Today marks the eightieth anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition -- reason to drink! Sadly, the Teller House Bar in Central City -- which was open on that great day in 1933 -- is not pouring right now, but other longtime watering holes definitely are, just as they were on December 5, 1933. Keep reading for a six-pack of historic spots where you can raise a glass.
6) Buffalo Rose 1119 Washington Avenue, Golden The Original Bowling Saloon was built on this site in 1859; in addition to pouring beer, it served as a meeting place for the Colorado Territorial House of Representatives. Although the original Original building was demolished, it was rebuilt in 1902 -- and serving again when Prohibition ended. Although the Buffalo Rose Saloon name is new (as of 1985), this is still a great spot to get a taste of history.
5) My Brother's Bar 2376 15th Street The building that houses My Brother's Bar has been a saloon since the 1880s -- and perhaps even earlier. It's only been known as My Brother's for a scant forty years, but remnants of an earlier ID are displayed on the wall, where a letter from Neal Cassady urging a pal to pay his bar tab at Paul's Place is posted. And, in fact, Paul's Place was the occupant of this site on the day that Prohibition ended. The Beat goes on...
4) El Chapultepec 1962 Market Street What's the oldest continually operating bar in Denver? Probably El Chapultepec, which Tony Romano opened in the summer of 1933 (Colorado was allowing beer to flow before the Prohibition's federal repeal took hold). Jerry Krantz, Romano's son-in-law, inherited El Chapultepec in the 1970s, adding jazz to its menu. And although Krantz passed away last year, his daughter, Angela Guerrero, is still running the place. That's music to our ears.
3) Ship Tavern 321 17th Street When Prohibition ended, the Brown Place was ready to pour, launching the Ship Tavern that day. it's still a classy place to bend an elbow.
2) Buckhorn Exchange 1000 Osage Street The Buckhorn Exchange may have liquor license #1, but that doesn't mean it's the oldest bar in town; Denver started the numbering system after Prohibition ended. But the Buckhorn does have genuine history on its side: It dates back to 1893, when it was a favorite with hunters and outdoorsmen, including Teddy Roosevelt, and it has the animal heads on the wall to prove it.
1) Cruise Room 1600 17th Street The Oxford Hotel designed its classy Cruise room to look like the lounge of the Queen Mary, and it was ready to set sail on the day Prohibition ended. A recent renovation didn't alter the charm of this spot, which remains one of the best bars in Denver -- in any era.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!