A neon night at Nitro Club, Boulder’s last and only strip club

A Moth by Sundown

By Edward Simpson Aug 28 2019

Editor’s note: With the closing of North Boulder’s Bus Stop last year, there’s only one strip club left in Boulder, Nitro Club, located in an alley just south of the Pearl Street Mall between Broadway Ave. and 11th Street. Opened in 2007, the club has survived battles with the city to remain. The below is a chronicle of a recent Nitro Club experience by BDLRfly writer Edward Simpson.

I just wanted to get a few drinks, knick a spot that didn’t seem like it belonged.

On the Pearl Street Mall, families and lovers strolled, kids ate ice cream, street entertainers drummed plastic buckets, a man on a tower of chairs juggled flaming knives, and fortune tellers advised listeners to follow constellations.

So I haunted the North Star and crawled into the Sundown Saloon to find loose magic. I grabbed a beer, found a perch, and watched patrons shoot pool. Guys showed girls how to take shots. Girls acted like they didn’t know how to play.

Here in America, we were still playing out casualties, and it was nice to think I could profit off a gamble, but I wasn’t there for that.

I went to take a piss; I flushed and ran out the rear exit. I stumbled up the steps loony, caught by the moon’s intention. Moths racketeered the street lamp.

The ambient melancholy settled on casual smokers. A hand rested on a boy’s back. He was looking at the ground, clutching his stomach. A girl stroked his hair. A girl in a sachet let the wind wrap around her. A stream of tobacco fell off rogue lips.

Neon Night

Entering Nitro, the bouncer stood with his arms crossed. He asked me for money, and I forked it over to fall into another room. The door handle was gold. The music was low.

I found a seat by the bar and ordered a beer. The air was pink. A girl appeared, a ghost in a silver dress, whispering she liked my floral pattern. It was all dandy. She perched by my ear and said, “Hi.” She asked how I wound up here. I told her I was there to write a story. She said she met three writers already and I asked for a gun.

It was a polite beer. I asked her what I need to pay attention to and she said the next song. “I’m going on if you want to throw your dollars south.”

Despite her sly demeanor, I sipped my beer and watched her leave her dress to gravity. She was sharp and serpentined up to wide legs and a stack of dollars. She bit the neon as she arched her back. Red auras manipulated around her silhouette. She clacked her heels together. This was not Kansas.

An older gentleman watched from corner stage. A guy tucked a dollar into a tall blonde’s g-string while his girlfriend watched. Jesus held a dollar to the wind, toes poking out of his sandals.

The bartender stood in blue, drying a glass. Cottonmouth was hunkering. I began to understand how and why a lusty dive carved into the underbelly of Boulder was an alternate dimension.

Nitro’s back alley by day. A very different scene. Photo: Tatyana Sharpton

The economy was stimulated. The lonely were saved from their homes. College girls were making well below their pay-grade.

I sat by the stage. The red light kissed my knees. A new duo took the stage, a new demeanor, its own striation.

She crooned by the pole, flipped into the rafters, came down like a feather. People were smiling. Snakes hugged my ankles. The bartender fueled my ambitions. If I let the melancholy take hold, it would feel delicately dandelion. I must’ve fallen in love five times.

A girl had a boy and dog on her hips. One girl had fire in her hair. A brunette was a crane in another life. The audience gawked in a form of worship. She took his hand and lead him where no one could see, told him secrets for three minutes, and returned by the song.


Back in the low whispers of street drunks, I was so drowsy in love.

Gold bled from restaurant signs. People intertwined in glass. The Flatirons loomed like dark giants over Boulder, extending a somber shadow in the evening.

Executives drove their sharks home. Couples had their doubts. Wives became mothers. Sons and daughters came out. Mothers and fathers became swingers. Someone would drink whiskey from the cabinet. Someone would cry. Someone would masturbate and go to sleep. Someone would play Xbox.

Surely, it would all be okay behind closed doors.

The establishment would be hollow by morning. America would still thrive in the muzzled mouth of suburbia — a gold molar hidden in photography — a temporary fortune — a reflection in a storefront window, huddled, walking in the scent of someone else’s perfume.