If you've been out and about in Denver doing...pretty much anything recently, it's obvious: The energy in the city is high as we all get back to our (relatively) normal activities. And by activities, we mean drinking in various locations, including bar seats that are opening back up all over the state, finally.
Here are ten bars where the views are almost as good as the feeling you'll get when you realize you didn't even have to put on hiking boots to enjoy them.
1475 California Street
While this destination for cocktails inside the downtown Le Méridien hotel is not actually on the 54th floor, as the name might imply (it's really on the 20th), 54Thirty is still Denver's highest open-air seasonal bar. The unobstructed views of the Rockies make it a prime spot for a sunset rendezvous. But since seats are available only on a first-come, first-served basis, secure your spot before dusk or you could miss out on your chance to sip a Mez Tai Meets the Sky during the golden hour.
1380 Horizon Avenue, Lafayette
A short drive from Denver will land you at Acreage, a restaurant and cider house from Stem Ciders that's perched on a hill surrounded by twelve pristine acres. If you're skipping food, find a first-come, first-served seat on the Back Forty, a four-acre area with picnic tables aplenty where only cider is served. The cider garden and patio are open for dining, but reservations are recommended — so if you're hungry for a full meal, snacks or one of the cider doughnuts, plan ahead.
2706 Larimer Street
The view from the rooftop at this whiskey-centric RiNo bar may not be the kind you'll find on a postcard at a gift shop, but it is ideal for anyone who thinks that people-watching is a prime pastime. Bonus points if you manage to score a seat directly overlooking Larimer Street. But no matter where you're sitting at American Bonded, you can pair your cocktails with one of the six sandwiches from Open, each created by a different Denver culinary heavy hitter.
15921 South Elk Creek Road, Pine
You'll enjoy plenty of scenery just getting to the Bucksnort as you navigate the twisted roads off 285 to reach Sphinx Park (official address Pine). And the saloon itself offers lots to look at: The building dates back to the turn of the last century, when it was a general store that served railroad workers in this narrow canyon. The Bucksnort is under new owners — longtime operator Galina Bye sold it to Texans, of all folks, whose connection to the place started with a wedding ring lost in the plumbing — but it's lost none of its old-time charm. While the inside tends to get rowdy (with any luck), you can lose yourself in nature — and a beer or three — on the outdoor deck.
City Park Golf Course
3181 East 23rd Avenue
When this golf course in the heart of the city reopened in September 2020, it came with a serious upgrade that you don't even have to play golf to enjoy: a new clubhouse with a restaurant offering one of the best skyline views in the city. In the morning, it serves Bloody Marys, mimosas and Irish coffee alongside breakfast burritos, sandwiches, scrambles and more; later in the day, you can pair options like a green chile burger or a pound of wings with a Jack and Coke while you admire the silhouette of downtown Denver and the mountains beyond.
Any ticket to a Colorado Rockies game will get you access to this two-level, 38,000-square-foot area in the upper right-field deck at Coors Field. The space includes premium suites that you can rent out for groups, but it's also a great spot to grab a seat and enjoy burgers, beers and sweeping city views so nice, you might forget about watching the game altogether.
1012 Ford Street, Golden
The second food hall to open in Golden is also the town's first spot with a rooftop patio. The historic Golden Mill overlooks Clear Creek, so you can enjoy riverside views while exploring the options from a self-pour tap system that includes local beers, wine, cocktails and sake. Pair your choices with food from the five food concepts inside the hall: Tacos al Chile, Sushi Sora, Rolling Smoke BBQ, Republik of Chicken and Happy Cones.
Historians Ale House
The rooftop bar makes this casual Broadway watering hole a crowd favorite on sunny days. The tap list is loaded with local brews, the drinks are cheap (well, cheaper than any craft cocktail in town), and the view is a day-drinking dream. Historians Ale House also has one of the best weekday lunch deals in Denver, with a cheeseburger, fries and soda, beer or well drink for just $5.95 — view included at no additional cost.
2375 Sheridan Boulevard, Edgewater
"View" is in the name of the Lakeview, but it's still surprising to find a classic dive with scenery like this. The bar overlooks Sloan's Lake, with the cityscape of Denver beyond, but besides the picturesque vista, this bar is all about cheap, strong drinks, games, and songs from the jukebox. And mark your calendars for the unofficial "sunrise service," when you can watch the sunrise from the bar on the first and last days of Daylight Savings Time.
13714 Poudre Canyon Highway, Bellvue
Best known as a concert venue, the Mishawaka is perched on the banks of the Cache la Poudre River about thirty minutes northwest of Fort Collins. While catching a show here is the most popular way to experience the Mish, heading up for a drink when there's no event on the schedule will give you the chance to enjoy the river view in all its glory — and you'll even be able to score a parking spot that you don't have to hike to.