Esquire Names Yacht Club One of the Best Bars in America | Westword

Hot Dogs and Natty Wine Are a Hit: Esquire Names Yacht Club One of the Best Bars in America

This Cole neighborhood watering hole continues to rack up awards.
Natural wine, cocktails and hot dogs are all on the menu at Yacht Club.
Natural wine, cocktails and hot dogs are all on the menu at Yacht Club. Shawn Campbell

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"This is our eighteenth edition of the list, and in all my years of bar crawls, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much spirited originality — as many bars that make you say, 'So strange, yet so awesome,'" reads the intro to Esquire's 2023 edition of the Best Bars in America.

Is it a little strange to pair hot dogs with natural wine and excellent cocktails at a bar located in a relatively quiet north Denver neighborhood? Maybe. But is Yacht Club, located at 3701 Williams Street, a pretty awesome example of mixing high and low for an experience that's both memorable and welcoming enough to become a regular go-to? Definitely.

And the experts continue to agree. The bar, which debuted next door to Brasserie Brixton in December 2021, is having a hell of a year. Last June, it was named one of four U.S. finalists for Best New U.S. Cocktail Bar at the 2022 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. In April, it nabbed the Best of Denver 2023 editor's pick for Best New Bar. In May, it landed at number 42 on this year's list of the 50 Best Bars in North America.
Yacht Club seamlessly mixes high and low.
Shawn Campbell
And now it's one of 33 bars on Esquire's list. That's an honor only a handful of other local watering holes have nabbed over the years.

In 2021, wine bar Noble Riot appeared among the honorees. The now-closed Shelby's Bar & Grill and Sean Kenyon's Occidental both got spots in 2016. A decade ago, Ship Tavern at the Brown Palace and Kenyon's Williams & Graham speakeasy made the first Denver splash in Esquire.

Kenyon, in fact, played an instrumental role in bringing Yacht Club owners Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges moving to Denver a decade ago. Their introduction to the Mile High was a long session at the original Squeaky Bean, where Kenyon worked at the time. "It was a life-changing night," Wright told Westword. "We went home and packed our stuff and moved to Denver. Sean's been such a big part of welcoming us."

Looking for more places to imbibe? Check out our list of the 100 Bars We Can't Live Without in 2023. Yes, it includes Yacht Club.
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