Lots of local watering holes offer great happy-hour specials and fleeting drink deals on whatever rotgut they've got clogging up their back stock. But the Lounge doesn't mess around. Instead, the barkeeps here serve one-buck cans of Old Style, all the time. The staple of a million Midwest union meetings and monster-truck rallies, Old Style is richer than Budweiser and less played out than Pabst. And the Lounge, with its amiable staff, hit-heavy jukebox, creative appetizers and chill atmosphere, is the perfect place to wash away those day-before-payday blues.


The Irish Snug
Courtesy Irish Snug Facebook
Denver is suddenly inundated with Irish bars, but the Irish Snug led the way, in the process giving Colfax a stunning new storefront: This Dublin-style pub's facade looks like it was built in another century. The vibe inside is slightly less well-worn, although a growing group of loyal customers are doing their best to break the place in. Opened on St. Patrick's Day 2004, the Snug sticks to its theme, from the Guinness on tap to the corned beef on the menu. The bar's snug -- a private drinking booth imported from Ireland -- is a unique, authentic feature, but it's just as fun to enjoy the nightly beer specials on the large gated patio, or in a non-smoking room. Let's raise a pint to the Snug.

Denver is suddenly inundated with Irish bars, but the Irish Snug led the way, in the process giving Colfax a stunning new storefront: This Dublin-style pub's facade looks like it was built in another century. The vibe inside is slightly less well-worn, although a growing group of loyal customers are doing their best to break the place in. Opened on St. Patrick's Day 2004, the Snug sticks to its theme, from the Guinness on tap to the corned beef on the menu. The bar's snug -- a private drinking booth imported from Ireland -- is a unique, authentic feature, but it's just as fun to enjoy the nightly beer specials on the large gated patio, or in a non-smoking room. Let's raise a pint to the Snug.

The Thin Man
Danielle Lirette
This saloon's name recalls both Bob Dylan and Dashiell Hammett, and its regulars are likely to be familiar with both. The Thin Man draws a funky sample of Capitol Hill's creative population, including local musicians, artists and filmmakers; book clubs and art collectives come here to brainstorm or plan their Burning Man installations. A former auto garage, the Man packs them all in with signature cocktails (the pineapple vodka is a special treat), a nice selection of beer and wine, and a friendly, TV-free space. The walls host works by an ever-changing roster of local artists, and the white marble bar is a thing of beauty. An establishment as good as the Thin Man is hard to find.

This saloon's name recalls both Bob Dylan and Dashiell Hammett, and its regulars are likely to be familiar with both. The Thin Man draws a funky sample of Capitol Hill's creative population, including local musicians, artists and filmmakers; book clubs and art collectives come here to brainstorm or plan their Burning Man installations. A former auto garage, the Man packs them all in with signature cocktails (the pineapple vodka is a special treat), a nice selection of beer and wine, and a friendly, TV-free space. The walls host works by an ever-changing roster of local artists, and the white marble bar is a thing of beauty. An establishment as good as the Thin Man is hard to find.


Arap's Old Gun Shop
Cassandra Kotnik
Sometimes you just need a place to drink. A place where you can go about the serious business of altering your blood chemistry undisturbed by flashing lights, pounding bass lines or a bunch of nineteen-year-olds passing fake IDs and horking up their Jägermeister on the dance floor. And when you're in need of a place like this, you could do a lot worse than bellying up to the bar at Arap's Old Gun Shop -- where the beers are cold, the well booze is cheap, the bartenders are smooth and efficient, and the customers are mostly local, mostly friendly and mostly content to keep to themselves. There's plenty of space at the bar or at the long tables arranged in front of it to be alone with your thoughts, and while the Barfly vibe can sometimes be overwhelming, it's exactly that dead-end sense of last-call gloom and lost chances that makes Arap's the genuine article.

Sometimes you just need a place to drink. A place where you can go about the serious business of altering your blood chemistry undisturbed by flashing lights, pounding bass lines or a bunch of nineteen-year-olds passing fake IDs and horking up their Jägermeister on the dance floor. And when you're in need of a place like this, you could do a lot worse than bellying up to the bar at Arap's Old Gun Shop -- where the beers are cold, the well booze is cheap, the bartenders are smooth and efficient, and the customers are mostly local, mostly friendly and mostly content to keep to themselves. There's plenty of space at the bar or at the long tables arranged in front of it to be alone with your thoughts, and while the Barfly vibe can sometimes be overwhelming, it's exactly that dead-end sense of last-call gloom and lost chances that makes Arap's the genuine article.

Don's Club Tavern
Sarah McGill
Don's Club Tavern may be Denver's longest-surviving dive, as well as its most liquid asset. For decades, Don's has been the no-frills saloon of choice for those with a streak of Charles Bukowski in them, who are serious about their drinking. And there's no better way for a place that's been around forever to remind us of how much we love it than to start a closing scare. In late 2004, rumors abounded that Don's -- whose founder died earlier in the year -- was about to sell out, probably to one of the new kids with their small plates and fancy wines and fussy New American cuisine. So far, nothing has come of the rumors; still, there's not a moment to lose. Dive into this classic dive, one of a dying breed in the New West, before it disappears altogether.

Don's Club Tavern may be Denver's longest-surviving dive, as well as its most liquid asset. For decades, Don's has been the no-frills saloon of choice for those with a streak of Charles Bukowski in them, who are serious about their drinking. And there's no better way for a place that's been around forever to remind us of how much we love it than to start a closing scare. In late 2004, rumors abounded that Don's -- whose founder died earlier in the year -- was about to sell out, probably to one of the new kids with their small plates and fancy wines and fussy New American cuisine. So far, nothing has come of the rumors; still, there's not a moment to lose. Dive into this classic dive, one of a dying breed in the New West, before it disappears altogether.

Best Place to See People in Chaps Without Horses (or Pants)

The Denver Triangle

Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, the Denver Triangle is one of the oldest leather bars in the country. But it didn't reach that ripe old age without a few growing pains. Back in the day, old-guard leather bars were reserved strictly for men, and woe to any woman who dared cross their dark dungeon doorsteps. Those times are long gone, though, and today the Triangle is coed, cowhide-clad and customer-friendly, with special nights when granola-flavored, vegan-type folk are welcome. But the best day to visit the T is Sunday, for the $6 all-you-can-drink beer bust. Money raised during the busts benefits various LGBT organizations and charities, whose members put in their time as servers. So grab your Sunday-best leather vest (but don't bother to saddle up), and take a walk on the wild side. If you're lucky, you could get served by a certain green-wigged, glitter-bearded, triple-breasted drag queen!

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