You look like you could use a drink, and we know just where to send you. Denver’s bar scene is back to bustling, which is good news for anyone with a hankering for a pro-made cocktail. Here, 21 of the best bars in Denver to belly up to.Less
Too often in bars, a sophisticated vibe means dark and speakeasy-y. Not so at Jake Soffes’s bars. Capitol Hill’s Hudson Hill, LoHi’s Lady Jane, and now the newest, Union Station’s The Wild, are bright, relaxed, and cool. They’re spots at which you want to sit and stay awhile, as much for the welcoming atmosphere as for the interesting drinks. The Wild’s cocktail menu is divided into Light/Refreshing, Coffee/Tea, Boozy/Spirit Forward, and Classics, and you’ll find surprises in each section.
McGregor Square has quickly established itself as the place to be in the Ballpark neighborhood, and its The Rally Bar has established itself as, well, the place to be within the place to be. If that’s all a little too meta, don’t worry, just focus on the craft beer, beautiful cocktails, and a food menu that includes mini corn dogs and pretzel crusted scotch eggs.
In March, one year after the pandemic made going out to a bar for a drink something we all suddenly stopped doing, this new chic cocktail bar from the Culinary Creative Group (who also own Senor Bear, Bar Dough, and more) opened its doors and reminded us all why we really liked going out to a bar. Exhibit A: Their large format cocktails decked out with colorful garnishes and served in glass goblet with a punch bowl spout—yes, you will need to share with friends.
Another 2021 addition to Denver’s bar scene, the industry vet owners of The L, Adam Hodak and Alex Lerman, took over the space of a former pet food store on Broadway and transformed it into a cocktail destination with neighborhood bar vibes. This place is not only for cocktail snobs, but if you are one, you won’t be disappointed.
Named for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, which legally defined American Whiskey and ensured its quality, you can be sure to find a damn good Old Fashioned here (and for only $6 during happy hour) along with a lineup of top notch craft cocktails with a variety of spirits, best enjoyed on their rooftop patio.
It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone could use a tropical getaway right about now. But you don’t have to go anywhere near the airport to get a taste of vacation life. At this South Broadway tiki bar, the island vibes are immaculate. From tropical classics like mai tais and the macadamia nut chi-chi to original creations like the lychee seventy-five, they’ve got photo-ready cocktails covered.
There’s a lot going on at Ghost Donkey, the spin-off of the now-defunct New York tequila and mezcal bar. Imbibe magazine’s Cocktail Bar of the Year 2020 opened our Denver outpost this past spring, bringing its frisky energy, bright lights, and eponymous donkey with it. The neon explosion of a space whips up original cocktails like the huitlacoche infused margarita and mole spiced negroni. And there are nachos. Lots of nachos.
From the team behind Queens Eleven and Blue Sparrow, this bar on Platte Street opened in late February 2020, right before you-know-what shut it right back down. But despite less than ideal timing, it’s reopened and is just the lush escape we need right now. Based on a fictional character, Milly Parker, whose flapper-era adventures inspired the decadent decor, menu, and vibe, Room for Milly captures the energy of another time and place.
It was big news when one of the world’s most famous bars moved into Denver in spring 2018. A few years and one pandemic later, the hullabaloo has died down and what we’re left with is a stunning space in which to drink some of the city’s tastiest and most imaginative cocktails. While the pages-deep drink menu is fun to explore, don’t skip the almost equally good food menu. (Hello, watermelon tacos and braised pork croquettes!)
Denver’s gotten some great wine bars in recent years—see Attimo Wine, Sunday Vinyl, and Bigsby’s Folly—but Noble Riot is one of the best. Beyond the quirky, lesser-known bottles, the sommelier-owned Riot teaches you all about the juice at Wine School and boasts a fried chicken-filled food menu. Ask the crew about their spirit grapes, because this crew has put a lot of thought into their spirit grapes.