Food & Drink

The Best Bars in Denver Right Now

Updated On 08/22/2018 at 04:41PM EST
Courtesy of Hudson Hill

Hudson Hill

Capitol Hill

When you can’t decide between booze and caffeine
We are powerless to resist this spot that combines cocktails and coffee in one sleek package. The coffee, from local roastery Commonwealth, is served all day and night alongside creative cocktails like the Sesame-Chocolate Old Fashioned, as well as a small yet mighty selection of wine and beer. Order a few options from the cheese list and finally understand the joys of having all of your favorite things in one inviting package.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk

PS Lounge

Congress Park

A classic Colfax dive bar with free shots for ladies and an uncompromised juke
Opposite of Hudson Hill's modern, clean, bright, and airy atmosphere is this Colfax classic. Screw ambiance. You're here for the strong drinks (plus the free shot and rose for ladies), the jukebox that's likely had the same selection for the past 20 years, and the strangers who will soon become friends... if only for the night.

Palenque Mezcaleria

Palenque Mezcaleria

Platt Park

A mezcal-fueled adventure that’s much cheaper than a trip to Mexico
Tucked behind the popular Adelitas on Broadway, this semi-hidden gem will have you exploring the wide and wonderful world of mezcal. The staff is passionate about tequila's lesser-known, smoky cousin and won't hesitate to explain the nuances of the selections on the menu, as well as fill you to the brim with knowledge, booze, and tacos. The latter of which you’ll definitely need after sampling the diverse selections of liquid agave.

Courtesy of Cruise Room

The Cruise Room

LoDo

Denver’s most perfect martini
Bask in the red glow of this old-school Denver legend that's officially been open since the day after the repeal of Prohibition. With sleek, art deco decor and killer martinis, Cruise Room in the Oxford Hotel can’t help but make you feel classy whilst you sip the night away. The bar itself was modeled after a bar on the Queen Mary and takes the shape of a wine bottle. It’s a hotspot, especially since it’s been the longest continually open bar in Denver.

Star Bar

Star Bar

LoDo

After the party, it’s the Star Bar
When a night out in Denver inevitably ends up at Star Bar, the next day is sure to be spent recovering. They've got a little of everything -- live music, rotating craft beers, Skee-Ball, video games, karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays -- and just the right amount of that dive bar temperament. Established in 1959 (and still going strong), it's the perfect escape from the typical dude-heavy LoDo/Ballpark bar scene.

Courtesy of The Truffle Table

The Truffle Table

LoHi

For anyone who could live on cheese and wine alone
Wine and cheese lovers... listen up. TT is a neighborhood favorite, namely for its friendly cheesemongers that will guide you to some truly memorable cheese tasting experiences. It also boasts a seasonal wine list that always features gems waiting to be discovered (if you’re unsure, just ask). If the typical bar scene just doesn't appeal to you, try here. Namely for the all-you-can-eat raclette on Wednesday, because a bottle of wine and never-ending melty cheese cut from a giant wheel might be the greatest night in Denver, ever.

Don's Club Tavern

Don's Club Tavern

Alamo Placita

Cheap drinks, Buck Hunter, no presumptions
If you love sparking conversations with strangers, you're sure to find a few at Don's. With a rotating cast of characters, this local favorite is by all definitions a dive. Let’s hit the checklist: cheap drinks ($3 wells), entertainment (Buck Hunter), and the unique ability to emulate a home you actually didn’t grow up in but feel effortlessly comfortable in nevertheless. Don's biggest downfall is that it masquerades as a Chiefs bar on Sundays, but we can forgive that based on their vending machine selection alone. It's stocked with the only food you'll find here: a random and ever-changing assortment of everything from frozen White Castle burgers (there's a microwave) to Spam.

Ruth Tobias/Thrillist

Union Lodge No. 1

CBD

The bar that defines “artisan cocktail” in Denver
This spot manages to pull off that pre-Prohibition vibe while still coming off as cool (read: not kitschy/overly hip). The classic dark wood and exposed brick walls give it refined class, and the focus on elevated craft cocktails gives it the sass. The drinks served here are taken very seriously by the staff, all of whom share a very real reverence for the history of cocktails -- something you'll learn a little more about too from their informative and fun menus.

Finn's Manor

Finn's Manor

RiNo

Where to take the party after you want everyone out of your house
Part funky bar with a robust beer list, part food truck haven, this spot's got a lot going on. Pop inside to take in the shrine-like decor and order a drink -- the bartenders are more than happy to help you find just the right cocktail from their creative offerings (including a nightly punch). Then take your party out to the large open air patio where the smell of food will entice you to stay even longer. On any given night you'll find choices like Mile High Thai and Puerto Rican eats from Dos Abuelas.

B&GC

Cherry Creek

The new must-visit speakeasy on the block
While Williams & Graham started the revived speakeasy trend in Denver back in 2011 (and is still churning out some of the best drinks in the city), this much newer addition has earned its place among Denver’s top watering holes thanks to an exclusive vibe and swanky decor that gives way to an experience that feels truly personal. Though you have to know some tricks to get in (figuring those out is half the fun), once you’re there you’ll find bartenders that are as knowledgeable as they are friendly and open and ready to share stories as freely as they share cocktails like their oh-so-smooth olive-oil spiked spin on a classic martini. 

Lee Breslouer/Thrillist

Falling Rock Tap House

LoDo

Where to take your beer nerd friends
When it comes to beer, there are plenty of options in Denver. But Falling Rock remains a destination for beer nerds, thanks to its large, rotating selection of brews from near and far, including frequent releases of rare beers (check their website for offerings). Its central location makes it a convenient stop before or after a ballgame, or just a pitstop on any Downtown bar crawl.

Fort Greene

Fort Greene

Globeville

A hidden gem that will become your new go-to cocktail spot
From the outside, this spot’s got dive written all over it (read: a large, nondescript Budweiser sign). But inside, you won’t find any Buds on the menu. What you will find is a small menu of balanced cocktails including one of the best Old Fashioneds in town, a schedule of unique events like dog-friendly happy hours and pop-up dinners, and decor that suddenly makes you have a better understanding of the phrase “quirky yet charming.”

Dead Battery Club

Dead Battery Club

Highland

Your escape from Denver’s ever-changing landscape
This small slice of old fashioned bar hospitality is the ideal destination when you need to unplug and unwind. As the name not-so-subtly suggests, putting down your devices and picking up on real life conversations is highly encouraged here, and it’s easy to do with cocktails that will loosen you up in no-time. The drink list is short and features wines by the glass, craft beers, coffee, and both classic and modern cocktails like the We (Don’t) Work, a scotch based concoction that’s lightened up with hibiscus syrup and lemon. And though the kitchen is small, the flavors are big, especially when it comes to the selection of buns featuring fillings like miso pork belly, smoked brisket, and blue crab.

The Family Jones

The Family Jones

Highland

The sexiest distillery in the Mile High
Crushed blue velvet, sleek lines, and soft touches from nature combine in this gorgeous space that makes you feel more elegant just by walking inside. But this spot’s got more than just good looks. Their house-made spirits come to life in a selection of cocktails that highlight the nuances of each like the vibrant, floral Gin Blossom and the Coco Cold Brew featuring bourbon, coconut, and coffee. And unlike any other distillery in town, The Family Jones has a menu filled with food that rivals it’s drinks in quality so you’d be wise to add whatever seasonal treats appear whether its duck confit and carrot spaetzle or a delicate salad featuring Growhaus greens.

My Brother’s Bar

Highland

Where to find those old Denver vibes
Walking into this bar, it’s easy to picture Jack Kerouac or Neal Cassady bantering away in a corner wil sipping strong whiskey cocktails. And indeed, they did. This is Denver’s oldest bar, and it remains today what it’s always been: a dependable, low-key place to enjoy a cold drink and hot burger - complete with individual condiment cart so you can load on all the pickles you want.  

Nocturne

Nocturne

Five Points

Best destination for drinks and a show
If sipping a sparkling French 75 while tapping your foot to live tunes sounds like the recipe for a perfect night out, then this is the place for you. Nocturne is a jazz and club that truly embraces their retro feel with a throwback vibe that oozes with old time hospitality. Tuesdays through Saturdays starting at 7pm, tunes fill the space from the stage where jazz is king and you’re free to let the rhythms guide your night as you watch from the bar for as long as you want the cocktails to keep coming.

Greenlight Lab

greenlight LAB

Five Points

Where to find a completely new cocktail experience
When it comes to drinking in Denver, beer, wine, classic cocktails and “craft” creations are abundant. But this small spot has quickly taken the reigns when it comes to experimental boozy beverages that are unlike those found anywhere else in town. The entry is located in an alleyway where a single green light lets you know you’ve found the place. Reservations are your best bet for getting a table, and once inside, you’ll be treated to selections like an “ice sphere drink”-version of a classic Manhattan where the circular cube is smashed tableside letting the booze pour out, or the Gin Two Ways which gives you a duo of sips that highlight both the flavor of Colorado gin and the foamy texture of a classic gin fizz.

Death & Co.

Death & Co

Five Points

The hotel bar that’s redefining hotel bars
What do you get when you drop a highly successful NYC destination for libations into a brand new hotel that has old Denver vibes in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods? This. Don’t expect an exact replica of the original Death & Co. Instead, the team from NYC has brought their cocktail expertise and skills at creating a decidedly hip vibe into a new space that has an identity all its own. Actually, makes that spaces, plural, because besides the main lobby bar, upstairs there’s also a separate patio space upstairs along with a dark and intimate room, each with its own personality. But what they all have in common is killer drinks from a menu that’s divided into six sections including “Fresh & Lively,” “Bright & Confident,” and “Boozy & Honest.” Find your mood and settle in for a drink (or three).

Up Next
Food & Drink

The Best Breweries in Denver Right Now

Published On 08/08/2018
Food & Drink

The Best Places in Denver to Watch the FIFA World Cup

Published On 06/08/2018
L et’s face it: The US men’s national team’s failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Russia is a big fat bummer. Still, that’s no reason not to jump on another country’s bandwagon -- the first-round matches kick off June 14 and run to the 24, so you have a solid 10 days to pick your new favorite team before the competition really heats up.
Most of the games will be in the morning and early afternoon hours, and there are a slew of soccer-friendly bars in Denver that are ready for your business. After all, there’s nothing quite like skipping work for a game and pulling up a barstool next to a dude who has no idea what the rules of soccer are -- all in the name of day drinking, bonding with a fellow citizen and, again, not working. Also, to help out ever more, we asked John Strong -- the lead Major League Soccer voice for FOX Sports -- to give us a couple of his favorite places to watch. Without further adieu, here are the most fun places to watch the 2018 World Cup in the Mile High City.
Three Lions Pub

The Three Lions

City Park West

Best for: Hardcore fans who wake up for the early games and want to see every match
This Colfax tavern bills itself as a “World Football Pub,” and on that front, it does not disappoint. The cavernous space plays host to all manner of soccer all year long, so you know they’re gonna bring the ruckus when the World Cup rolls around. Three Lions will be open for every game, “even the ones at 4am,” says a British bartender when reached by phone. There will be an emphasis on the English side, here (“The Three Lions” is the nickname of the squad), but the bar -- which serves pub grub standards like bangers & mash alongside Indian-style curries and Fuller’s drafts -- expects big crowds for Peruvian and Spanish matches, too. The bottom line: Every single match will be played, quite the boast with some of these start times.

Atomic Cowboy

City Park, Baker, Berkeley

Best for: Maybe seeing Jon Strong's dad and grabbing a big breakfast
John's Pick. The uninitiated may be somewhat confused by the assemblage that is the Atomic Cowboy, a bar that is quickly expanding throughout the Centennial State. (Colorado Springs: You’re next.) In the morning, an arm of the kitchen serves Denver Biscuit Company’s decadent, well, biscuits while the afternoons and evenings -- and late nights -- welcome the house’s other specialty: Fat Sully’s pizza slices that are bigger than those dogs annoying famous people carry around in their purses. Atomic Cowboy will open early (8am early). That’s great news for soccer fans and, while the bar probably won’t pop the sound on, the staff is always cool putting on any sports game a patron requests. Just one thing, though: Good luck making it through a whole match without having to take a nap after eating one of the aforementioned biscuits.

British Bulldog

The British Bulldog

Five Points

Best for: Soccer fanatics who like to be outside and party
The Bulldog, which is managed by the same group as the Three Lions, is the other big football (read: soccer) bar in the Mile High City. It will also be showing all of the World Cup matches, regardless of start time. They’re even decking out the, uh, deck with a slew of TVs for an outdoor beer garden vibe. The menu skews British, of course, but also boasts some Pakistani dishes. Best of all: The British Bulldog will host an outdoor, big screen, shut-down-the-street block party for the third-place and championship matches.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill Union Station

Thirsty Lion

Cherry Creek and Union Station

Best for: Grabbing a bite to eat while randomly watching a game
Thirsty Lion bills itself as a “gastropub,” and the food is pretty good! It’s a chain, so that’s what you’re dealing with here. The two locations are showing games during regular business hours and, considering that they open at 11am, that pretty much means the noon games. Russia is far away. These game times are not optimal.

The Abbey Tavern

South Park Hill

Best for: Drink specials, awesome apps, and England fans
The Abbey has been the longtime home of Liverpool Football Club watches, but that doesn’t mean the Irish pub doesn’t bask in the glow of all things soccer. Because of Liverpool’s big Champions League championship match, the Abbey was still developing a World Cup strategy at the time of publication. It’s likely the Colfax bar won’t be open early for knockout round matches but will do so as things get more interesting in later rounds. Bonus: The Abbey always has at least two drink specials happening, no matter the hour.

Rhein Haus Denver

Rhein Haus

Union Station

Best for: Fans of Germany and morning beers
Rhein Haus is a celebration of all things Teutonic, from sausages and steins to... uh... bocce ball. Anyways, this is a German bar. Rhein Haus (and its sister bar next door, Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern) will be home base for all the Germany matches. They’ll be showing all of the defending champs' matches, no matter the time. If you think 9am is too early for a liter of lager and a pretzel, then you will have your German ancestry revoked by lederhosen-clad staffer. Well, not really, but you get the point.

The Celtic on Market

Union Station

Best for: Horse betting... if the Cup is getting you down
The Celtic, recently enough, picked up stakes and moved on down the road to Market Street.  It’s an Irish pub with a twist: Off-track betting for the ponies. A staffer tells Thrillist that England and Iceland matches will be the main draw, here. Like many other bars, the Celtic will eschew some of the early morning early round matches before ramping into high gear for the later rounds. “Check Facebook” is a pretty good credo for most of these joints.

Stoney's Bar and Grill

Stoney's

Capitol Hill and Uptown

Best for: Grabbing a beer and burger and hanging out
A no-fuss sports bar with a chill vibe, Stoney’s shows just about every televised sporting match under the sun. The staff tells Thrillist that they probably will pick and choose some of the early-round matches and won’t show anything before 8am. The later rounds will be broadcast fully with Mexico being a big draw at the Broadway location. That’s right: A second Stoney’s now exists Uptown. Soccer will be televised there, too.

Falling Rock Tap House

Union Station

Best for: A more laid-back crowd of beer nerds
John's Pick. Here’s the deal: Falling Rock “No Crap On Tap” Tap House has over 75 beers on tap -- and a ton more in bottles. A LoDo institution, Falling Rock has long been known as the place to go for rare beer finds and a chiller vibe than most of the surrounding multi-leveled, bro-heavy sports havens. Just like most Rockies games, Falling Rock provides a beer nerd oasis in a sea of light beer-swigging tomfoolery. A staffer tells Thrillist that it’ll be airing many games that occur during regular business hours.

GB Fish & Chips

Arvada, Overland, Edgewater, and South Park Hill

Best for: Fish and chips with a side of soccer
The order of the day at this quartet of restaurants is readily apparent. “In Cod We Trust” is the motto for these battermen. That and... English football! Clearly the host’s faves, all locations will open early when David Beckham & Co. take the field. (Kidding. If you think David Beckham is still playing, heckuva job making it this far into a soccer article.) GB will play all other games during regular business hours.

irish snug

The Irish Snug

City Park West

Best for: Those looking for comfort about Ireland not making the Cup
Here we have another Irish pub that is lamenting the fact that Ireland didn’t qualify for the World Cup. (Or, ahem, the United States for that matter.) Pay no mind: The Snug will still be ramping into high gear for the Cup. The Guinness will be flowing and the TVs on both floors will be tuned to all the games during regular business hours. The Snug staff tells Thrillist that, as the World Cup progresses, they’ll determine whether or not to open for early matches. Stay tuned to its Facebook page for more.

Sports Column

Union Station

Best for: Sports fans who don't know much about soccer
This ginormous sports bar in LoDo can always be counted upon to broadcast major sporting events. A Sports Column manager tells Thrillist that they won’t anything before 7am, which means many of the bigger 8am and 9am games will get aired here. Because it’s not a soccer bar, per se, expect most of the action to be during the later rounds.

Highland Tap & Burger

Highland Tap and Burger

Highland

Best for: Watching giant TVs at a giant bar with giant burgers
John's Pick. HTB has a slew of ginormous TVs situated around its ginormous bar in its pretty ginormous, patio-featuring space. The burgers are -- you guessed it -- large. This 32nd Avenue spot reports that it’ll be featuring most of the games that are playing during regular business hours -- and some game replays, to boot. Check its Facebook page for a broadcast schedule.

Sobo 151

Baker

Best for: Fans of Czech sports, beers, and bites
A Czechia bar on South Broadway. Have you not been here before? Gotta see it to believe it. Even though the Czechs failed to qualify for the Cup, Europeans support each other and this European bar will be showing many European matches. It’s hard not to make a “Czech Facebook” joke, here, so that’s what’s up.