Escape LoDo bar hell with a LoDo bar crawl
Chances are if you’re in Denver for a quick trip, you’re staying downtown. And chances are that if you ask your concierge where the nightlife hotspots are, he/she will say, “LoDo.” Problem is, many LoDo watering holes are -- how do I put this nicely? -- douchey. But, fear not, this route will steer you (mostly) clear of such pitfalls. Start things out with one of the various French dips at Pony Up. From there, head to Falling Rock and grab a pint from one of its 75-plus taps. Around the corner you’ll find El Chapultepec: a cash-only dive that serves Mexican food and has live jazz or blues on most nights. At Star Bar, go for a glass of one its many whiskeys. Cap things off at Pon Pon, a hip, cozy spot with an impeccable soundtrack.
Hit up a historic hotel bar
There’s no doubt that the pair of marine-themed bars inside Denver’s two most historic hotels are worth checking out. At The Oxford Hotel, the Cruise Room’s Prohibition-era red hue and handcrafted cocktails are a cornerstone of Denver’s drinking culture. So it goes at The Brown Palace with Ship Tavern and all of its model boats (and if you fancy a cigar, head down the hallway to the Churchill afterward). But, we’d like to add another must-stop to the list: Charlie Brown’s, a piano bar with solid food, a two-for-one happy hour, and a patio where you can still light up (tobacco, that is). Bonus: All three of these joints are open on most holidays, so you can get your fix while you hide from your family.
Crush a breakfast burrito
If you’ve accomplished the task of eating green chile on its own, it’s time to take it up a notch. Perhaps no dish is more uniquely Denver than a breakfast burrito with green chile piled in or atop it. And there are a ton of options to satisfy your hungover urges. Santiago’s handhelds are ubiquitous, while El Taco de Mexico (yeah, we mention the spot a couple of times, you need to go) smothers the outside of its morning gut bombs. Perhaps the best breakfast burrito downtown can be found at Asada Rico, a humble street cart. Note: It’s not open on the weekends so you should probably just elongate your trip for one. Note No. 2: If you’re not eating Mexican food in Denver for roughly 66% of your meals, you’re doing it wrong.