Beverage Director

Where to Drink in Denver Right Now

You’ve earned it.

With a handful of new bars opening so far this year and patios filling up with day drinkers and nighttime revelers once again, the bar scene in Denver is starting to regain some of that pre-pandemic energy at long last. Yes, you’ve still got to wear a mask when you’re not sipping, and many bar stools remain empty as social distancing is still key in having boozy fun safely. But you can totally have a drink made by a professional. And if you haven’t done that yet, let us assure you, it’s still pretty damn fun. So come see the new additions, from sleek high end cocktail havens to a horror-themed bar, and visit some Mile High favoires that are back in the game of slinging delicious drinks just for you—which is something we can all cheers to. 

Forget Me Not

Cherry Creek

In March, one year after the pandemic made going out to a bar for a drink something we all suddenly stopped doing, this new chic cocktail bar from the Culinary Creative Group (who also own Senor Bear, Bar Dough, and more) opened its doors and reminded us all why we really liked going out to a bar. Exhibit A: Their large format cocktails decked out with colorful garnishes and served in glass goblet with a punch bowl spout—yes, you will need to share with friends. Pair any of the craft cocktails with the upscale snacks like cheese and meat boards, razor clams, or go big with their caviar service, ‘cause after the year we’ve all had, you deserve a splurge.
How to order: Make a reservation via Tock—indoor and outdoor seating is available

Things on Colfax got a little more thrilling in November 2020 when this bar which embraces all things horror opened up in the former Bellwether space. You can come by to catch screenings of cult classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Beetlejuice, and It, or just visit for a cocktail, because their libations are frighteningly good.
How to order: Open daily 5 pm - 1 am

The L

Baker

Another 2021 addition to Denver’s bar scene, The industry vet owners of The L, Adam Hodak and Alex Lerman, took over the space of a former pet food store on Broadway and transformed it into a cocktail destination with neighborhood bar vibes. This place is not only for cocktail snobs, but if you are one, you won’t be disappointed. And while there’s no food on the menu, you can order from their neighboring Danger Calzones for all the drinking sustenance needed to go ahead and order one more cocktail. 
How to order: Open Wednesdays - Sundays weekly for walk-in business only

Hudson Hill

Capitol Hill

Let’s be real—we’ve all been doing more day drinking than usual in the past year. And at Hudson Hill, you can day drink in style. Sure, it’s open at night too, but sitting in the bright and airy space sipping a $6 bloody while noshing on the most decadent grilled cheese in Denver is just the kind of simple indulgence that’ll make you fall back in love with being out and about. Follow up your first drink with one of their more complex cocktails, which include options like the Johnny Thunders, a frothy combo of mezcal, rum, aperol, pineapple, Thai tea, and lemon that inexplicably tastes like the best adult creamsicle you’ve ever had. 
How to order: Online ordering is available for pickup but you’ll have to stop by for cocktails

Named for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, which legally defined American Whiskey and ensured its quality, you can be sure to find a damn good Old Fashioned here (and for only $6 during happy hour) along with a lineup of top notch craft cocktails with a variety of spirits, best enjoyed on their rooftop patio. And right now, their guest kitchen is Open, which is serving a lineup of sandwiches each created by a top Denver chef with $1 from each sandwich sold being donated to Project Angel Heart
How to order: Open daily for walk-ins

It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone could use a tropical getaway right about now. But you don’t have to go anywhere near the airport to get a taste of vacation life. At this South Broadway tiki bar, the island vibes are immaculate. From tropical classics like mai tais the macadamia nut chi-chi to original creations like the lychee seventy-five, they’ve got photo-ready cocktails covered. Plus you can also order up bites like Spam musubi, coconut shrimp, and pu pu platters for sharing. All that’s missing is the ocean breeze, but at least you can pretend to be by the sea on their spacious back patio. 
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor or outdoor tables or order cocktails and food to-go via Toast

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 (finally) got an excuse to dress up a little for a night out.
How to order: They’re open everyday from 3 pm - midnight and reservations are recommended

Middleman

Congress Park

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 Tuesdays - Saturdays

Attimo Wine

Ballpark

Just steps from the original location of Snooze, Jon Schlegel (the founder of that Denver brunch mecca) 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

Brass Tacks

Union Station

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.
How to order: Open Wednesdays-Sundays; online ordering is also available pickup

The Roxy

Washington Park West

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 a great spot to get a fix, no tickets required. 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 pan seared salmon.
How to order: Open seven nights a week, reservations are recommended

PS Lounge

Congress Park

This cash only 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 3 pm daily

Cruise Room
Courtesy of The Cruise Room

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 Thursdays-Saturdays

Don's Club Tavern

Alamo Placita

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

Falling Rock Tap House
Photo by Lee Breslouer for Thrillist

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, and many of their beers are also available to-go.
How to order:  Stop by—they’re currently open Fridays - Sundays and have a large outdoor patio

Fort Greene

Globeville

From the outside, this spot has 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, food truck pop-ups and yoga sessions, and quirky decor.
How to order: They’re open Tuesdays - Saturdays with limited indoor seating and tables on their heated patio

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 Ella Black Manhattan with their bourbon made from 100% Colorado grown grains and house-made amaro. You can also take home the experience with their Automatic Jones line up of ready-to-pour cocktails—pro-level martinis anytime, just add ice.
How to order: They are currently open Wednesday - Saturday and reservations are available

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. 
How to order: They’re now open for indoor seating and also have tables on their two outdoor patios; online ordering for pickup is available online or get delivery via DoorDash and UberEats

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Molly Martin is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @mollydbu on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on food, fun, and life in the Mile High.
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