Best of Denver

The Ten Best Dive Bars in Metro Denver — Fall 2016

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6. Nob Hill Inn
420 East Colfax Avenue
303-860-7557

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, killing time and waiting for the day to end. But this is also the kind of joint where it’s easy to lose track of time. The square-shaped bar makes for easy people-watching, and with some of Colfax’s finest camping out here for much of the day and night, it’s usually entertaining as hell. If Bukowski were still alive, this might be his idea of nirvana. And for a dive, the bathrooms have very cushy toilet paper.

7. PS Lounge
3416 East Colfax Avenue
303-320-1200

Like most great dive bars in this town, the PS Lounge is a place we’d never want to see in the daylight — but at night, the Lounge commands a special place in our bar-loving hearts. The place has its quirks: The cash-only establishment won’t let you keep a running tab, for instance. But where else would the bar owner — Pete, in this case — send you a round (or two) of Alabama Slammers, a sweet, day-glo-orange concoction made of sloe gin, SoCo and orange juice that tastes more like Tang, just to show his appreciation for your patronage?

8. Sam’s Bar & Lounge
6801 Leetsdale Drive
303-322-6401
While hipsters have discovered many of Denver’s iconic bars, we’re betting you won’t find a single hipster at Sam’s Bar & Lounge, a watering hole that opened on Leetsdale Drive 62 years ago. You won’t find any wi-fi, either; as one message on the bar’s chalkboard urges, “Talk to each other and get drunk.” That’s not hard, especially if you sit at the big four-sided bar — there are a few comfy booths, too — and chat it up with the bartender, who pours stiff, inexpensive drinks. As so much of old Denver dries up, the neon sign of Sam’s shines like a beacon, earning top honors in the Best of Denver 2016. Raise a glass to the 10 Best Dive Bars in Denver right now.
9. Twins Inn
5201 Ralston Road, Arvada
303-422-2786

The Twins Inn is as bare-bones as it gets — with a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since 2011 and no website — but the space is clean, the jukebox is good and the beer is cold. It’s been pouring beer on this corner since 1961, and as Ryan S. says, “It’s a place where everybody knows your name but will give the police officer an alias when questioned.”
10. White Horse Bar
5130 West Alameda Avenue
303-935-2656
The White Horse Bar has been pouring since the '20s — and it looks it. The current owners bought it in 1974 and have made relatively few improvements. An obsolete dance floor in the middle of the room is surrounded by dingy floral carpet, and many of the theme-keeping white-horse statues, paintings and plaques are permanently stained yellow. While the red/green/yellow twinkle lights strung along the booths and the neon-backlit glass bricks below the bar are wonderful touches, our favorite detail is the Coors poster hung on the wood paneling behind the corner stool: It shows an apron-clad E.T. wiping up a spotless bar with a rag and this message: "If you go beyond your limit, please don't drive. 'Phone Home.'"

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