Best Flight Into the Sixties 2023 | Sky Bar | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

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.

Molly Martin

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.

Sarah McGill

Since the '70s, R&R Lounge has been an openly proud gay bar, serving as a trailblazer for creating a safe space in the Mile High City's gay community. But it also doesn't adhere to strict labels. In 2018, owner Rich Illgen told Westword that anyone is welcome, as long as "your money is green and you can get along with everyone." It's ideal for those looking for a cozy dive bar with cold beers and solid drinks at a good price. It's also uniquely Denver, with a solid Broncos watch party on game days, a neon martini glass glowing above its East Colfax front door, and a proud sense of inclusion.

Molly Martin

Erin Homburger opened TrashHawk — a neighborhood watering hole inspired by the bars she came to love while living in Chicago — in October 2021, and its many fans have been bellying up ever since, downing shots of Malört and cans of Montucky between bites from a stellar food truck lineup. Although it's less than two years old, the bar feels like an old-school staple, thanks in large part to the decor. The forest-green walls are covered with retro objects, many of which came from Homburger's relatives — like the Denver Broncos plaque that used to be in her grandmother's basement. The bathrooms are plastered with old cigarette and booze ads from LIFE magazine, the spacious back patio is decked out with booze brand signs, and a chalkboard wall is filled with scrawled messages from Trash BBs — the term of endearment that Homburger has bestowed upon the bar's regulars.

Honor Farm

Hell brings fire, Tiki brings tropical, and Doug Frank brings his leopard-print Speedo. It's part of his job as the fire-breathing, lap-dancing, cocktail-serving man of leisure at Hell or High Water, the "haunted gay pirate tiki bar" that's been a LoDo hot spot since opening in the summer of 2022. With a killer list of tiki drinks, boozy drag brunches and Curse of the Cocktail happy hours, your vision tends to get blurry inside the tiny bar's bamboo jungle decor. But remember, your old pal is always nearby when you need another cocktail: He's the one with "Dammit Doug" written across the ass of said Speedo.

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