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!

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!


If you find yourself at Kazmo's at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, it's a good bet you haven't just come from church -- or the comfort of your shower. No, more likely you're a survivor of Saturday night's continuing festivities and primed to re-engage. Victor Gomez, the Dominican-born proprietor of this windowless refuge, is happy to oblige, with a DJ who pumps up the volume to nuclear-detonation levels. With a dance floor inhabited by your fellow creatures of the dawn. With $5 pitchers of Bud. With 8-ball. And, yes, with a couple of couches on which to collapse and contemplate the music of the spheres. All in all, Kazmo's offers a splendid nothing's-enough-and-too-much-is-just-fine experience.

If you find yourself at Kazmo's at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, it's a good bet you haven't just come from church -- or the comfort of your shower. No, more likely you're a survivor of Saturday night's continuing festivities and primed to re-engage. Victor Gomez, the Dominican-born proprietor of this windowless refuge, is happy to oblige, with a DJ who pumps up the volume to nuclear-detonation levels. With a dance floor inhabited by your fellow creatures of the dawn. With $5 pitchers of Bud. With 8-ball. And, yes, with a couple of couches on which to collapse and contemplate the music of the spheres. All in all, Kazmo's offers a splendid nothing's-enough-and-too-much-is-just-fine experience.

Yorkshire native Jessica Avery has created a stark, sunny space that shines in contrast to the ambience of coffeehouses we've become so accustomed to in this town, where folks can find a dark spot to swill caffeine and palaver on nearly every street corner. Her House of Commons is a welcoming space where you chat in hushed tones, though not necessarily with your pinkie extended, as you sip an entirely different kind of caf -- chosen from a variety of aromatic Taylor's of Harrogate teas -- in the descending light. Adding to the makings of a right proper afternoon are Avery's food offerings -- lovely scones with double Devon cream, tiny petit fours, cucumber sandwiches and Parkin, a Yorkshire specialty that involves baking spiced oatmeal with treacle into a chewy, crumbly, sticky, caramelly mess of perfect goodness. Brilliant!

Yorkshire native Jessica Avery has created a stark, sunny space that shines in contrast to the ambience of coffeehouses we've become so accustomed to in this town, where folks can find a dark spot to swill caffeine and palaver on nearly every street corner. Her House of Commons is a welcoming space where you chat in hushed tones, though not necessarily with your pinkie extended, as you sip an entirely different kind of caf -- chosen from a variety of aromatic Taylor's of Harrogate teas -- in the descending light. Adding to the makings of a right proper afternoon are Avery's food offerings -- lovely scones with double Devon cream, tiny petit fours, cucumber sandwiches and Parkin, a Yorkshire specialty that involves baking spiced oatmeal with treacle into a chewy, crumbly, sticky, caramelly mess of perfect goodness. Brilliant!


Where once lurked the Cutthroat Cafe, a gruesomely dubbed greasy spoon that took over from the equally gruesomely named Butcher's Block, there now sits the altogether cuddly Monkey Bean, a neighborhood joint for the rapidly improving Ballpark neighborhood. In a city clogged with cafes, Monkey Bean apes no one: Everything from its huge menu to its vibrant decor is full of originality and soul. Ricotta-cheese pancakes? Peanut butter and jelly? Bubble tea laced with chewy pearls of tapioca? It's all here. There are also shelves stocked with board games and an impressive array of books, not to mention free Internet, a cozy patio and virtuoso baristas. Whether you're looking for a quiet, solo midweek break or Sunday brunch with the crew, this Monkey suits everyone.

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