In the last few days, we've seen colder temperatures, gray skies and an unprecedented amount of rainfall -- a cue to any Coloradan's brain that patio season is nearly over and it's time to seek out the cozy establishments we tend to hibernate in during fall and winter.
So, whether your looking for the comfort of a cocktail or the soothing warmth a stick-to-your-ribs meal, here, in no particular order, are some joints worth getting wet for.
See also: Denver's ten best spots for pho
10) Star Bar 2137 Larimer Street If you like to disappear, Star Bar is the place to do that with other like-minded patrons. Dark lighting and a classic dive interior make this a recluse's dream. Combine that with an ever-rotating selection of upscale craft beers and cocktails and inviting booths, and you've found some shelter from the storm outside.
9) Williams and Graham 3160 Tejon Street At Williams & Graham, it's hard to tell what the weather's like outside on any day of the year, but it's days like this that bring out its true colors. Once you're through the bookcase veneer, you're in a dimly-lit wooded bar, with award-winning barkeeps who will hook you up no matter how long you stay. Settle down with a Vieux Carré or an inspired hand-crafted cocktail (based on your spirit preference or mood) or take in the surprising offerings from the thoughtful bar menu.
8) Trillium 2134 Larimer Street If anyone knows cozy, it's the Scandinavians and their Denver outpost can be found at Trillium, a quiet ballpark gem that serves up warm french-pressed cocktails, house-infused Akvavit (a traditional Scandinavian spirit) and specialties like cured Scottish salmon and fried smelt. The ultra-relaxing lounge is fit for hours of dawdling, especially as it's situated next to a fireplace.
7) Vine Street 1700 Vine Street The interior of Vine Street Pub & Brewery could easily be a cabin retreat. Sprawling wooden tables and vintage concert posters and tapestries fill the room, while bartenders serve up numerous beers brewed on site (February is Stout Month and dedicated to this warming beer style). And they've got plenty of food to keep the cold out, too, including award winning wings and burgers. So sit back, grab a board game, and enjoy the great indoors.
6) À Côté 2239 West 30th Avenue À Côté, the quaint bistro and cocktail bar next to Z Cuisine is arguably as close to an intimate Parisian cafe as we get in Denver. When the air is chill, À Côté appears to glow with warmth from within, inviting passersby to duck in for a libation -- and a sampling of their luscious French specialties. On a day such as this, you might spring for one of the most notable items on their menu: a full Absinthe service, with an array of absinthes from around the world, including two from Colorado.
5) Highland Tap & Burger 2219 West 32nd AvenueThis Highland neighborhood tavern is known for its juicy burgers, and a great selection of unique (and mostly Colorado) craft beers. The fire pit on the patio can be enjoyed year round (even if it's drizzling), while the inside has a bar that begs to be sat at for big games, happy hour, and run club meet-ups. Highland Tap serves weekend breakfast now too, further solidifying its reputation as both a great bar and a joint with fare that goes beyond your typical bar food.
4) The Thin Man 2015 17th Avenue The Thin Man has attracted an eclectic crowd for years, regardless of the weather or the season. Inside, the intimate bar glows with red mood lighting while the walls are crowded with eclectic decorations like old photographs, crosses and saintly portraits. The bar gets crowded in the colder months, but you won't mind, especially as you sip on a hot toddy, house-made sangria, or one of their many creative infusions.
3) Village Cork 1300 South Pearl Street Shared plates and a vast list of wines from across the globe are just a few things that drive us to the Village Cork, a charming respite on South Pearl that lends to warm conversation and a (welcome) slowing of time. Wines can be chosen by the bottle of the glass, especially enjoyed with artisanal cheese and a partner-in-crime that you don't mind being marooned with.
2) My Brother's Bar 2376 15th Street The renowned hospitality at My Brother's Bar can only be cultivated by years of service -- in this case, more than a hundred years of bar service on this spot. Although the address has been known by different names over the decades, this is the oldest running bar in Denver. Step in, and you're transported to a different time. Sit down and the wise barkeeps will keep your glass full of whatever you might need. Don't miss out on the burgers, made within view of the bar in an old-school galley-style kitchen.
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1) The Bar Car This East Denver watering hole is truly reminiscent of a railroad bar car. It boasts a slightly faded grandeur like studded leather bar chairs, moulded ceiling, and a glowing chandelier, with hits of contemporary times, like a large mounted TV (perfect for football games and derby parties) and the infamous photograph of Burt Reynolds in the nude.