Denver’s El Chapultepec: Cold Beer, Hot Jazz

El ChapultepecEl Chapultepec, at 20th and Market streets in lower downtown Denver, may look like just a divey little bar. But this jazz club has hosted some of the most legendary artists in music history.

Greats that have played at El Chapultepec include some of the biggest names in jazz, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald, and iconic rock stars Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

El Chapultepec Denver
Host David Booker with his guitar and his drink.

Although the kitchen cranks out a simple menu of beefy Mexican food and burgers, cheap drinks and nightly live music are the strongest draw at the Pec, as it is known. It’s a dark and dank little pub with a few booths, a tiny stage and plenty of barstools and standing room.

There’s also a separate room away from the action with a pool table and extra booths.

Autographed headshots and snapshots of the legends who’ve graced the bar’s tiny stage line the walls. Patrons and musicians mingle in the pink glow of bar signs. The smoke-stained walls are evidence of the many parties that have gone down in this little corner bar.

No matter how hot the act is at El Chapultepec, there is never a cover charge. The tiny bar can get elbow-to-elbow when popular acts play at the Pec, such as the late Eddie Harris and the late Pete and Conte Candoli. President Bill Clinton even graced the stage of El Chapultepec a few years back showing off his style on tenor saxophone.

“I’ve had everyone in here but Jesus,” owner Jerry Krantz brags.

El Chapultepec opened in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition. This fun dive fills with a great mix of people, including locals showing off the pub to out-of-town guests, jazz fanatics, old-timers who’ve been chilling out at the bar since way back when, and Denver bar scene regulars in the mood for a little slice of the old-style jazz scene you can’t find anywhere else in town. Baseball fans pour in from nearby Coors Field to keep the party going after the final inning.

The Pec is open until 2 a.m. every night. Beers run a couple of bucks, stiff cocktails maybe a dollar or so more, and nothing on the menu is over $6.

If You Go

El Chapultepec
1962 Market St.
Denver, Colorado 80202