Sarah McGill

With cheap drinks, sticky floors and a decided lack of frills, Monkey Bar, the Santa Fe art district's premier dive, has been a constant in the rapidly changing neighborhood. Although the bar doesn't host any official leagues, patrons can partake in a plethora of games, most of which are free to play. Darts, billiards, ping-pong and foosball tend to attract a crowd near the entrance, while beer pong and giant Jenga spill out onto the back patio. There are also video games like N64 and four-person Pac-Man, all available on a first-come, first-served basis. Gather your friends — human or canine, as the bar is dog-friendly — and come monkey around, or start an informal league of your own. Loser buys a round of pickle shots.

Dylan Burkhardt

Although Stoney's has an Uptown outpost and a Mexican spinoff on Broadway, the original on Lincoln Street is our go-to on game days. It plays host to fans of more than ten professional and college sports teams, from the Denver Broncos to the Miami Hurricanes. Plenty of TVs showing all the sports are on at all times, and there's room for everyone in the large bar, including a patio for when the weather is nice enough to get you up off the couch. Stoney's serves up a solid selection of pub fare, too, such as nachos, wings, burgers and loaded fries. Along with its dedicated watch parties, the bar's atmosphere makes enjoying any sporting event here a winning experience.

The Sportsbook Bar & Grill's Wash Park location feels like a hidden oasis, with a door opening to the alleyway and a descent down a flight of stairs, where a print of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow greets those who enter. The bar may be best known by Bengals fans as the place to be on game day, but it's always a great bar for watching any game, thanks to some of the best food and drink deals in town and a waitstaff that is spot-on, even during the busiest times. With no shortage of TVs, seating or local brews on tap, as well as food for every mood, you're sure to have a good time, whether your team wins or loses.

Molly Martin

Although it's difficult to imagine now, there once was a kinder, gentler era of air travel, complete with Sky Chef meals, roomy seats, "stewardesses" in fashionable uniforms and above-and-beyond service. Whether or not you remember that golden age, you can still get a taste of it over a cocktail at Sky Bar inside Stanley Marketplace. Created by partners Skye Barker Maa, Brandi Shigley and Patrick McMichael, it's a snazzy tribute to the building's roots in the aviation business. Dress up like folks once did to fly, then take the elevator to the third floor and enjoy the sunset view paired with a selection of classic cocktails and updated libations named for exotic travel destinations.

Best friends Lauren Beno and Denise Day long dreamed of creating a safe space where women, BIPOC and queer communities in particular could gather for parties and events. So in 2022, they rolled up their sleeves to crowdfund, making their dreams come true by building Town Hall Collaborative in a warehouse in the Art District on Santa Fe. Outfitted with a bar and coffee shop, it works as a haven for performances, workshops, parties, expos, fundraisers and anything else you can think of, all with a built-in spirit of inclusiveness and respect.

Molly Martin

The iconic sign in front of this old-school steakhouse dating back to the 1930s boasts its signature item, the sugar steak, but for us, no trip to the Googie-style building would be complete without an ice-cold martini served in a metal cup, best enjoyed at Bastien's sunken bar. While the staff will mix up any style 'tini for you, it's the Colfax-worthy Filthy Martini — made with your choice of Beluga vodka or The Botanist gin along with Carpano Dry vermouth, olive and banana pepper brine, cracked pepper and an olive garnish — that keeps us coming back for another round.

Molly Martin

Don's Club Tavern has been a dive-bar staple in Denver for over 75 years. Here you'll find games like Skee-Ball and pool, a vending machine filled with everything from corn nuts and koozies to Banquet pot pies and K-Y lube, and a back patio filled with characters. Don's daily drink specials are another draw, with standard deals like discounted pitchers and buckets of beer. But what really steals the show are the pickle shots, which are just $4 all day, every day. While we'll take one down anytime, they're a particularly effective hangover cure.

Molly Martin

"Interesting food made by dumbdumbs" is what Misfit Snack Bar's Instagram bio reads, but a quick scan of its concise rotating menu proves that there's obviously tremendous skill in the kitchen, which is led by chef de cuisine Dylan Rigolini. Chef Bo Porytko launched Misfit inside Middleman bar in 2019 to let his culinary mastermind run wild, often creating innovative and irreverent renditions of classic comfort foods. In recent months, Misfit has served up successful stunners like ham and cheddar cheese croquettes and dry-aged kji-cured sirloin with Hollandaise foam, humbly dubbed Steak and Eggs. Only a dumbdumb would dismiss Misfit's creative (and downright delicious) food.

Danielle Lirette

The Irish Rover's dark wooden interior, splashed with sunlight streaming in from South Broadway, is the perfect place for a Saturday-afternoon buzz, preferably kicked off with a proper pint of Guinness providing the low-ABV hit your system needs to right itself after a long night out. The Rover is also where it's at on a dreary winter weekday that needs to be lightened up by the dim, comfy confines of a pub. After a drop of the hard stuff and a cold glass of beer, good conversations are sure to follow at this longtime Denver standard.

Molly Martin

The extinction event of the past few years — aka COVID — left a number of Denver's longtime punk venues counted among the dead. But the Crypt didn't earn our vote for Best Punk Bar by simple process of elimination. It was formed from the ashes of Tooey's Off Colfax in the summer of 2022 after longtime  industry stalwarts Priscilla Perez and Chris Maynard moved on from their long tenures there. Flooded in red light, it's decked out in vintage metal posters, with slasher films on the TVs, louder-than-loud bands playing every other night, and a vegan bar menu that hits the spot after some PBRs and a hardcore show. The Crypt was built to party, and no one does it better.

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