Denver's ten hippest bars
In July 2012, we put together a list of Denver's hippest bars, from the mainstays to the emerging hipster havens. The release of that list caused a considerable amount of hubbub -- since then, the list has grown and evolved, separating the tried-and-true from the fleeting trend spots and adding a host of newly-minted hip headquarters. Here's an updated list of Denver's ten hippest bars.
See also: Denver's ten hippest bars, 2012 edition.
City, O' City still holds its ground as a favored hipster hangout, especially in Capitol Hill, where the bar scene is surprisingly barren, and there's an excess of hip twenty-something's that reside there. City, O' City acts as a veritable playground for the burgeoning drinking community: a bustling back bar, coveted happy hour menu, interesting vegetarian offerings, movie screenings, local art and poetry and live shows right upstairs at the Deer Pile.
TRVE, the heavy metal-centric brewery that opened on a stretch of South Broadway in the ever-hip Baker hood, was opened by a black-metal enthusiast for like-minded beer drinkers. Since opening, owner Nick Nunns bumped up his original production system to three seven-barrel tanks, an effort that allowed the constant stream of customers to keep coming by increasing capacity and variety of beers on tap. Now, the loyal fan base and hip newcomers can camp out at the sprawling communal table sipping a Prehistoric Dog or a limited-release Vexovoid.
The 16th Street location of Illegal Pete's was featured in our original list -- and, without a doubt, it still reigns supreme. The addition of their South Broadway location last summer sealed the deal: the same music-focused feel, friendly, tattooed burrito slingers and your choice of beers from the super-cheap standby's to the Colorado craft set -- plus, an expansive, string-lit outdoor patio with lawn games to keep the hordes entertained.
It seems that this flannel-packed illusion of a mountain cabin on Colfax hasn't lost its shine, especially in the eyes of City Park West dwellers -- and it's still worth the hike if you're coming from other parts of town. The drinks are still cheap and strong, and the ever-changing rotation of bands and comedy open mikes cram into the windowless performance space, best enjoyed with their $5 beer-and-shot special.
Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew
Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew was born from three friends that share an enthusiasm for homebrewing; it was also one of the first of many smaller, edgy hop joints to pop up in the Five Points and RiNo neighborhoods. The minimalist space is warmed up with big, rustic tables and stacks of literary gems behind the bar -- perfect for shacking up with a fresh pint of one of a handful of rotating selections from the tap. Resident food trucks and live shows in the back room keep the hip coming back for more.
Forest Room 5 is a tried-and-true staple for Highland-dwelling hipsters -- from the aspen wallpaper, low-lighting, eclectic bar staff and mantle peopled with vintage and other-wordly trinkets. In the winter, patrons flock there in the winter to cozy up at the bar, ordering truffle fries and well-mixed whiskey drinks. In the summer, the patio is an idyllic spot for the hordes of hip day drinkers.
The Wine Lab at Infinite Monkey Theorem is another coveted watering hole that sprung up on the industrial stretch of Larimer -- and one of few to serve up urban-produced wine (and a canned sparkling variety) on tap in its spare warehouse space. A bonus? Infinite Monkey Theorem is caddy-corner to the coveted, uber-cool Populist, and the hip crowds at both establishments tend to co-mingle.
Meadowlark got rid of its photo-booth, unfortunately, where patrons could publicize their nightly trysts for the world to see -- but it still has a back patio that makes it one of the best outdoor destinations in Denver.
Jack Rabbit Hill, the vineyard that grew to include an on-farm distillery and spirits division, recently opened a Denver outpost at the ultra-cool Brighton Boulevard warehouse marketplace, The Source. Here, the expert (and handsome) bartenders mix up highly-crafted cocktails from organic CapRock gin, vodka and brandy; they recently collaborated with Denver brewers on a series of white whiskies. Sit at the cleanly designed central bar, and enjoy the space and people-watching -- and feel free to move from bar, to Crooked Stave, Comida, and Acorn -- all are within crawling distance.
Welcome to Sputnik. Still, it remains Denver's absolute hipster headquarters: Edgy bartenders, on-site DJ, photo booth and a prime location right next to the Hi-Dive for those who linger with beers and cocktails before and after sets next door. Situated in the heart of the Baker neighborhood, it's a hipster classic, bustling by day (when it's a breakfast and lunch haven with free wifi) and by night when it's a vibrant gathering place that stays packed until last call.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.