The Best Bars in Denver Right Now
You could use a drink.
Hey there, welcome. Are you looking to unwind after conquering that latest 14er? Did you spend the day running laps around Wash Park and now you’re ready for something cold and refreshing? Just seriously over 2020? Same. These days you hardly need a reason to seek out a boozy break, and bars are back open and ready to serve (till 11pm, anyway). From tap houses and dives to classed-up cocktail lounges and wine bars, we’ve dutifully listed out all the best spots in Denver for your drinking pleasure. Cheers!
Room For Milly
From the team behind Queens Eleven and Blue Sparrow, this bar on Platte Street opened in late February 2020, right before you-know-what shut it right back down. Be despite less than ideal timing, it’s reopened and is just the lush escape we need right now. Based on a fictional character, Milly Parker, whose flapper-era adventures inspired the decadent decor, menu, and vibe, Room for Milly captures the energy of another time and place — one where the cocktails are fun, the seats are covered in velvet, and you’ve got an excuse to dress up a little for a night out.
How to order: They’re open Thursday-Sunday and reservations are recommended
Colfax is known for its dives, but it’s also getting a reputation for a new wave of bars and restaurants that are helping to redefine the famous street’s reputation. No one wants a fancied up Colfax, but Middleman manages to walk a line between classed up cocktail bar and classic ‘fax comfort. And it doesn’t hurt that former Rebel Restaurant co-owner Bo Porytko is serving up the food here as Misfit Snackbar. Once you experience the $5 happy hour Old Fashioned and an order of Misfit’s chips (aka crispy fried potatoes) and rotating dip (aka whatever Porytko wants to make that day), you just might become a regular.
How to order: Come by Wednesdays-Sundays; reservations are also available
Just steps from the original location of Snooze, Jon Schlegel (the founder of that Denver brunch mecca) has opened a winery unlike any other in the Mile High. In a two story space that used to be an EZ Pawn, Schlegel has created his very own piece of Italy in the middle of the city. After spending time living in Italy and establishing relationships with local farmers, he’s forged a unique system in which grapes from farmers in Italy are fermented before being shipped to the Ballpark neighborhood where they are aged on site at Attimo. The result: a new wine-centric tasting room featuring a selection of bubbles, reds, and whites on tap where you can sip vino and grab snacks crafted by an Italian Michelin Starred-chef. “Attimo” is Italian for “moment,” and you’re going to want to spend more than a few moments drinking here.
How to order: Reservations are requested for indoor and patio dining; you can also order online for pickup
This spot’s got locations in Austin and San Diego, but its Denver outpost feels like a bar that’s been there for decades. The expansive space is equipped with rustic touches that fit right in with our Rocky Mountain vibes (including a solid collection of taxidermied animals). But it’s the whiskey that will have you lingering late into the night as you let the staff guide you through their massive collection. Sip it straight or let them craft you a classic Old Fashioned or Manhattan. You’ll be glad you did.
How to order: Add your name to the waitlist at the door and explore The Dairy Block while you wait for your table
Mustard colored booths, a classic tin paneled ceiling, and a bingo board that lets you know when your order is ready all work together to give this spot personality without going overboard with kitsch. It’s unique, but comfortable. You can grab a cocktail or opt for a Montucky Cold Snack. And while the space definitely has cocktail bar vibes, there is plenty on offer in the food department to keep everyone in your party fully satiated and ready for round two of drinks — don’t miss the sticky wings or reuben with locally made River Bear bratwurst.
Owned by Rita Price, this day to night bar bills itself as “three steps up from a dive bar,” and that’s a pretty accurate description. There’s a bright and welcoming patio with a full on converted school bus parked there that serves up grain bowls (not something you’d ever find in a true dive) and burritos, but that “everyone is welcome” vibe is present and accounted for, too. It opens at 4pm daily and is dog-friendly so you bring your bestest pal when you head over for an Aperol spritz fix.
How to order: Stop by and visit, no reservations required
Not to be confused with the other Roxy in town, this is the second iteration of an Encinitas, California-based concept. If you’re missing live music (and who isn’t), this is one of the only places in town to get a fix. From jazz and rock to indie and experimental acts, they’ve got it all on the schedule so you can enjoy the classic drinks and a show combo. And when we say drinks, what we really mean are expertly made classic cocktails that let their simple ingredients shine. While the space has a tiny kitchen, they manage to pump out a pretty robust list of eats that range from snacks like extra crispy truffle fries, to full on meals like the angus flatiron steak.
Run For The Roses
Finding the entrance to this underground lounge at Dairy Block is part of the fun, so it definitely checks the box for speakeasy vibes. Once you’ve made your way down the elevator (that’s your first hint), you’ll know you’re in the right spot when you see the illuminated ticket window that serves as the host stand (and the spot to leave your name if they’re full). If you’re trying to impress, just knowing about this place should do the trick. But the high quality cocktails will help, too. The drink list comes in the form of a deck of cards -- meaning that, yes, there’s 52 options to sort through. While you think, order up some caviar and kick back, you’ll probably be here awhile.
How to order: The lounge is open Fridays & Saturdays from 5-11pm; they’re also serving drinks at their Roses on the Run garden pop-up daily starting at noon
This Colfax classic is a Denver dive must-visit. 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.
How to order: They open at 3pm daily
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.
How to order: Stop by, they’re currently open on Friday & Saturday nights only
Don's Club Tavern
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.
How to order: Head over, they’re open every day of the week
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) and their promise to have “no crap on tap.” Its central location in downtown Denver makes it a convenient stop before or after a dinner out.
How to order: Stop by — they’re open Thursday-Sunday and have a large outdoor patio
From the outside, this spot’s got dive written all over it (read: a large, nondescript Budweiser sign). But 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 a night market with street food and local vendors, and decor that suddenly makes you have a better understanding of the phrase “quirky yet charming.”
How to order: Come by and order at "Guthrie’s Grotto," their to-go bar and pop-up shop where you can get cocktails, full-sized bottles of booze, plants, and more; their outdoor patio is available for for first-come, first-served seating
The Family Jones
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 Lavender Clover Club and the Ella Black Manhattan with their bourbon made from 100% Colorado grown grains and house made amaro. 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.
How to order: They are currently open Thursday-Saturday from 5-11pm and reservations are available
My Brother's Bar
Walking into this bar, it’s easy to picture Jack Kerouac or Neal Cassady bantering away in a corner while 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 on their two patios.
How to order: They’re open for outdoor seating only and you can also order pickup online and delivery via DoorDash and UberEats
Death & Co
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 spot that has an identity all its own. Even as they’ve moved service outside, Death & Co remains a must for killer drinks that are ideal for date nights.
How to order: They are open for outdoor seating only on a first come, first served basis; you can also order for curbside pickup online