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Denver's five best dive bars

Inside the Kentucky Inn, Denver's best dive bar.
Inside the Kentucky Inn, Denver's best dive bar.

Denver is littered with dive bars, all boasting at least a handful of loyal regulars who while away the hours while they nurse a drink....or twelve. In the Best of Denver 2011, our pick for the Best Dive Bar in the city was the Kentucky Inn, a spot we'd never want to see in the light of day that boasts a great jukebox, a great bartender and a great cross-section of patrons, drinking everything from PBR to Strongbow in a can to Fernet-Branca.

We've got other favorite saloons around the city, though. Here are four more joints that round out our list of the five best dive bars:

Denver's five best dive bars
Photo: Hunter Stevens

Nob Hill Inn

Booths surround the horseshoe-shaped bar at the Nob Hill Inn, a Colfax watering hole that has history practically seeping from the walls. This joint, which has been around in some form for over seventy years, has played host to politicians and famous musicians, including Bob Dylan. Today it has a crowd of interesting regulars who all seem to know each other, and some of them have been drinking in the place for almost fifty years. Which makes for excellent people watching -- even if you're a little too intimidated to join the conversation.

Denver's five best dive bars

My Brother's Bar

My Brother's Bar won our Best Brother's Bar nod this year, and it's also one of our favorite dives. Once a beat haunt, the oldest bar in the city now packs in a crowd of regulars that range from industry folk just off their shifts to families to club-hoppers starting or ending their night. The bar has no sign, plays classical music all day and sells Girl Scout cookies year-round.

Denver's five best dive bars

El Chapultepec

Located in the heart of what's now Denver's club and sports-bar scene, El Chapultepec has held down this corner for almost eighty years, offering up a nightly roster of live jazz acts. Dark and tiny, it's a no-frills contrast to its hipster neighbors, and a convenient escape if you're downtown but over the scene.

Denver's five best dive bars

The Squire Lounge

Colfax may very well be the center of the Denver dive-bar universe, where PBR and whiskey joints dot the landscape, block after block. But none of them are quite like the Squire. On any given night this grubby hall, lit with neon signage, can take a turn for the weird. Cheap drinks and an eclectic crowd usually provide more entertainment than the warped shuffleboard table; live comedy replaces the jukebox jams one night a week.

Have another favorite dive bar? Tell us below.

More Best Of Denver Lists:

- Denver's five best restaurants for blind dates

- Top five martinis in Denver -- good, better, Best!

- Denver's five best burgers

- Denver's six best pizzas


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