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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ideal date night destination with small plates and tasty cocktails
You don’t need a full kitchen to crank out good bar food. Bar Fausto proves this. You can watch the staff plate food like seasonal bruschetta alongside fancy cocktails from behind the bar. And this is why a bar seat is what you want, so show up early to secure one and take advantage of happy hour. Drinks range from simple classics like gin with house-made tonics to a selection of more complex creations with descriptions that include mentions of William Tell, baseball bats, and grouse.
Mile High’s very own original speakeasy
Within a couple of years of opening, this spot won a ton of rewards and earned some serious recognition. Williams & Graham quickly made a name for itself, becoming a Denver must-visit. And though there are shinier, newer bars to play at these days, there's still something uniquely special about this speakeasy with a bookstore cover. With craft cocktails becoming almost ubiquitous around town, and new "secret" bars turning up on every corner, you can still count on this spot to impress -- especially if you're looking to entertain out-of-town guests or someone special.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 one of the best Old Fashioneds in town, a small window serving up some amazing pie (and a small menu of savory eats), and decor that suddenly makes you have a better understanding of the phrase “quirky yet charming.”
Your best excuse to wear a Hawaiian shirt and sip tiki drinks
The cold days of winter in Denver melt away in no time when you step inside this bar where the mana (Polynesian for spiritual energy) is strong. Go classic with a mai tai or hurricane, or venture into uncharted territory with house favorites like the frozen Macadamia Nut Chi Chi or the Shark’s Tooth that has a piercing rum bite. And don’t skip the eats, especially when you can get an impressive serving of poke presented with billowing dry ice or a loco moco style burger complete with a fried egg.
The spot where you’re most likely to purchase expensive shoes while drinking
This bar above Element Kitchen & Cocktail is fronted by a fully functioning sneaker shop. And the sneakers are not your run-of-the-mill selection, but an expertly curated collection of highly sought-after kicks. And the same can be said for the drinks. Think mezcal sours with egg white and orange and cinnamon, as well as a gin cocktail named for Easy-E with melon bitters and ginger beer.
A cultured speakeasy serving up high-end drinks and Frito pie
Tucked behind a hidden door in an art gallery featuring local talent, this is a speakeasy that embraces the modern. You’ll find Frito pie and chicken and waffles alongside some creative cocktail creations. Try the Smoked Old Fashioned for a twist on the classic or the Key Lime with a graham cracker rim for a dessert and drink in one.
Only bar in Denver where you can order hot sex on a platter
Get your mind out of the gutter. That’s this slightly naughty spot’s name for a blueberry Pop-Tart and foie gras parfait. And it’s just one of the many unique menu items (Pringles + caviar service, anyone?) you’ll find alongside cocktails created by Kendra Anderson, the master sommelier behind this new addition to Denver. A bountiful wine list, beer, cider, and sake round out the offerings, but no matter what you choose, it’s tough to not feel a little sexier when you walk out the door.