Monfort Companies bought the legendary jazz club El Chapultepec and the Giggling Grizzly

The announcement was made at the groundbreaking of Riot House.

The empty shell of El Chapultapec on 20th Street downtown. Nov. 16, 2022.

The empty shell of El Chapultapec on 20th Street downtown. Nov. 16, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
kyle harris

El Chapultepec, the legendary jazz club that shut down in December 2020, and Giggling Grizzly have been purchased by Monfort Companies, a development firm run by Kenneth Monfort.

“Tremendous opportunity exists in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood and we could not be more excited to announce our latest investments on the block,” said Kenneth Monfort, executive vice president of Monfort Companies, in a statement.

He made the announcement at the groundbreaking of Riot House, a restaurant, bar and club in a 21,000-square-foot historic building at 1920 and 1926 Market St. that once served as Denver’s “Real World” house. The news was first reported by Westword.

Few details about the future of El Chapultepec and the Giggling Grizzly spaces have been announced.

We do know they will be combined into one business.

In a statement, the company promised to strive to “further round out the offerings on the block and in the Ballpark neighborhood while honoring the impact and significance of El Chapultepec in Denver’s history.”

The ‘Pec’s recent history has been dim, in part, because the longtime club owners were put off by recent growth in the neighborhood.

El Chapultepec co-owner Anna Diaz said a combination of neighborhood redevelopment, the arrival of Coors Field just a few blocks away in the 1990s, and the coronavirus pandemic all played a role in the demise of the legendary jazz club on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.

El Chapultepec co-owner Anna Diaz said a combination of neighborhood redevelopment, the arrival of Coors Field just a few blocks away in the 1990s, and the coronavirus pandemic all played a role in the demise of the legendary jazz club on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

“Jazz musicians and blues musicians, they shouldn’t have to time their sets around baseball innings and when the crowds are going to get out and be wild. They should be able to play their music, and the crowd should just be there to enjoy them,” co-owner Anna Diaz said at the time. “The employees and our musicians, our customers, we shouldn’t have to be worried about our safety when it’s time to leave. Denver’s outgrown us”

A year after El Chapultepec closed, nightclub maven Valentes Corleons announced he had taken over the space and would be opening a venue, dubbed Cantina, Westword reported. That project never took off, as Corleons battled the city over various rule violations at Beta.

The Giggling Grizzly on 20th Street downtown. Nov. 16, 2022.

The Giggling Grizzly on 20th Street downtown. Nov. 16, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Whether jazz will once again be played at the El Chapultepec building — or whether it will continue to have that name — is unknown.

No doubt, Monfort’s view is fixed on the future of the neighborhood, and he’s promising it will be bright.

“Riot House and the forthcoming rehabilitation and amalgamation of El Chapultepec and the Giggling Grizzly will build upon the momentum prevalent in this neighborhood and ideally, catalyze continued investment here,” Monfort said. “We see investment in this neighborhood as an economic imperative that will help Denver claim its spot as a top entertainment destination nationally.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Rockies owner Dick Monfort runs Monfort Companies. Kenneth Monfort runs it. We regret the error. 

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