While the demand for zero-proof options certainly increases during January, the sentiment of inclusivity and providing choices for those abstaining from alcohol — whether for a night, a month or as a long-term lifestyle choice — prevails year-round. “We as a company strive to make all feel welcome,” says Lindsey Conlon, bar manager at Somebody People.
“A big part of our N/A program is making something enjoyable, inclusive and for everyone,” echoes Honey Elixir owner Jocasta Hanson.
Stuart Weaver, partner and general manager of Lady Jane, adds, “Our non-alcoholic program is just as important to us as our menu cocktails. Our non-alcoholic program is extremely popular, and our guests are always so happy to have serious and composed spiritless options."
Lexi Parker, lead bartender at Poka Lola, agrees. "We try to create N/A offerings for guests that make them feel like they are getting a beverage that's just as complex as one with alcohol," she notes.
While most bars and restaurants these days have at least a few booze-free options, here are our picks for the places that offer both uniquely crafted flavor combinations and a substantial variety of N/A beverages:
4132 West 38th Avenue
This neighborhood eatery always has four N/A cocktails on the menu, in addition to zero-proof wine and beer. Like its boozy offerings, the non-alcoholic menu has something for everyone, from the fruity Pandan Colada over crushed ice, to the invigorating staff favorite, the Supertonic, which started as a hangover cure for lead bartender Jen Longley’s industry friends and became a refreshing booze-free menu staple.
2412 East Colfax Avenue
This compact Colfax spot has a drink menu that is anything but, including eight non-alcoholic offerings, in addition to N/A wines and beer. Flavor and variety abound here, as evidenced in the Max’s Elixir, which combines dark cherry balsamic with lime and sparkling water, resulting in an N/A drink with tang and depth of flavor.
3487 South Broadway, Englewood
Fellow Traveler is a destination in Englewood with a menu that is a journey in and of itself. It includes nine zero-proof cocktail offerings, plus wine and beer. While all are delightful and balanced reprieves from alcohol, the crown jewel and perhaps most interesting of the bunch is the N/Alort, a housemade non-alcoholic version of Malört that “for better or worse" tastes very much like Chicago original, according to owner Joe Phillips.
Honey Elixir Bar
2636 Walnut Street
This serene, hip hangout in the graffiti-lined alley behind Denver Central Market takes a different approach to crafting its N/A cocktails. Instead of utilizing N/A spirits or riffing on classics, Honey Elixir creates five rotating N/A potions with superfoods, fruit and medicinal ingredients. Staff favorite Sweataa Weathaa, for example, is served hot and is a blend of osha root, ginger and apple cider, resulting in a cozy drink that’s also good for you.
2018 10th Street, Boulder
Often stocked with a plethora of fresh juices and tropical fruits, tiki bars are usually well equipped to whip up a variety of island-inspired N/A cocktails, and Jungle in Boulder is no exception. Any of its fourteen classic cocktails can be made non-alcoholic, including the ever-popular N/A Jungle Bird with Seedlip, a housemade N/A Campari, lime and pineapple.
2021 West 32nd Avenue
This picturesque LoHi cocktail spot always has four non-alcoholic cocktails on the menu, but its savvy staff has plenty more up their sleeves if guests want an off-menu N/A experience. The menu offerings highlight non-alcoholic spirits like Lyre’s American Malt and Three Spirits Livener, paired with seasonal syrups. The Persimmon Smash is a unique take, with five-spice, persimmon, lemon and mint; while the Pear-Maple Sour showcases Martini & Rossi Floreale, Seedlip Spice 94, pear, white miso, ginger, maple and lemon.
1400 Pearl Street, Boulder
Pearl Street staple OAK always offers three N/A cocktails, each well-balanced and with a story to tell, like the Nao de Chai, named for the Nao de China trade route between China and Central America. The drink features Cut Above zero-proof mezcal, chai, chipotle, lime and orange.
1850 Wazee Street
This art-deco bar inside the Maven Hotel has both year-round non-alcoholic cocktails and seasonal selections as part of its Poka La La La holiday menu, which is available through January 31. Among the seven N/A cocktail options is the Snoopy-approved A Charlie Brown Christmas, made with chicory, baking spice and ginger beer for a festive winter sip.
5505 West 20th Avenue, Edgewater
This bar located in the middle of Edgewater Market has doubled its non-alcoholic program over the last year. Its current lineup includes ten zero-proof cocktails, in addition to offering NA beers, wines and ciders. Guests can also order anything marked with an asterisk on the regular menu in a non-alcoholic form. Standouts include the Flight School, which blends flavors of plum with an N/A creme de violet and Everleaf Marine; and the Birds of Paradise, a smoky play on a mezcal and overproof rum drink with fresh pineapple and lime.
1165 South Broadway
Somebody People’s vegetable-forward, fun dining experience is mirrored in its non-alcoholic offerings, which include three cocktails as well as N/A beer, sparkling wine, kombucha and fresh pressed juices. The current menu favorite, Apple Stretchin', is served cold, but brings warmth via spiced apple, chai and cinnamon.
- Ace Eat Serve
- The Block Distilling Co.
- Citizen Rail
- The Electric Cure
- Death & Co
- Deviation Distilling
- Dew Drop Inn
- The Night Owls at Prismajic
- Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club
- Point Easy
- Room for Milly
- Rooted Craft Kitchen
- Spice Trade Brewery + Kitchen
- Traveling Mercies
- Williams & Graham