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Locals’ 6 Favorite Bars in Denver

Grab a cocktail or a cold one at one of these Denver watering holes.

U.S. News & World Report

Locals’ 6 Favorite Bars in Denver

Close up of bourbon in glasses in a row on bar

Locals share the best places to help you navigate the vast Denver bar scene.(Getty Images)

Denverites love to work hard – and play hard. So it's no surprise the city is full of a growing number of breweries, pubs, cocktail lounges and sports bars where locals can grab an after-work cocktail or a frosty brew.

Visitors will have no trouble finding a great bar within walking distance in almost any Denver neighborhood. The real challenge is finding a great place to post up for a special event, like a Sunday afternoon football game, or to indulge in the perfect cocktail, whether it's a well-crafted Old Fashioned or a dirty martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives.

To help travelers navigate the Denver bar scene, local experts shared their favorite places around town to imbibe and unwind.

The Fire Lounge

The Fire Lounge in Denver.(Courtesy of the ART Hotel)

Encased in floor-to-ceiling windows on the fourth floor of the Art hotel in Denver’s Golden Triangle district is the contemporary Fire Lounge and adjoining rooftop terrace, where Ashley Taufen, communications manager with the Visit Denver tourism board, likes to go to “check out the public art collection and art-themed cocktails.”

Taufen recommends trying the Jackson Pollock, a rosemary-infused gin cocktail with muddled strawberries and a splattering of balsamic reduction syrup around the rim of the glass to mimic the abstract expressionist artist's famous painting style.

The Fire Lounge is an ideal place to wrap up a day spent exploring the Golden Triangle’s many cultural offerings. A special Social Hour menu is offered daily from 3 to 6 p.m.

Union Lodge No. 1

Tucked away on a quiet side street near the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver, the historic Union Lodge No. 1 pays homage to pre-Prohibition mixology (a golden era for cocktails), offering a selection of hand-crafted concoctions that use small-batch spirits and an array of fresh ingredients and garnishes.

“I love Union Lodge because it’s off the beaten path,” says Joern Howind, concierge at the Four Seasons Denver Hotel. “All the drinks they make are American classics, and it has a really cool atmosphere.”

Pull up a leather bar stool in this saloon-styled space and watch in awe as the bartender builds your cocktail of choice with finesse – perfect for an after-dinner nightcap.

Punch Bowl Social

Punch Bowl Social.(Courtesy of Amber Boutwell)

Denver’s South Broadway neighborhood is brimming with bars and restaurants, but anchoring it all is Punch Bowl Social, whose lightbulb marquee you can spot from blocks away. Recommended by Sheila Gargan, concierge at The Westin Denver Downtown hotel, this lodgelike space houses a 360-degree bar, a massive faux granite fireplace surrounded by leather couches and Victorian-inspired wingback chairs for lounging, and an array of social activities from bowling to shuffleboard.

“South Broadway is really happening right now,” Gargan says. “This is a fun place where you can have a punch bowl served at your table and play games.”

In other words, there’s something for everyone, making it a local favorite for meeting up with friends. Thanks to the diverse crowd it draws, the “PBS” can also be a great place to meet new people.

Cooper Lounge

Cooper's Lounge.(Courtesy of Denver Union Station)

The newly revitalized Union Station has become a popular hub for dining, entertainment and nightlife thanks to the addition of several top-notch bars and restaurants, including the posh Cooper Lounge at the Crawford Hotel.

Concealed on the mezzanine level of the hotel overlooking the bustling terminal and offering a selection of craft beers and Colorado-made spirits, Cooper Lounge is one of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's favorite bars, who calls it “a great social environment for a nice cocktail.”

Here, guests can order drinks while sitting at a bar or lounging on white leather couches and tufted armchairs. This service-oriented spot is the perfect place to impress a date or, according to Taufen, “a good spot for a drink before or after dinner.” But be prepared to wait if you don’t have a reservation.

Infinite Monkey Theorem

Infinite Monkey Therom.(Courtney of Pierce)

Boasting one of the best patio spaces in the RiNo (short for River North) neighborhood, this “urban winery” serves wine on tap behind the “taproom” counter, just like many of the city’s beloved craft breweries. Although the only option besides wine is a hard cider, the Infinite Monkey Theorem is a local favorite for its fun atmosphere. The space channels the artsy energy of its surrounding neighborhood and fosters a community environment by hosting group events, live music, food trucks and yoga classes.

Michael Schmidt, tour concierge at the Crawford Hotel, highly recommends the winery for its “fantastic patio” and “wine on tap.”

Grab a bottle of cabernet franc to share with friends at the outdoor picnic tables, swing by to sample the delicious rose wine slushy when it’s available during the warmer months or grab a growler of wine to go. One-hour tour and tastings are offered Friday through Sunday and cost $25 per person.

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen.(Courtesy of Euclid Hall)

Best known for having an extensive beer selection and a gourmet pub menu created by Top Chef Masters contender Jennifer Jasinski, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen also offers a large, cozy place to saddle up and sample local spirits.

Howind, who is German and very fond of European-style beers, recommends Euclid Hall for its menu of “unique beer cocktails.” As a nod to the nearby Auraria campus, which houses three universities, Euclid Hall offers a discounted Study Hall menu from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.

To experience more of what Denver has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

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