than drink at a restaurant."
Tavern at The Broadmoor
1 Lake Ave., 577-5772 | broadmoor.com/tavern.php
Because the Tavern Orchestra with Lewis Mock rocks Thursdays through Sundays.
The Thirsty Parrot Bar & Grill
32 S. Tejon St., 884-1094 | thirstyparrot.net
Yes, there are cover and tribute bands, but the Thirsty Parrot has also hosted packed performances by Jason Derülo and Billy Bob Thornton (not together). The upstairs space also has top-notch acoustics well-suited for its popular Wednesday evening big band performances.
Triple Nickel Tavern
26 S. Wahsatch Ave., 477-9555 | myspace.com/555nickel
If you're looking to discover a motley crew of talented young road warriors from across this great country of ours, bands that sound absolutely brilliant after you down just one $5.50 pitcher of PBR, then this is your place.
2419 N. Union Blvd., 227-7168 | myspace.com/unionstation
Sometimes you just need to get your metal on without being around a throng of all-ages munchkins getting all hormonal. Much better, then, to watch a bunch of adults get all hormonal, lubricated in this case by free body shots for the women and hours of wholesome entertainment for those who just like to watch.
FIlM SERIES & GROUPS
BAC Film Nights
The Business of Art Center teams up with groups like the Independent Film Society of Colorado to offer monthly screenings of films that shouldn't be missed — like April's feature, Arranged, a look at two women facing the prospect of arranged marriages.
Shuga's, 702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412 | shugas.com
Cinemaholix offers no 12-step support groups, just a chance to indulge your taste for film while enjoying drinks and dinner at Shuga's restaurant. Tuesday night is film night, and each month features a different theme — from '80s cult classics to '90s comedies to film noir. To find the latest movie titles and start times, check the restaurant's Facebook page or call ahead on Mondays.
Colorado College Film Series
Cornerstone Screening Room and other campus locations, 389-6607 | coloradocollege.edu/news_events
The college and the CC Film Union host screen-related events throughout the year, anything from Oscar-watching parties to special events like the Reel Rock Film Tour (rock climbing films) to free screenings of alternative and independent films like Dirt!: The Movie, The Horse Boy and A Village Called Versailles.
Colorado Springs Film Commission
515 S. Cascade Ave., 685-7627 | filmcoloradosprings.com
With its scenery and history, Colorado works as a setting for westerns (How the West Was Won, True Grit), comedies (Woody Allen's Sleeper, Dumb and Dumber), action films (Die Hard 2), dramas (About Schmidt) and more. The Colorado Springs Film Commission works to promote the Pikes Peak region as a film locale and serves as a liaison regarding locations, permits, production resources, lodging and more.
Filmmakers Alliance of Southern Colorado
This networking group of film and video professionals and enthusiasts — headed by local pros Steve Mack, Mark Tachna and Patty Butler Spiers — hosts semi-regular events including screenings, happy hours, seminars and other gatherings.
Independent Film Society of Colorado
15715 Valdez Circle, Peyton, 502-7057 | ifsoc.org
One of the most visible film organizationss in the region, the IFSOC keeps adding to its list of events bringing audiences and filmmakers together: the annual Indie Spirit Film Festival, a three-day fest drawing hundreds of films and dozens of filmmakers to town; the Colorado Short Circuit Series, a quarterly showcase of local, national and international shorts; and regular screenings of individual independent films at venues including the Lon Chaney Theater, Colorado College and the Business of Art Center.
Movies in Manitou
Manitou Springs Public Library, 701 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5206 | manitousprings.colibraries.org
Despite stereotypes of the townfolk, wearing your tinfoil hat is not the only way to catch a movie in Manitou. Thanks to the Manitou Springs Library (and the BAC film series; see the above listing), locals can see lots of productions; in March, a "Femme Fatales of Film" series brought movies featuring Mae West, Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe. Both the movies and popcorn are free.
Movies @ Your Library
Pikes Peak Library District, 531-6333 | ppld.org
Each month, Colorado Springs library branches present free screenings of current and classic movies for all ages. In April look for Bright Star, The Princess & the Frog, New in Town and Love Happens. There's also a "Read the Book/See the Movie" series showing Cannery Row. And, of course, don't forget to peruse the library's extensive collection of movies on DVD, which you can check out for free.
Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival
421 S. Tejon St., #333, 226-0450 | rmwfilmfest.org
Started in 1988, the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival is the longest continuously running women's film fest in the world. The three-day event — filled with documentaries and feature, short and animated films — happens every November, but the nonprofit organization also hosts movie nights throughout the year and keeps a video library of past films available for free check-out to the public.
In many cities, movie theaters have disappeared from the downtown scene. Not so in cosmopolitan Colorado Springs, thanks to Kimball's Peak Three (115 E. Pikes Peak Ave., kimballspeakthree.com). The theater has been bringing a unique mix of independent, limited-release, alternative and foreign films (with the occasional blockbuster) to city-crawling cinema lovers since 1994. Kimball's added a third screen this past year, and hopes to build a fourth in 2010 to bring still more titles to the marquee. Another distinction: the theater offers a full bar and espresso drinks in addition to popcorn and the usual movie-house treats.
Though Kimball's is sized right for the downtown scene, it's the smallest of the local theaters. So if you're the type who thinks bigger is better, one of the city's chain theaters should satisfy. The largest is Tinseltown (1545 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., cinemark.com), near the World Arena, which boasts 20 screens. There, you'll find all the typical Hollywood fare and occasional smaller releases, plus digital, DLP, XD and 3D formats, stadium seating and Dolby sound.
Another large complex — this one housing 15 standard-sized screens amid the power-shopping paradise along Powers Boulevard — is Cinemark 16 (3305 Cinema Point, cinemark.com). The 15/16 debate rages due to the fact that Cinemark also offers the city's only IMAX 3D theater. So, yes, we'll concede, that's 16 screens in all.
Next in line is Chapel Hills 15 (1710 Briargate Blvd., carmike.com), a true 15-screen theater inside the Chapel Hills Mall. That's followed by 14 screens at the city's newest theater complex, Hollywood Interquest Stadium 14 (11250 Rampart Hill View, gohollywood.com), which opened off Interquest Parkway and I-25 in 2008. Both theaters offer a full schedule of major studio movies, along with occasional one-night special features like concert films and opera performance footage.
Carmike Stadium 10 (1550 Pulsar Drive, carmike.com), near the corner of Fountain and Academy boulevards, holds 10 screens all showing films in DLP format. Carmike 10 and Chapel Hills 15 offer the lowest prices on new releases with $5 "super-bargain" matinees between 4 and 6 p.m.
And, if you want to save even bigger and don't mind a little wait, check out the Picture Show (901 N. Academy Blvd., 380-7469) in Citadel Crossing. Once films finish their initial runs, many return here for an encore at only $1.50 a ticket, dropping to 75 cents on Tuesdays.
Find current movie schedules for each theater at csindy.com.
PERFORMING ARTS GROUPS & VENUES
Chamber Orchestra of Colorado Springs
634-5056 | chamberorchestraofthesprings.org
The Chamber Orchestra's season runs from October through April with pre-concert lectures and performances that range from classic works by Tchaikovsky and Wagner to lesser-known pieces by British composer Rebecca Clarke. Look for the group's season finale performance April 17.
The Colorado Springs Conservatory
1600 N. Union Blvd., 577-4556 | coloradospringsconservatory.org
The conservatory is a prep school for up-and-coming performance artists from preschool through high school. They stage their own performances (like 2009's Amahl and the Night Visitors) and join arts groups in the area, such as the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Central City Opera, in professional productions.
Colorado Springs Philharmonic
Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., 575-9632 | csphilharmonic.org
Much-lauded director Lawrence Leighton Smith is in his final year with the orchestra, and five guest-directing candidates will compete to replace him. They'll be worked into a full season at the Pikes Peak Center, which includes Philharmonic Pops, Philharmonic Kids, Holiday and Vanguard performances, plus its Masterworks series.
Peakharmonic Youth Orchestra
P.O. Box 25065, 473-8152 | new.peakharmonic.org
This orchestra features 55 young musicians, selected each year by audition, who hone their skills playing symphonic masterworks at concert, ensemble and solo performances.
Pikes Peak Philharmonic
P.O. Box 25065, 685-6468 | pikespeakphil.org
A nonprofit community orchestra formed in 1965, the Pikes Peak Philharmonic takes the stage at a number of local venues for four programs each season. Its next performance, conducted by David Rutherford, brings A Musical Soiree to Coronado High School on April 25.
Colorado's Classical Youth Ballet
4005 Lee Vance View, #100, 272-7078 | balletsocietyofcoloradosprings.com
This is the place for budding swans and even little ducklings who want to learn to dance on their toes. The group includes 40 "pre-professional" dancers who dance and rehearse year-round for productions such as The Snow Queen (starting April 24), and The Sleeping Beauty (coming in May).
Colorado Springs Dance Theatre
P.O. Box 877, 630-7434 | csdance.org
In addition to putting on its own dance events, this dance theatre hosts master classes, scholarship competitions and an annual student performance. This April, the troupe welcomes back members who have gone on to perform on stages around the world for a special one-night performance.
Ormao Dance Company
611 N. Royer St., 471-9758 | ormaodance.org
This nonprofit brings professional-level modern and experimental dance performances and classes to the city. In April, the group will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a spring concert featuring three new works by guest choreographer Billy Chang, with dancer Posy Knight. Students will get to show their skills in a May Student Showcase and the classic Charlie & the Chocolate Factory in June.
Springs City Ballet
4847 Barnes Road, 550-1616 | scbdance.com
This ballet company provides dance instruction to students from preschool through professional level in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, combo, creative, modern and lyrical dance. Each year dancers take the stage in a number of performances, which culminated last year with The Nutcracker.
Improvisation & comedy
2601 Sturgis Road, 651-9637 | improvcolorado.com
With a team of eight actors, Improv Colorado bases its shows around improv games (in the style of TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?), combining audience suggestions with pure, mad talent.
Loonee's Comedy Corner
1305 N. Academy Blvd., 591-0707 | loonees.com
For a more traditional comedy experience, head to Loonee's Comedy Corner. The 21-and-over club offers a lineup every Thursday through Saturday of local and national comedians performing stand-up acts, plus a menu of drinks and food (with a two-item minimum).
634-5056 | theriponline.com
The RiP improv comedy troupe promises to "unleash tidal waves of comedy upon the unwashed masses" and holds evening shows on a monthly basis at the Manitou Art Theatre. Such shows often feature special guest performers.
Stick Horses in Pants
904 Hans Brinker St., 387-9911 | thestickhorses.com
Billing its shows as "improv comedy with a kick," this troupe has been performing family-friendly, short-form improv since 2004. Look for Stick Horses at venues including The Broadmoor Hotel Theater, the Louisa Performing Arts Center and Stargazers Theatre & Event Center.
Suburban Stage Munkys
Performing sketch and improv comedy in Colorado Springs, this bunch calls itself a "group of comedic-minded individuals lookin' to raise a little hell ... using banana peels."
111 S. Seventh St., 209-1484 | alleycattheatrics.com
This theater company and acting school offers 7- to 18-year-olds a chance to learn and practice the craft of theater. In addition to classes such as improvisation, playwriting, dramatics and choreography, the company regularly stages plays at the City Auditorium.
Arnold Hall Theater, United States Air Force Academy, 2302 Cadet Drive, 333-4497 | usafaservices.com/academy-concerts/academy-concerts
Arnold Hall plays host to the AFA's own performing groups as well as to touring shows. Its most recent season included Camelot, a musical fantasy, and Le Grande Cirque, an international stunt and acrobatic act.
Academy of Children's Theatre
4005 Lee Vance View, #200, 282-9101 | aoct.net
This academy for kids 4 to 18 offers classes throughout the year as well as spring break and summer camps. Students put on shows at the end of each camp or semester, but the theater's biggest events are its Main Stage Productions held twice per year. This year: Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr. and Robin Hood.
Applause Productions Ltd.
406 Gold Claim Terrace, Suite B, 646-5485 | applauseltd.com
This collaborative produces a variety of shows including cabarets, mainstream plays and musicals, and dinner theater events, many staged as fundraisers for other organizations. Recent productions have ranged from The Glitter Show, billed as "the very best in female illusion," to No Exit, a one-act play by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
The Butte Theater
139 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek, 719/689-6402 | butteoperahouse.com
The Butte is home to the Thin Air Theatre Company (a professional troupe) and the Butte Players (a community theater group), who occasionally share actors. The Butte's upcoming 2010 season features You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Gunslinger: The Legend of Billy the Kid; and local holiday favorite Angel of the Christmas Mine.
FAC Theatre Company
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., 634-5583 | csfineartscenter.org/theatre.asp
The Fine Arts Center presents a full season of professional theater productions each year. While Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Arthur Miller's classic play All My Sons have already run their course, the Gershwin revue Crazy for You is still upcoming.
Damon Runyon Repertory Theatre
611 N. Main St., Pueblo, 719/564-0579 | runyontheater.org
This theater is named for famous Pueblo son Damon Runyon, writer of Guys and Dolls. The theater presents a host of popular plays and musicals each season, plus interactive murder mysteries, children's programs and more.
First Strike Theatre
919 Sahwatch St., 471-3405
These acting activists, from the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, create performances that combine humor, song and dance to deliver politically charged social satire and commentary.
Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama Dinner Theater
444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5104 | pikes-peak.com/attraction/15.aspx
With almost 50 years in the Pikes Peak region, the Iron Springs Chateau must qualify now as a landmark. The theater's interactive melodramas give audiences reasons to cheer, hiss and boo, from April through October with special December holiday productions. Tickets can be had with or without the dinner option.
Manitou Art Theatre
1367 Pecan St.,465-6321 | themat.org
The MAT (technically in western Colorado Springs) hosts only original theater productions, many featuring the talents of theater owners Jim Jackson and Birgitta De Pree. The current MAT season features more than 20 different shows, including annual favorites like 10 Minutes Max; monthly kids' shows; and national touring productions. The MAT also holds acting workshops and camps for kids and adults.
Opera Theatre of the Rockies
570-1950 | operatheatreoftherockies.org
The opera company recently presented the climax of its 2009-10 season, a production of The Magic Flute, complete with rollerskating ghosts. For the rest of the year, you may see members visiting local schools and taking every opportunity possible to promote opera in southern Colorado.
Peaks & Pasties
The region's first burlesque group "shows" often at downtown bars and at select community events.
Pikes Peak Center
190 S. Cascade Ave., 520-7469 | pikespeakcenter.com
Every year, the Pikes Peak Center brings the top-quality Broadway in Colorado Springs Series to town. This year's musical shows include the recent run of Avenue Q, a controversy-sparking adult-oriented puppet show, and The Wizard of Oz, which arrives in May.
Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center
210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, 719/295-7222 | sdc-arts.org
The Sangre's theater presents both a Center Stage Series for adults and a Children's Playhouse series featuring local and national productions. The former stresses variety, with shows ranging from To Kill a Mockingbird to MOMIX to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The latter has welcomed jugglers, ventriloquists and puppeteers along with classic productions.
2413 W. Colorado Ave., 465-2492 | simpich.com
When the famed Simpich puppet and character doll workshop closed in 2007, locals mourned. But this past year, the Simpich family opened a theater featuring original productions by the Simpich Marionette Repertoire staging five shows per season, with performances three to four times per week. (There's also a museum and art gallery.)
Spotlight Community Theatre/The Stage Door Theatre Players
488-0775 | spotlightcommunitytheatre.com
This Monument-based community theater stages several theatrical productions each year, including a pair of comedies in April: Robert Alan Blair's Man of the House and Tim Kelley's Under Jekyll's Hyde, as well as kids' shows.
Star Bar Players
P.O. Box 2488 | starbarplayers.org
Back after a hiatus following the cancellation of its 2008 season, the Star Bar Players — one of the city's longest-standing community theater groups — enthusiastically returned with a 2009-10 season of four shows. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? comes to the stage in May and June.
Theatre 'd Art
Osborne Studio Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive, 216-2867 | theatredart.org
Run by ex-UCCS students, this is cutting-edge, aggressively absurd, experimental theater. (Consider: It features "a photographer who specializes in taking pictures of ... shit.") Theatre 'd Art hosts the annual local Theatregasm festival.
Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive, 255-3232 | theatreworkscs.org
The college's professional troupe performs works from modern classics (Our Town and 12 Angry Men) to Shakespeare (As You Like It), then goes further with modern Shakespeare-inspired works like this season's sci-fi adaptation of The Tempest called Return to the Forbidden Planet.
Upstart Performing Ensemble
When Upstart unexpectedly lost its director and founder Tony Babin to a heart attack this year, its future was uncertain. But the troupe rallied: The 10th annual Gay & Lesbian Theater Festival, a month of performances, moved audiences as both a tribute to Babin and his final bow. The group has plans for future productions.
Watch This Space
218 W. Colorado Ave., #102, 633-8409 | watchthisspacecos.blogspot.com
Tom and Lisa McElroy (aka Atomic Elroy and Zelda Bubbles, respectively) opened a new performance/dance/multimedia art space this year under the Colorado Avenue bridge. The space debuted McElroy's monthly VIP Lounge Series during First Friday openings. "VIP" in this case means Video Installation Performance.
CAN'T MISS EVENTS: NIGHTLIFE
MeadowGrass Music Festival
May 29-30 | La Foret Conference & Retreat Center, Black Forest, 800/723-5323 | meadowgrass.org
Two days of music in a pastoral setting: Grant-Lee Phillips headlines Saturday, and Sunday brings the Greencards along with Great Lake Swimmers.
Colorado College Summer Festival of the Arts
late June to late July | Colorado College, various venues, 389-6010 | coloradocollege.edu
Though it's losing its Vocal Arts Symposium this year, this festival offers almost-daily music, performing arts and dance events — such as "Informance" lecture-performance combos, chamber music concerts, orchestra performances, children's events and more.
Colorado's Burlesque Fest
July 8-11 | Bluebird Theater and Lannie's Clock Tower, Denver | coloradoburlesquefestival.com
Lola Spitfire's burlesque and "boylesque" performers (called Peaks & Pasties) often make the Pikes Peak region shimmy and shake. This summer, Spitfire — with Fannie Spankings, Honey Touché and Midnite Martini — will host the state's first burlesque fest.
Blues Under the Bridge
July 17 | 218 W. Colorado Ave. (under the Colorado Avenue bridge) | bluesunderthebridge.com
Bettye Lavette gave an extraordinary closing performance at last year's blues extravaganza. While this year's roster has yet to be announced, it's a safe bet you'll be hearing some of the finest artists artists ever assembled under one bridge.
mid-August | UCCS University Hall, Osborne Studio Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive | theatredart.org/tda
We're hoping Theatre 'd Art won't make liars out of us when we say it'll bring its annual Theatregasm Festival back in 2010. And we're hoping just as hard that this summer's lineup will be as warped, absurd, shocking and hysterically funny as in years past.
The Festival of Lights
Dec. 4, 5:50 p.m. | Tejon Street, 649-9111 | coloradospringsfestivaloflights.org
See the downtown streets draped in lights, and enjoy freezing curb-side with your fellow folk as you applaud an after-dark parade with floats, firemen, community marching bands and, of course, Santa Claus.