After a long battle with neighbors over noise, Number Thirty Eight, an entertainment venue at 3650 Chestnut Place, will be allowed to keep its cabaret license and hold live shows, but with restrictions, the 5 May Denver’s top licensing official.
“The Director believes that reasonable conditions can be placed on the license to ensure that the applicant will operate lawfully and in a manner that will not negatively impact the neighborhood,” wrote Molly Duplechian, executive director of the Department of Denver Excise and Licensing. its decision of May 5, granting the renewal of the cabaret license of Number Thirty Eight.
Duplechian’s decision reverses a recommendation from Macon Cowles, a hearing officer hired by the city of Denver, who concluded after a licensing hearing that Excise and Licenses should not renew Number Thirty Eight’s cabaret license. The hearing came after a handful of neighbors complained about the “unbelievable” noise emanating from the 31,000 square foot RiNo venue when it hosted outdoor performances.
“The owners of Number Thirty Eight are thrilled to have their cabaret license renewed and will continue to welcome their loyal guests and contribute to the community as part of RiNo’s vibrant arts scene,” said Stefanie Jones, spokesperson. owners, Spencer Fronk and Andrew Palmquist. Westword also reached out to Tom Downey, a lawyer representing neighbors who opposed the license renewal, for comment.
Without a cabaret license, Number Thirty Eight, which opened in October 2020 and quickly won honors for best new venue in Westword‘s Best of Denver 2021, would have struggled to stay in business. While offering food and drink would always have been permitted, a cabaret license allows a venue to host live musical performances and have patrons dance.
“Over 90% of those who provided feedback on the renewal said they wanted the license renewed. license be renewed,” Duplechian wrote. Among those who expressed support for the revival was the RiNo Art District.
But while Number Thirty Eight may retain its cabaret license, Duplechian has some restrictions in place.
“The director finds that although the plaintiff has attempted to alleviate the problems and concerns experienced by its neighbors, it has nonetheless been exploited in a manner that negatively impacts the health and well-being of the neighborhood,” Duplechian wrote.
The most significant restriction is that Number Thirty Eight can only accommodate live amplified musical performances and performances with drums indoors, when the windows and doors to the venue are closed. For outdoor performances, the venue should finish construction on a cement wall to help dampen noise. Once that wall is complete, she said, Number Thirty Eight can once again accommodate acoustic music outdoors, but still cannot offer amplified music or music with drums outdoors.
The venue — whose name refers to Colorado’s status as the 38th state in the union — began receiving noise complaints from neighbors shortly after it opened. In particular, a handful of people living nearby said they felt misled by Number Thirty Eight’s initial ownership guarantees, which promised that most musical performances would be acoustic. But almost from the start, the venue hosted loud concerts.
And the music wasn’t just loud; it reached an illegal level, according to measurements taken by Paul Riedesel, the noise and acoustics expert for the city of Denver. Riedesel inspected Number Thirty Eight on several occasions due to noise complaints and at the venue’s invitation. In June 2021, Riedesel measured the noise coming from a concert at Number Thirty Eight from the terrace of one of the neighbors’ houses. The peak noise measurement reached 76.7 decibels, about three times what is allowed by Denver’s noise ordinance.