A LoDo oasis for your dive bar needs
Yes, The Pec is just a block away, but these are dives of different kinds -- the Pec’s got jazz and history on its side, and Star Bar, well, it’s where you go when you just want a strong drink. Period. The bartenders are also wayyy more knowledgeable than your average dive bar drink slingers so while you can totally just get a 7 and 7, you can also chat them up about craft beer or opt for an Old Fashioned with respectable results. In addition to their wide array of Colorado craft beers and tasty cocktails, they offer karaoke on Tuesday and Thursday nights, skeeball, and an outdoor bar/lounge area equipped with adult slushies.
A sticky-floored haven in the middle of Downtown
If you like your dives dirty, then this will be your new favorite spot. Despite Denver’s unrelenting evolution toward shiny, new hangouts with cocktails that cost double digits, this low-key institution remains a not-at-all glistening beacon in an otherwise empty parking lot on 21st and Champa (with a sign above the door that simply reads “Bar Bar”). As a handwritten sign above the bar will tell you, this spot is cash only, but you don’t need a lot of dough to score a generously boozy cocktail or a $2 PBR. Bonus points for the pool tables in the back and the random live music you’ll find despite the fact that there's no stage in sight.
The hidden-in-plain-sight gem
This is the kind of place you (yes, you) have probably walked by a million times on your way to Punch Bowl Social or Illegal Pete’s and somehow, never noticed. But step inside and you’ll find a world of dive bar wonder run by a guy named Barry, whose family has been in the Denver bar business for decades. The service can be...sassy, but in that way that makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something every time you get a drink. And said drinks are cheap, as they should be at any respectable dive. Plus, if you hit a certain high score (the details of which are as blurry as nights at Barry’s) on the skeeball machine, you can even snag free drinks.