The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

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November 20, 2023

Cheers! Fun is back in full force. Places all over metro Denver are hosting events of all kinds, whether line dancing or a comedy gong show, while also pouring energy into their bar offerings. Although beer-and-shot combos are the new standard, even at some upscale joints, bartenders are getting creative, adding everything from glitter to Cracker Jack and bouillon to cocktails. And the espresso martini is the most popular libation of the moment, as people once again embrace the allure of late nights.

Going out in the Mile High is a choose-your-own adventure filled with options of every kind, and our 100 favorite bar picks include something for everyone. But what you’re sure to find at each is a dose of joy, one drink at a time. So here’s to another year of celebrating with old friends, meeting new ones and embracing all the dives, lounges and new watering holes that make Denver one of the best cities in which to drink up. - By Molly Martin

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Tight End

Tight End
Molly Martin
At Denver’s first gay sports bar, you can watch the game from nine televisions, sip a boozy beverage on the sound-equipped patio, and enjoy a safe space to take in all sports. The drink list has all your sports-bar favorites, such as beer — lots of beer — and shots of liquor and simple mixed drinks. On quiet nights when there aren't any big games, the Tight End also hosts karaoke and drag bingo, which to some are the greatest sports of all.
1501 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80218

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

My Brother's Bar

My Brother's Bar
Molly Martin
Yes, My Brother’s Bar has a fascinating history: The building has held a bar since the 1870s; Neal Cassady hung out here when it was Paul’s Place; and as My Brother’s Bar, it’s survived with no TVs while playing classical music and serving as a neighborhood joint for the whole city. But the most interesting chapter is the current one: After four decades, a longtime employee and her family bought the place from owner Jim Karagas, vowing to keep My Brother’s Bar going. And the Newmans have, without sacrificing any of that historic charm — or changing the condiment caddies that accompany the beloved parchment-wrapped burgers.
2376 15th St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Brewery Bar II

Brewery Bar II
Kenzie Bruce
The original Brewery Bar opened in the old Tivoli brewery and moved to its Kalamath location while Nixon was still in office (hence the II in the name). The bar is decked out with sports memorabilia and is host to a crew of regulars who gather not only for the strong pours and camaraderie, but also for the classic Den-Mex cuisine, including a spicy and tomato-heavy green chile that’s one of the best in town, especially when smothering an order of crispy chiles rellenos.
150 Kalamath St., Denver, 80223

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Ay Papi

Ay Papi
Colleen O'Toole
The Culinary Creative Group is a powerhouse in the local dining scene, and in 2021, it got into the bar game with Forget Me Not, creating a buzzy vibe in a neighborhood that’s not really known for nightlife. Ay Papi, which opened in June 2023, upped the game even more for Cherry Creek with its Latin-inspired atmosphere, rum-heavy drink list and bites like ceviche and Cuban sandwiches.
248 Detroit St., Denver, 80206

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Dirty Duck Bar

The Dirty Duck Bar
From the looks of this friendly neighborhood dive that survived a fire in 2016, it's hard to imagine the place having anything to do with Shakespeare. But the bar's name was actually inspired by a pub in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's old stamping ground. It's a far cry from a traditional pub — Denver's Dirty Duck is more of a low-key sports bar that serves cheap drinks, has Guinness on tap and offers a number of weekly specials. With a slightly older crowd, it’s a nice alternative to the DU bars farther west on Evans Avenue when you’re looking for a laid-back place to sip the hours away.
4780 E. Evans Ave., Denver, 80222

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The British Bulldog

The British Bulldog
The Bulldog’s dark and shadowy space actually looks and feels like an Old English pub — not a nightclub or a cocktail lounge or a fern bar or even the Punch Bowl, which once occupied this spot. It’s a double-barreled shotgun of a room, with the long oak bar on one side and rickety, high-backed wooden booths on the other that are devilishly uncomfortable until you get a couple of drinks in you. Out front, there’s a covered patio just big enough for six smokers to stand without bumping elbows. From the kitchen comes a variety of simple pub dishes, livened up here and there with hints of Indian and Pakistani cuisine.
2052 Stout St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Fellow Traveler

Fellow Traveler
Fellow Traveler
Irreverent. International. Eclectic. Fellow Traveler’s drink menu mirrors the Englewood bar’s panache for quality and quirky vegan fare; weekly specials include fresh margaritas and rotating Taco Tuesday options. You’ll find carrot, cherry, guajillo and avocado adorning the menu, and those are just ingredients for the margs. Mondays are for the Malört flight, a triple dose of the bitter wormwood liqueur native to Chicago. “It is regarded as America’s worst spirit, and I love it,” says co-owner Joe Phillips, who also makes a rich Italian limoncello in-house.
3487 S. Broadway, Englewood, 80113

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

BurnDown

BurnDown
LC Photography
Originally constructed in the 1940s, BurnDown's building previously held a furniture store and a year-round Christmas shop. In May 2023, the space was resurrected as a multi-purpose venue, with an expansive first-floor dining room, a second-floor lounge where a small acoustic stage is located, and a third indoor/outdoor level with a rooftop deck and a hell of a view of downtown Denver and the entire Front Range. All levels look into a showstopping three-story atrium in the center of the building, where a fire once left a gaping hole.
476 S. Broadway, Denver, 80209

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Colorado Pinball Pub

Colorado Pinball Pub
Thomas Mitchell
Pinball isn’t the only draw at this bar that opened in 2020 and is owned by Dan and Holly Nikolich, who started the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown in 2004. It also puts an emphasis on the “pub” part of its name with an impressive collection of over 200 whiskeys, along with beer, cocktails and fun shots. It regularly hosts events like monthly whiskey tastings, live music and themed trivia nights, as well.
6209 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton, 80120

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Stem Ciders

Stem Ciders
Stem Ciders
The city’s cider scene has grown a lot in recent years, but Stem continues to be a leader in innovation. In December 2022, it celebrated the grand opening of its new RiNo taproom, which boasts more space than its original home and a full food menu. Enjoy a flight of ciders that range from fruity to dry while snacking on some bison short rib poutine, or pick up a growler to go and be satisfied for a week.
3040 Blake St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Lakewood Grill

Lakewood Grill
Molly Martin
The Lakewood Grill has been around even longer than the city of Lakewood itself. The bar was built in 1950 and poured its first drinks (officially) in 1951, back when this stretch of West Colfax was just unincorporated Jefferson County. Lakewood became a city in 1969, and the Grill was there for that, too. Over the years, the bar has been through plenty, including a period when the rooms upstairs were used by ladies of the night. There have been various owners over the decades, but the Lakewood Grill has remained a consistent hangout, welcoming neighbors and passersby alike.
8100 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, 80215

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Embassy Tavern

Embassy Tavern
Molly Martin
This bar on a prime corner spot in RiNo is located in a building that started life a century ago as a drugstore, then housed various incarnations before it became Phil's Place in 2002. In 2018, it was taken over by a group of bar pros who changed the name but kept its spirit intact, offering a low-key respite from the trendy neighborhood outside, complete with pinball machines, a spacious back patio and a giant moose head overseeing the action at the bar.
3463 Larimer St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Noble Riot

Noble Riot
Noble Riot
Noble Riot, which opened in 2019, is a different kind of wine bar. The decor includes candles dutifully lit each day by its wonderful staff, along with some of the most stunning maps you’ll ever see showing where wine comes from. And it has plenty of wine to offer, whether you’re up for trying something new or want a great glass of your favorite grape. Plus, patrons can enjoy some of the best fried chicken in the city, which pairs nicely with bubbles.
1336 27th St, Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Run for the Roses

Run for the Roses
Molly Martin
In this subterranean Dairy Block spot, the cocktail roster presented as a deck of cards, the “parlor snacks” and the rows of encyclopedias behind the bar could come across as a little too precious. But owner Steven Waters brings it all together with equal parts fun and sophistication. Find your way into the bar (it’s not a speakeasy; it’s just hard to locate) using the elevator inside Free Market, then peruse the deck for your favorite drink — or just draw blindly for a surprise.
1801 Blake St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Marigold

The Marigold
Kristen Pazulski
After more than two years of delays, local bar pro Sudhir Kudva and his entourage of investors debuted this combo bar and plant shop in Five Points in 2023. Brightly colored floral murals provide a backdrop to plenty of greenery in the space, where you can pick up a new succulent or philodendron after imbibing gin-spiked cocktails.
2721 Welton St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Ok Yeah

Ok Yeah
Jeff Fierberg
The Id Est Hospitality group had a huge 2023, racking up Michelin stars for two of its concepts, Bruto and the Wolf’s Tailor. It also opened a new two-in-one restaurant and bar three floors above Tennyson Street. Hey Kiddo landed on the Michelin recommended list, and its tucked-away back bar, Ok Yeah, epitomizes the group’s focus on two important tenets: being good and being fun. So settle in and just say “yeah” as you let the skilled staff serve drinks tailored to your taste.
4337 Tennyson St., Denver, 80212

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Yacht Club

Yacht Club
Shawn Campbell
Bar pros Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges resurrected Yacht Club — once located inside the Source — next door to Brasserie Brixton in late 2021. The new spot effortlessly mixes high and low with a killer wine list and cocktails alongside a menu of hot dogs, all paired with a vibe that’s still cool enough for a first date. In 2023, their efforts were rewarded when Yacht Club landed on a list of the fifty best bars in North America — news that came as no surprise to anyone who has stepped inside.
3701 Williams St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Horseshoe Lounge

The Horseshoe Lounge
Molly Martin
The Horseshoe Lounge is a powerhouse bar in the Uptown neighborhood with quirky yet tasteful decor, including vintage furniture and a bar top made of thousands of dice. A friendly, motley crew of regulars love the ’Shoe, as they call it, and the joint gets jumping with all sorts of folks venturing in and out of downtown on the weekends. Order a beer and a shot inside along with a pizza from the kitchen, or spend the evening sipping a cocktail on the back patio, the ideal oasis for a smoke and a conversation with a new friend.
414 E. 20th Ave., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Cohesion Brewing Co.

Cohesion Brewing Co.
Sarah Cowell
Cohesion's dark lager poured in the mlíko way.
When this brewery opened in 2021, it brought a special kind of foam on the range. Cohesion brews Czech-style lagers and serves them in a very traditional way: from side-pull Lukr taps, with plenty of creamy foam on top. (The exact amount depends on which style of pour you choose: hladinka, with a thick, creamy head; snyt, with four-finger foam; and the nearly all-foam mlíko.) Plus, the bar itself is striking, with gorgeous tile work serving as a backdrop, and a wood-paneled nook reminiscent of old Europe.
3851 Steele St., Unit 1388, Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Room for Milly

Room for Milly
Molly Martin
Make some room in your life to sample cocktails based on the fictional exploits of Milly Parker in this lusciously decorated bar decked out in deep colors and intriguing artwork. Room for Milly has some of the best bathrooms in the Denver bar scene, with soap you might just be tempted to buy. The drinks are as swoon-worthy as the decor, and there’s a selection of small bites that are just right for snacking before heading out on the town.
1615 Platte St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Family Jones

The Family Jones
With luxurious blue velvet seating and a shiny copper still overhead, this is the most sleek and stylish distillery tasting room around. The finely crafted bottled spirits from the Family Jones are a treat on their own, but they truly shine when you’re sipping them in cocktails crafted by the mad geniuses behind the bar. Pair them with snacks like popcorn in rotating flavors and charcuterie boards with locally made meats.
3245 Osage St., Denver, 80211

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Esters

Esters
Esters Facebook
In 2015, the former Chinook Bar & Grill got a snazzy remodel and opened as Esters, a neighborhood pub that serves nearly two dozen craft beers (most of them local) and a diverse selection of cocktails, along with pizza, nachos and other pub fare. Now with outposts in Park Hill and Wheat Ridge, it’s a favorite for jam band followers, and on game days, Bengals fans gather at the Oneida Park location while the OG in Virginia Vale welcomes fans of the Bills.
1950 S. Holly St., Denver, 80222

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Desert Social

Desert Social
Katrina Leibee
The family behind Adelitas and Ni Tuyo introduced Desert Social in the summer of 2023, bringing Joshua Tree vibes to South Broadway. You won’t go thirsty at this sophisticated spot with a warm, welcoming atmosphere: The bar is pouring a variety of appealing cocktails, including its take on the retro favorite espresso martini and a Blonde Negroni made with prickly pear and orange-blossom gin.
1312 S. Broadway, Denver, 80210

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Hudson Hill

Hudson Hill
Danielle Lirette
This half-coffee, half-cocktail institution somehow manages to be the perfect cozy place on a winter night and an oasis during broiling summer months. No matter the time of year or day, Hudson Hill has something for every visitor. Its rotating specialty cocktails showcase the variety to be found at the bar, which plays music on an actual record player, and its generous happy-hour deals (which are available all day on Sundays) make the spot even sweeter.
619 E. 13th Ave., Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Irish Rover

The Irish Rover
Danielle Lirette
While the number of Irish bars in Denver has dwindled over the years, the Rover is still going strong. Open since 2005, it’s the perfect place to catch a Saturday-afternoon buzz, preferably kicked off with a proper pint of Guinness. On cold winter days, the comfy pub offers refuge, while its rooftop patio beckons when the sun is shining. After a drop of the hard stuff and a cold glass of beer here, good conversations are sure to flow freely.
54 S. Broadway, Denver, 80209

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Lion's Lair

Lion's Lair
Molly Martin
This address has long housed an independent venue — first as the Aladdin Tavern in the ’30s, then as the Playboy Lounge — until Hugh Hefner paid its then-owner $5,000 to change the name. In 1967, the club was purchased by John Lyons, who transformed it into the Lion's Lair. Now its current owners are keeping its legacy alive as one of the best places in town to sip cheap drinks and see live entertainment. This is a living piece of Colfax history that we hope never changes.
2022 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Stoney's Bar and Grill

Stoney's Bar and Grill
Molly Martin
While there’s also a Stoney’s outpost in Uptown, the original is one of our favorite places on game days — or any day. The sprawling bar can accommodate big crowds, and there’s plenty of room to belly up to one of the two bars as well, where you can order Colorado beers on tap. In the front of the house is a ski-lift chair from Keystone, which is fitting, since Stoney’s is an ode to all things Centennial State. There’s also a stage for live music, Skee-Ball and a weird miniature bowling alley.
1111 Lincoln St., Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Charlie's Denver

Charlie's Denver
Sometimes Colfax Avenue is so idiosyncratic that it risks becoming a caricature of itself. For evidence, look no further than Charlie’s, Colfax’s big, gay cowboy bar. Gaze upon the cowboy-boot disco ball that spins and glistens from the ceiling. Don’t miss the translucent machine that blows money (or whatever else) around as dancers — also spinning and glistening — put on a show within. And look to the stage and dance floor for drag queens, bikers and bears, oh, my. Charlie’s truly shines in its inclusiveness.
900 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80218

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Lazy Greyhound

The Lazy Greyhound
Thomas Mitchell
This bar opened in 2021, but you’ll think it’s been there for decades. Leather-bound books and scents of rich wood fill Kristin and Jason Ungate's upscale cocktail bar and lounge, which was modeled after British gentlemen's pubs in the nineteenth century — though the menu is anything but stuffy. Classic drinks such as Sazeracs, Puka Punch and White Russians are expertly made, while new tricks featuring fat-washed vodka and whiskey taste and feel more like dessert than liquor. The Greyhound can fill up quickly and doesn't take reservations, so race there before the sun goes down for a seat on the couch.
2570 Main St., Littleton, 80120

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Bull & Bush Brewery

Bull & Bush Brewery
Evan Semón
Compared to its centuries-old brethren in the United Kingdom, the Bull & Bush Brewery is just a baby, but here in the New World, fifty-plus years is a long time to stay in business. Step inside this dark and cozy English-style pub, though, and you’ll understand its staying power. Now run by second-generation owners, “the pub you’ve been practicing for” (as the motto goes) serves a long menu of England-meets-Colorado comfort food, like French onion soup, bangers and mash, and green chile-smothered mashed potatoes, as well as both innovative and traditional house-brewed beers. There’s also a Scotch list to warm the cockles of your heart.
4700 E. Cherry Creek South Dr., Denver, 80246

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Pete's Satire Lounge

Pete's Satire Lounge
Skyler McKinley
No list of essential Mile High haunts would be complete without a location founded by Pete Contos, the late Greek restaurant magnate. He purchased the Satire sixty years ago, and from its classic neon sign on Colfax to its legendary history (Bob Dylan and the Smothers Brothers both performed here), the Satire Lounge is old Denver through and through, even following a recent update and remodel headed up by Contos’s grandson Alex Barakos. The Satire is a straight-ahead saloon that doesn’t put on airs or follow trends, and the off-kilter assortment of characters who work and drink here wouldn’t have it any other way.
1920 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Matchbox

The Matchbox
Molly Martin
This bar’s name was inspired partly by a fire that gutted the space in 2009, and partly by the fact that it's long and narrow like a matchbox. While the neighborhood has changed a lot since it opened in 2011, Matchbox has remained a reliable place to score infused shots (Baja Blast, anyone?), cheap (in the best way) drink deals and sometimes rowdy crowds (especially during Taking Back Mondays). Walls decked out in local art, a large smoker-friendly patio and a no-bullshit attitude cement the bar’s place in our hearts as one of the best spots to catch a buzz in RiNo.
2625 Larimer St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Wide Right

Wide Right
Molly Martin
This Buffalo Bills bar named for a notorious missed Super Bowl field-goal kick has all the makings of a place that draws in regulars: cheap drinks, tons of events and solid bar food — especially if you like Buffalo classics like pizza logs, beef on weck shots and, of course, wings. Wide Right is also a haven for artists with a punk-rock edge. On any given night, you might find an open mic, comedy or karaoke here. Need to escape the world outside? Drop into the Wide Right: You might find just the kind of party you didn’t know you needed.
2100 Curtis St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Carioca Cafe (Bar Bar)

Carioca Cafe (Bar Bar)
Molly Martin
It’s dirty and grimy and sometimes feels a little dangerous, but that’s all part of the grungy charm of this cash-only dive. Known as Bar Bar thanks to the triangular neon sign outside, the downtown holdout nearly went under when it had to put a pause on live music because of licensing issues in 2022, but now the bands are back — along with the late-night crowds that include an assortment of regulars, artists, hipsters, transients and rockers. The drinks are stiff, the bathrooms awful and the atmosphere beyond compare.
2060 Champa St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

ESP HiFi

ESP HiFi
Evan Semón
Vinyl records line the wall at this hipster spot, where music is a central part of the experience. Influenced by the Japanese kissa, ESP has cozy, almost homey vibes and a menu that offers everything from comforting teas and coffee to highballs and a rotating selection of natural wines. It's a quiet escape room that captures cool without veering into the overly pretentious.
1029 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, 80204

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Neighbors Park Hill

Neighbors Park Hill
Molly Martin
To find a cafe that offers nearly thirty wines by the glass is always a treat. To find those offerings in the congenial and homey locale that is Neighbors is nothing short of wonderful. This Park Hill cafe opened in 2011 and has been embraced not only by the neighborhood, but by diners from all over town looking for a well-curated and unusual wine list. If you’re not a wine drinker, the beer list is smaller but equally interesting, and the cocktails are on point. Add in a selection of small plates and charcuterie, and you’ve got a spot that’s as crowd-pleasing as it is comfy.
2202 Kearney St., Denver, 80207

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Fainting Goat

The Fainting Goat
Molly Martin
This bar is named for the myotonic goats whose muscles stiffen when they’re surprised, causing the animals to occasionally fall over. But don’t expect goat-inspired decor: This is a low-key neighborhood spot through and through, and it delivers stiff drinks in an old building that's held great casual hangouts for decades. A comfortable joint where you can grab a beer and a quick snack or watch a game solo or with a dozen of your new best friends, it also boasts a secluded rooftop patio with a lovely view of the mountains.
846 Broadway, Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Thin Man

The Thin Man
Tony White
The Thin Man emanates a strong gravitational pull from its location on a darkened strand of blocks between Colfax, Uptown and City Park, drawing in drinkers from near and far. Owner Eric Alstad, who is Greek Orthodox, got his priest's blessing before opening the joint in 2001, covering the walls of the narrow space with Christian icons. These days, the patrons are as eclectic as the decor, and just as entertaining. Praise Jesus!
2015 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 80206

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Federal Bar & Grill

Federal Bar & Grill
Ashlee Redger
Micky Manor was a north Denver staple for decades before the dive bar succumbed to the ravages of time in 2011. But the Fed breathed new life into the space in 2013, giving the neighborhood a casual, inviting saloon with a nod to history. The Art Deco bar stretches toward a back room where you can play a game of shuffleboard, while a few comfortable booths in front provide the perfect place to enjoy beer and burgers.
2544 Federal Blvd., Denver, 80211

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Dew Drop Inn

Dew Drop Inn
Molly Martin
Delightful cocktails at the Dew Drop Inn come in some of the best glassware you’ll find around town. That’s just one of the many details, like the tiger-print wallpaper, that set this Uptown watering hole apart. The women-owned bar, operated by the same group that’s behind the Horseshoe Lounge, the Embassy Tavern and more, knows what it’s doing. Pair your drinks with delicious (and gluten-free) fried chicken, stop in for one of its two happy hours, or snag a shot and a beer at any time of day for just $8.
1033 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 80218

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Stadium Inn

Stadium Inn
The “Shade-ium,” as it’s known to most who have crossed its stoop, lives up to its nickname. Even though it’s now in the hands of the Little Pub crew, it remains old-school. Questionable characters and drinks cheap enough to encourage dangerous levels of inebriation are the name of the game here. Its proximity to the University of Denver draws plenty of students when school is in session, and they get plenty of life lessons at the Stadium — namely, the character, feel and benefits of a bona fide dive.
1701 E. Evans Ave., Denver, 80210

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Cooper Lounge

The Cooper Lounge
When Union Station was renovated, the mezzanine was turned into one of the most enchanting bars in town: the Cooper Lounge. With elegant seating areas and a long bar fronted by comfortable stools, it’s a great place to meet up with friends from out of town. But it's also become something of a favorite with locals, particularly on full-moon nights, when you can sit on a barstool sipping a martini and look over 17th Street bathed in moonlight. The view is magical. And you might need to be a magician to secure a spot here: There's sometimes a two-hour wait.
1701 Wynkoop St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Castle Bar and Grill

The Castle Bar and Grill
Molly Martin
The sunken bar inside this castle-shaped building is one of the friendliest spots for imbibing in metro Denver. The vibe is relaxing and unpretentious, as are the patrons. Snag a twenty-ounce personalized mug for $20, good for a lifetime of twenty-ounce pours for sixteen-ounce prices. The fare is simple but tasty, with budget food specials such as 75-cent wings every Thursday and buy-one-get-one-half-off burgers (among the best in town) on Tuesdays. With karaoke, bingo, trivia and chatty regulars of all stripes, you’ll never be bored when you storm the Castle.
6657 S. Broadway, Littleton, 80121

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Welton Room

Welton Room
Kristin Pazulski
This elegant bar originally opened in 2019, serving libations that are as much a show as a drink. The bartenders often use smoking wood chips, whipped foam, liquid nitrogen and other flair to create eye-catching libations. There was just one problem: The bar was on the small side, so in 2022, it expanded, creating the Monkey Lounge at Welton Room, which remains cocktail-focused and adds a new space with a kitchen.
2590 Welton St., #103, Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Pony Up

Pony Up
Mark Antonation
Pony Up’s incredible staff and surprising cocktails make it well worth a trip to LoDo. The neon signs, French bulldog art and references to The Outsiders only add to the perfection at this bar, which is particularly popular with those in the hospitality industry, thanks to its late-night food menu that includes stellar French dips. The Get Crazy & Pony Up shot showcases everything great about this spot, with George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey and an au jus chaser that somehow work perfectly together. We’ll never stop saddling up.
1808 Blake St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

R&R Lounge

R&R Lounge
Sarah McGill
This location has been a bar since the 1950s, when it was known as the Coral Lounge and was considered a "mixed" bar, which is basically what people called an incognito gay bar back then. In the ’70s, the bar was renamed the R&R Lounge, which stood for Rick and Roger, the owners at the time. That’s also when the bar became out and proud. Now it has everything a discerning drunk looks for in a Colfax hole-in-the-wall: cheap drinks, weirdos, a certain level of interior deterioration and a gleaming neon sign complete with martini glass.
4958 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80220

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Stockroom

The Stockroom
The Stockroom
In the back of Spirits Wine Provisions in Olde Town Arvada is a door to an old stockroom. While it may say it’s for staff only, those who enter will be rewarded not with a job, but with access to a ritzy speakeasy with a list of classic cocktails as well as twists on the standards. Not sure what you’d like? Chat up the bartender and get a personalized recommendation.
5713 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 80002

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

City Park Tavern

City Park Tavern
Kristin Pazulski
After reopening in 2020 following three years of reconstruction, the City Park Golf Course is one of the hardest tee times to book in Denver — even the driving range can require a wait. But the bar and outdoor patio, still shiny-new and overlooking the golf course and Denver skyline, always has a seat open. Catch a game on one of several TVs, wait for a spot on the course, or yuk it up with fellow golfers who've just finished their rounds. The beer is cheap, the food is fine and the views are prime, which is much more than a nineteenth hole requires — let alone at a municipal course. Hey, even the city can get something right once in a while.
3181 E. 23rd Ave., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Sink

The Sink
Courtesy of the Sink
After 100 years and multiple changes, the Sink remains one of Boulder’s most quirky and popular taverns, as much for the good deals on booze as for the famous Sink Burger (which first appeared on the menu in the 1950s) and “ugly crust” pizza. History is scrawled across the ceiling and walls in the form of customer autographs and Beat-era paintings. Barack Obama stopped in during his presidency, and Robert Redford was a janitor here for a year before he ever hit the silver screen. Over the decades, the Sink has helped shape Boulder’s image into what it is today.
1165 13th St., Boulder, 80302

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Roxy on Broadway

Roxy on Broadway
Molly Martin
The music never really stopped when Syntax Physic Opera transitioned to the Roxy on Broadway under new ownership in the summer of 2019. Owner Paula Vrakas brightened up the space and added a slate of reasonably priced, retro-inspired classic cocktails to accompany variety shows, comedy, open-mic nights and plenty of live music. Go early if you prefer a tranquil setting, or stay for the entertainment if you need a joyous night out.
554 S. Broadway, Denver, 80209

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Stockyard Saloon

Stockyard Saloon
Sarah McGill
During the annual National Western Stock Show, the Stockyard Saloon — located in a historic building in the heart of the old packinghouse district — is the hottest place in town. But this watering hole is worth a visit the rest of the year, too. The second-floor space offers an interesting view of the rapidly evolving neighborhood as the National Western complex is transformed, and the view inside is usually pretty interesting, too, since cowboys are often rubbing elbows with realtors checking out the area.
4710 National Western Dr., Denver, 80216

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Goosetown Tavern

Goosetown Tavern
Molly Martin
Located across from the Bluebird Theater, Goosetown Tavern draws beer drinkers and music fans from the East Colfax corridor and beyond. After Bluebird owner Chris Swank, who also owns Mezcal next door, bought Goosetown from the Wynkoop Restaurant Group in mid-2014, the bar started hosting live music. It typically has a neighborhood-bar vibe, but the energy picks up post-Bluebird shows with a wide-ranging cast of characters sitting in the big booths or taking a smoke break on the patio along Colfax.
3242 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206

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Death & Co

Death & Co
Danielle Lirette
This NYC-based cocktail institution debuted its second outpost inside the Ramble Hotel in 2018 with a trio of spaces, each of which offers a slightly different experience but equally impressive craft libations. There’s the opulent lobby bar, a second-floor lounge dubbed Suite 6A, and an outdoor space called the Garden, which is open seasonally and lit by a sign that says “Wish You Were Here,” an appropriate sentiment for this envy-inducing escape in RiNo.
1280 25th St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Cruise Room

The Cruise Room
The Cruise Room
The Oxford Hotel echoes with Denver history, back to the days when Bat Masterson relieved himself in the giant urinals in the basement bathrooms. The Cruise Room boasts slightly more recent history: As Prohibition ended, it was designed to look like the lounge on the Queen Mary (hence the name), then got a quick remodel a decade later when the frieze with Hitler’s face — one of a dozen international toasts circling the walls of the bar — was deemed politically incorrect. In the 1960s, it was the headquarters for a group of carousers known as the Evil Companions; in the ’90s, it was discovered by hipsters. Today you’ll find all kinds of passengers hopping aboard bar stools to bask in the red light and down classic martinis.
1600 17th St., Denver, 80202

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El Toro

El Toro
Molly Martin
No bull here, just cheap drinks, great food and friendly regulars who appreciate the Garcia family, which also founded the beloved Mexico City Lounge and is now on a third generation at El Toro. The decor boasts velvet paintings, paneling and an enormous TV in the corner; the menu is slightly less elaborate, featuring basics like greasy fried tacos, beef and bean burritos, and menudo seven days a week. Be prepared: This little joint is cash-only.
4957 Colorado Blvd., Denver, 80216

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The 1UP Arcade Bar - Colfax

The 1UP Arcade Bar - Colfax
Evan Semón
The 1UP has branched out to three locations in the Denver area, but it's the Colfax Avenue location that's closest to our circuit boards. Sure, the longtimers wax poetic about the days when the 1UP hosted live music — and they're right — but we dare you to find a better place for cheap suds, pinball and classic vidya games in Denver. Two-buck cans of beer? Check. The Simpsons arcade game and NBA Jam? Check. Pinball games spanning the 1980s to present day? Check. Put a few dollars into the quarter machine, try to up your score over some Tecates, and keep the change, ya filthy animal. You'll be surprised at how little you spent.
717 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Don's Club Tavern

Don's Club Tavern
Molly Martin
Also known as Don’s Mixed Drinks (because of the wording on the old-school neon sign outside), this is a dive with staying power: It celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2022. Purchased by local bar conglomerate Little Pub Company in 2006, Don’s has retained a certain welcoming “old man’s basement” atmosphere. The secluded smoking patio and Skee-Ball machine are highlights, as is the vending machine dispensing fun packs of such goodies as condoms, burritos, cigarettes, candy and who knows what else. The bar caters to old-timers during the day and is a packed hangout for the younger set at night.
723 E. 6th Ave., Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Lakeview Lounge

Lakeview Lounge
Scott Lentz
While the patio outside the Lakeview Lounge has prime views of Sloan’s Lake, Sheridan Boulevard and the Denver skyline, those who love authentic dives will be more captivated by the view inside. The Lakeview is a weathered, classic saloon that time forgot. Clearly a drinker’s haven in an increasingly upscale area, the dimly lit lounge serves mystery shots in brown paper bags and very stiff, cheap drinks. Regulars throw quips, dice and dollar bills at each other, taking a break to plug the excellent jukebox. For those wanting booze for breakfast, the bar opens at 7 a.m.
2375 Sheridan Blvd., Edgewater, 80214

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Rino Country Club

Rino Country Club
Molly Martin
There are a few reasons why this bar has quickly become one of our favorite spots to pre-game for shows at the Mission Ballroom since it opened in May 2022. First, it has some solid drink specials, making it way more affordable than ordering booze at the music venue. It’s also home to a nine-hole mini golf course, and lifetime memberships are available for just $10. Plus, you can grub at Dalton’s, the walk-up window that slings one of the best burgers in town, a completely crushable meal that you'll be thinking about long after.
3763 Wynkoop St., Denver, 80216

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Molly Brown Distillery

Molly Brown Distillery
Molly Martin
After dealing with pandemic shutdowns and road construction along York Street that made getting inside the building almost impossible, the Molly Brown Distillery has proven to be unsinkable — like its namesake. Those who make the drive to its Gatsby-esque tasting room unexpectedly located in an industrial part of town will be rewarded with bourbon distilled on site from local grains, a lineup of cocktails named for famous women, and — another surprise — one of the best pickle shots in town.
2300 E. 77th Ave., Denver, 80229

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Ephemeral Rotating Taproom

Ephemeral Rotating Taproom
Kristin Pazulski
In 2022, Weston Scott and Shannon Lavelle debuted this concept that takes a different approach to craft beer drinking in Denver. The taproom is a place for beer nerds to dive into beers from around the country without having to leave the city; it hosts a rotating lineup of breweries, one at a time. It’s housed in the former Ben’s Super Market, which began serving the neighborhood in the 1950s, and the old sign still greets guests stopping by for cold beers and camaraderie.
2301 E. 28th Ave., Denver, 80205

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The Crypt

The Crypt
Molly Martin
Metal, mostly meat-free food (along with a damn good meaty burger) and a reverence for death are all on full display at this spot founded by longtime Tooey’s employee Priscilla Jerez and business partners Chris Maynard and Dale Canino in 2022. A destination for live music and late-night revelry, it has a smoking patio out front that’s often filled with people trading stories (and lighters) under the moonlight. Inside, you're highly likely to run into at least a few old friends while grabbing a cocktail from one of two bars.
1618 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 80218

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Beacon

Beacon
Cynthia Griggs
In early 2022, Robert Champion and Mario Nocifera debuted a dance bar/immersive venue inspired by Tulum and Burning Man in the heart of RiNo, and it’s become a late-night haven. The space includes several hubs created by a core crew of a dozen local artists, including a beehive-themed geodesic dome, a garden-like outdoor space, and a bar enveloped in vines and forestry. In 2024, the duo hopes to replicate the magic with a second art-fueled venture in RiNo that will be geared more toward daytime crowds.
2854 Larimer St., Denver, 80205

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The Electric Cure

The Electric Cure
Molly Martin
When an online review tried to dim the glow of this bar by calling it "Satanic," owners and industry vets Lexi Healy and Veronica Ramos embraced the accusation, leaning in with enthusiastic irreverence. All things weird are welcome — and encouraged. Along with a selection of both tiki and other libations, expect the unexpected: Odes to Jeff Goldbum? Penis-shaped totems? Bartenders wearing shark heads? It’s all fair game.
5350 W. 25th Ave., Edgewater, 80214

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The Block Distilling Co.

The Block Distilling Co.
Molly Martin
Everything just feels right when you visit the tasting room at this RiNo distillery. That’s because it’s focused on doing things the right way, from how it sources ingredients and crafts its spirits to its sustainability practices and commitment to giving back through a partnership with Nathaniel Rateliff’s nonprofit, the Marigold Project. Plus, the bartenders here know how to have fun with a cocktail, whether you’re sipping a gin-based concoction spiked with bouillon or a whiskey libation flavored with sweet corn.
2990 Larimer St., Denver, 80205

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Hops & Pie

Hops & Pie
Hops & Pie
Hops & Pie opened in 2010; ever since, it’s been a go-to for beer lovers thanks to its long, ever-rotating tap list and lots of special hop-fueled events. In 2023, it debuted a new, expansive patio, which is an ideal place to settle in with a cold one and a slice of sourdough-crust pizza — which it serves in several styles, including Detroit — or its stellar sandwiches of the week.
3920 Tennyson St., Denver, 80212

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PS Lounge

PS Lounge
Kristin Pazulski
The PS Lounge is a throwback like no other. The cash-only bar still looks and feels straight out of the ’80s, which is when it opened. Owner Pete Siahamis calls it a “girls’ bar” and makes sure every woman who crosses the threshold gets a single rose and a syrupy-sweet Alabama Slammer shot. It’s a go-to pre-game location for people getting ready to hit the Colfax bars or heading to the Bluebird for a show. But the PS Lounge is also the perfect spot for a long chat with old friends — and a good place to make new ones.
3416 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206

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TRVE Brewing

TRVE Brewing
Danielle Lirette
TRVE Brewing opened in June 2012 in a long, skinny space on Broadway that was the former home of an art gallery. Although everyone here is friendly, the layout gives the place a dark and divey feel, which is just fine with owner Nick Nunns, who names all of his beers after black-metal bands or songs and plays black-metal music most of the time. Heating up the place, though, is the Denver outpost of Music City Hot Chicken, which serves incendiary sandwiches and tenders out of the kitchen in the back.
227 Broadway, Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Owl Saloon

The Owl Saloon
Molly Martin
An ode to Colorado’s mountain bars, the Owl is packed with treasures, from license plates to the old maps that sit under the bartop glass to the sign from the former Sid King’s strip club. Look up and you’ll see a collection of dollar bills, à la the now-closed Bucksnort Saloon. Settle in for a mystery shot, a cold beer and bar grub from the lineup offered, including loaded tots, sandwiches and pizza. The bar also regularly hosts karaoke and offers day drinking (aka brunch) on weekends.
5026 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80220

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Occidental

Occidental
Mark Antonation
When owner Sean Kenyon grabbed the address next to his award-winning speakeasy, Williams & Graham, and prepared to install a more casual neighborhood bar, he wondered if Occidental would mostly function as a waiting room for its sibling, which sometimes sees waits of three hours. Several years later, he has his answer: This bar has an identity and a following all its own. Occidental’s punk-rock vibe and open seating have made it a neighborhood mainstay, a casual place to get an excellent cocktail or a beer without pretense.
1950 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, 80211

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Dougherty's

Dougherty's
Danielle Lirette
You can consider Dougherty’s a semi-Irish pub, one that’s catered to all in the Baker neighborhood for over fifteen years. It’s also home to hammerschlagen, a game involving a tree stump, hammer and nails — not the safest bar game ever devised, but a damn fun one. The drinks are strong, there are daily happy-hour specials, and when the time comes for soaking up that firewater, Dougherty’s also has an excellent pub kitchen and a nice dining room separated from the bar.
5 E. Ellsworth Ave., Denver, 80209

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Charlie Brown's Piano Bar & Grill

Charlie Brown's Piano Bar & Grill
Mark Antonation
Colorful characters from Denver’s past are rumored to have bellied up to the bar at Charlie Brown’s, which has been open since Prohibition ended. A sprawling spot filled with the music of nightly piano sing-alongs, it lives up to its slogan: “Something for everyone.” Couples, friends, tourists, young professionals, senior citizens, college kids and even celebrities enjoy the stiff drinks, huge food menu, enclosed smoking patio and free drinks for revelers celebrating their birthdays. Here’s hoping the drinks will flow long into the future at this Denver landmark.
980 Grant St., Denver, 80203

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Brewability

Brewability
Joseph Hogel
Brewability, which employs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to brew and serve beer, got its start in 2016 and moved into its current home three years later, adding a food menu that includes pizza and mac and cheese. The brewery's commitment to supporting its employees is impressive, and easy to admire while hanging out in a welcoming space that includes both indoor and outdoor seating as well as fun events like Tarot Thursdays.
3445 S. Broadway, Englewood, 80113

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

hi-dive

hi-dive
Courtesy of the hi-dive
The bars at these conjoined spaces are two sides of the same coin — both a little worn and gritty, but still good for quick shots or planting yourself for the long haul. Since 2003, the hi-dive has been a refuge from crass commercialism and bland bars catering to the masses. Cheap, stiff drinks and a revolving door of creative talent have kept the music venue ahead of the game. Sputnik, on the other hand, offers a mid-century vibe, along with plenty of meatless fare.
7 S. Broadway, Denver, 80209

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Middleman

Middleman
Molly Martin
Middleman is the epitome of new-school cool on Colfax. The bar staffers are some of the best in town, and they’re not afraid to get playful with both their service and their cocktails. But you’ll be equally satisfied here if you prefer to sip on a cold Montucky or pound beer-and-shot combos. Making this stop even better is Misfit Snackbar, which took over the food program in late 2019 and continues to serve some of the most creative and delicious eats in town.
3401 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80204

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Bierstadt Lagerhaus

Bierstadt Lagerhaus
Molly Martin
Ashleigh Carter and Bill Eye opened this brewery in 2016. It specializes in lager beers, including three core brews: its helles, its dunkel and — perhaps the most lauded beer in Colorado — its Slow Pour Pils. But beyond Bierstadt’s propensity for making some of the best craft beers in the state, it’s also housed in an expansive space that regularly hosts large events, pop-ups, games and trivia, while also offering plenty of corners to tuck into for an intimate experience.
2875 Blake St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Fort Greene

Fort Greene
Courtesy of Fort Greene
Tucked away in Globeville in a space that looks totally unassuming from the outside, this bar is a cool and quirky secret escape filled with plants and mismatched furniture. Before Fort Greene debuted in 2015, the address was home to divey favorite Crash 45, and before that the White Owl, and before that the Portulaca Cafe, a Slavic speakeasy. This incarnation has a well-worn charm that’s made it a go-to spot for artists, musicians and other members of Denver’s creative class.
321 E. 45th Ave., Denver, 80216

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Campus Lounge

Campus Lounge
Molly Martin
Bonnie Brae is a neighborhood that’s seen a lot of changes in recent years, with the loss of the Bonnie Brae Tavern and the Saucy Noodle, but Campus Lounge remains — even after a number of ownership changes. It was founded by the late Jim Wiste (a retired pro hockey player and DU Pioneers alum) five decades ago, and hockey fans still gather here on game days, drinking beer and enjoying classic bar fare done right, from the smoked wings to a Friday night steak special.
701 S. University Blvd., Denver, 80209

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Nob Hill Inn

Nob Hill Inn
Eric Gruneisen
The Nob Hill Inn has been a drinker’s paradise for more than fifty years; it’s daunting to think of all the people who have spent hours on the stools here. This is the kind of joint where it’s easy to lose track of time...for decades. The square-shaped bar makes for easy people-watching, and with some of Colfax’s finest camping out here, it’s usually entertaining as hell. If Bukowski were still alive, this might be his idea of nirvana.
420 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Honor Farm/Hell or High Water Tiki

Honor Farm/Hell or High Water Tiki
Honor Farm
The team behind the Electric Cure debuted Honor Farm in 2022, embracing the building’s ghoulish reputation as one of the most haunted spaces in the city. It’s also named after a place with its own dark past — a farm in Pueblo that was once part of the Colorado State Insane Asylum. Upstairs on the mezzanine level is a small tiki-centric hideaway with a big personality, themed after a haunted gay pirate ship. Expect plenty of penis totems plus an intimate party vibe that's unmatched in the metro area.
1526 Blake St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Candlelight Tavern

Candlelight Tavern
Molly Martin
The Candlelight Tavern is a friendly neighborhood bar, beloved by residents of all stripes in the Wash Park area. Once a seedy, smoky dive, the place has been spruced up over the years, with a notable overhaul in 2013. Consistency and simplicity are key here: You can count on no-frills, tasty pub grub, including one of the best no-frills burgers in town. The warm glow of the Candlelight’s vintage sign still illuminates the way to one of Denver’s oldest and best bars.
383 S. Pearl St., Denver, 80209

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

715 Club

715 Club
Molly Martin
In 2016, bar pros Corey Costello, Sudhir Kudva and Michael Reilly resurrected this long-vacant Five Points joint that was originally owned by Charles Cousins. The 715 was in its prime in the 1940s, and closed in the ’80s after becoming a run-down shell of its former glorious self. Now it’s an appropriately divey neighborhood bar that often draws a more lively crowd when there are shows at Cervantes’ across the street. The patio also doubles as a pickup window for one of the city’s best slices, at Famous Original J’s.
715 26th Ave., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Englewood Grand

Englewood Grand
Evan Semón
Phil and Erika Zierke opened an instant classic when they invited guests into the Englewood Grand in March 2016. Community remains a focal point here, so you’ll often stumble into fundraisers or groups of health-care workers from the nearby Swedish Hospital complex. In 2022, they added an equally welcoming watering hole near DU that’s got all the same bare-bones charm — but no name. You’re likely to find Phil behind the bar at one of the two spots, and he’s skilled at both bar banter and shaking up any classic cocktail you’re craving.
3435 S. Broadway, Englewood, 80113

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Finn's Manor

Finn's Manor
Courtesy Finn's Manor Facebook
This indoor/outdoor craft-cocktail bar built on the grounds of an old salvage yard has a dedication to quality without the accompanying attitude. One of Denver’s top temples of mixology, there’s almost always a bowl of punch on special, and the tap list is a continuing exploration of rare beer styles. While summer nights are prime time for hanging out and grabbing grub from rotating food trucks under the stars, winter months give guests a chance to explore the deep list of rum, whiskey and other spirits.
2927 Larimer St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Bar Nun

Bar Nun
Molly Martin
The former Capitol Hill Tavern was resurrected in 2020 when Bar Nun opened in that space, with irreverent decor (think a painting of Jesus with Juggalo face paint and plenty of nun imagery) and a friendly staff that will make you feel like a regular immediately. Whether you’re pounding pickle shots on the enclosed patio or pairing a cold beer with hot wings and pizza at the bar, this spot is a casually cool addition to the neighborhood.
1225 Logan St., Denver, 80203

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Thank Sool Pocha

Thank Sool Pocha
Lucy Beaugard
This hopping spot filled with people speaking both Korean and English is just plain fun. While it’s often filled with families digging into meals during the early evening hours, as the night grows later they’re supplanted by groups of all ages focused on knocking back tiny glasses of soju and enjoying everything from steamed sea snails and cow-stomach barbecue to mix-your-own rice balls, kimchi pancakes and Korean fried chicken. All of it is served in a lively, convivial atmosphere that's so comfortable, you'll feel like a treasured regular by the time your check arrives.
2222 S. Havana St., Aurora, 80014

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Meadowlark

Meadowlark
Evan Semón
Owner Loy Merck opened this charming dive bar in 2006, and the Meadowlark has been a popular hangout ever since. To get to the bar, you have to go underground, where shots of cheap whiskey can be ordered without judgment. Outside, there's a patio with a large stage and outdoor bar, perfect for the weekly concerts, DJ sets and live shows that the venue hosts. Grab a slice of pizza from the Redeemer window next door, and enjoy a lowbrow night reminiscent of Denver in the early 2000s.
2701 Larimer St., Denver, 80205

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Dive Inn

The Dive Inn
Evan Semón
The Dive Inn has definitely made its mark on Platt Park since taking over the BJ’s Carousel space in 2012. The decor — which includes an actual motorboat as seating — adds to the upbeat spirit of this neighborhood joint. Dogs love the patio, the bar stocks 99 types of tequila, and drink specials are all-day affairs. With activities ranging from ping-pong and pool to cornhole leagues, there’s never a dull moment at this casual spot.
1380 S. Broadway, Denver, 80210

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Boombox Brew Bar

Boombox Brew Bar
Boombox Brew Bar
For a decade, Northsider Luke Sandoval was a truck driver, delivering booze for a local liquor and wine distribution company and dreaming about being on the other side of the business. In 2022, he brought that vision to life with this neighborhood bar outfitted with a pour-your-own beer wall, solid pub fare, brightly colored street-art murals and a high-energy playlist stacked with ’80s and ’90s hip-hop and R&B. Boombox also hosts weekly events including karaoke and music trivia nights.
5686 Pecos St., Denver, 80221

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Town Hall Collaborative

Town Hall Collaborative
Molly Martin
Best friends Lauren Beno and Denise Day long dreamed of creating a safe space where women, BIPOC and queer communities 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.
525 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, 80204

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Tatarian

Tatarian
Andi Whiskey
The Tatarian, which comes from the owners of another cocktail heavy hitter, Union Lodge No. 1, is an homage to the Berkeley neighborhood’s past, when property buyers would receive a shade tree as a gift from the city; you'll still see Tatarian maples standing proudly in the area. The cocktails here incorporate specific liquors, liqueurs, bitters and glasses to remind imbibers of oak, cypress, sequoia and Hawaiian banyan trees. The Scotch and whiskey list is extensive and surprisingly affordable given the neighborhood; we recommend pursuing that list before drifting to something sweeter, like the sloe-gin-based Baobab.
4024 Tennyson St., Denver, 80202

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Golden Moon Speakeasy

Golden Moon Speakeasy
Golden Moon Distillery
In 2007, when the U.S. government finally allowed absinthe to be made and sold in this country, distiller Stephen Gould was ready. By 2008, his hobby had become Golden Moon Distillery, which has since expanded to an eclectic lineup of liqueurs. In 2014, this tasting room that doubles as a destination for classic cocktails opened in downtown Golden, in an alley just off the main drag. All of the booze on the back bar comes from the distillery, which is located across town, and the skilled bar staff excels at showing it off in a variety of libations.
1111 Miner's Alley, Golden, 80401

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

WestFax Brewing

WestFax Brewing
WestFax Brewing
When this brewery debuted in 2016, it had a pretty infamous neighbor: Casa Bonita. Now that looming pink palace is back and pinker than ever, following its reboot from new owners Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame. But through all the reopening hoops people are jumping through to get in next door, WestFax has remained a solid spot to grab some beers and take in the new energy surrounding this area of town.
6733 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, 80214

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The L

The L
Molly Martin
Launched by veteran Denver barmen Adam Hodak and Alex Lerman in early 2021 after many pandemic-related delays, the L is a straightforward, low-key place to get a damn good drink. There’s no food on site (though there’s plenty to be found nearby), and the cocktail list is smartly succinct — but every single option is a winner, from the mezcal-spiked Old Fashioned to the throwback espresso martini and the brightly hued, rum-based Whirly Dirly.
46 Broadway, Denver, 80203

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Mozart's Denver

Mozart's Denver
Molly Martin
In the 1800s, the original Mozart Hall was a social center and bar for German immigrants downtown. The bar, including the sign, moved to the Mayfair neighborhood in 1955. The Mo, as it’s known to regulars, was a favorite for decades before being rebranded as the Aqua Lounge for a time. But in 2016, new owners restored the name and the glowing neon sign, which beckons people to come inside for heavy pours and weekly events like line dancing on Wednesdays and popular karaoke nights on Thursdays and Sundays. Rock me, Amadeus.
1417 Krameria St., Denver, 80220

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

The Brutal Poodle

The Brutal Poodle
Molly Martin
How do poodles and heavy metal mesh? The unlikely combo somehow works at the Brutal Poodle, opened in early 2018 by Wes Moralez, Ryan Oakes and David “Yosh” Yoshikawa, members of Denver band Son Survivor. Beyond the goofy, dog-themed art on the walls and the (just loud enough) tracks pumping from the sound system, good food and a classic sunken bar beckon the faithful. Loaded tots, great green chile and outrageous metal-inspired specials keep bellies full, the better to soak up rounds of unpretentious drinks and Colorado beers. This poodle’s bite is as good as its bark.
1967 S. Broadway, Denver, 80210

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

TrashHawk Tavern

TrashHawk Tavern
Molly Martin
Beer-and-shot combos, Montucky cans, Malört and "trash charcuterie" (aka Lunchables) are on the menu at TrashHawk Tavern, which opened in October 2021 in the former home of Alternation Brewing Company. In this era of craft cocktail bars, it’s a refreshingly low-key addition to Overland that’s become a neighborhood go-to for game days, trivia nights and conversations with strangers over a cigarette on the back patio. Stay trashy.
1539 S. Broadway, Denver, 80210

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Kentucky Inn

Kentucky Inn
Mark Antonation
The Kentucky Inn reopened in December 2017, after a five-month remodel.
The Kentucky Inn, one of the oldest bars in the West Wash Park neighborhood, closed in July 2017 for a remodel and the installation of a new kitchen. Inside, decades of cigarette-smoke stains were scrubbed away, new floors and wood paneling were installed, and a billiards room was added at the back. The original Kentucky Inn never had much of a kitchen, but the expansion brought a menu of bar favorites and a few Southern specialties to match the Kentucky theme, including the award-winning KY Cuban.
890 S. Pearl St., Denver, 80209

The 100 Best Denver Bars We Can't Live Without

Wolf + Wildflower

Wolf + Wildflower
Wolf + Wildflower
Just inside this wine bar that debuted in the summer of 2023 is a neon sign with the Tom Petty lyric "You belong among the wildflowers." The women-run Wolf + Wildflower is owned by longtime friends Sarah Galloway and Tamara McTavish, whose husband is the owner of Rocky Top Tavern, a bar with totally different vibes. Here the two women have created a welcoming space, with feminine touches and a patio that’s prime for people-watching in the neighborhood.
7190 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 80033