Every night is karaoke night at Armida’s. James Rodriguez of Denver belts out Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” at the bar in 2009. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

The disappearance of old Denver is a narrative that has shaken the city to its core in recent years as decades-old, family-owned businesses have shuttered due to rising rents and changing tastes.

But the loss of Armida’s Mexican Restaurant & Bar, the Capitol Hill anchor known for its raucous and welcoming karaoke nights, is hitting people harder than most.

On Tuesday, messages began appearing on Facebook that the eatery and bar at 840 Lincoln St. was shutting down, leading to remembrances and mourning.

An employee at the restaurant confirmed Tuesday morning via phone that the space would be changing its name to La Milpa. The new restaurant will have the same ownership, but owners are jettisoning the karaoke.

Calls and emails to the owners were not returned as of mid-afternoon Tuesday.

“I know not everyone ‘got’ it, how much the space meant to people,” former Armida’s karaoke DJ Kyria Lydia Abrahams wrote. “Friendships were formed there. Lives were saved there. People found their life purpose was to sing. I encouraged everyone who walked through that door.”

Armida’s had been offering karaoke to both the everyday Joe and karaoke addicts at least since the early 1990s, according to its website, with Tuesday through Saturday sessions that started at 4 p.m.

“During the (coronavirus) closure I think the family had time to reevaluate what they wanted to do going forward,” said Abrahams, 46, who has already found another job as a karaoke DJ (or KJ) at Cleopatra’s in Lakewood. “It was getting to be a lot for the family. There was a party there every night and it gets to the point where you’re like ‘Oh, Lord, I’ve got to clean this up?’ “

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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