The Best Bars in Denver

Colorado’s microbrew scene is so strong that it’s resulted in a goofy nickname, Foam on the Range. Which is not to say that the Mile High City’s craft cocktails aren’t worth seeking out, too. With Denver’s plethora of distilleries, wineries, and brewpubs, you won’t go thirsty while visiting.

2376 15th Street
Beat writer Jack Kerouac fell in love with Denver after a visit (he eventually bought a home in Colorado), and Sal, the lead character in On the Road, travels to the city a few times. The free-spirited character Dean Moriarty was based on the real-life Neal Cassady, who frequented My Brother’s Bar, the oldest continuously operating watering hole in Denver. My Brother’s Bar keeps a low profile—a super-basic website and no sign on the door. Inside you’ll find a letter Cassady sent to a friend asking to cover his tab. This spot is also a good place to grab a burger and beer, and—during Girl Scout Cookies season—a box of thin mints.
1925 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202, USA
Inspired by Brooklyn’s Barcade and Portland‘s Ground Kontrol, The 1up is Denver’s take on an arcade bar. Stocked with 15 pinball machines, 3 skeeball lanes, giant Jenga sets and 45 classic arcade games including Donkey Kong, Frogger, Pac Man, NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat, The 1up is a dream for grown-ups that refuse to grow up. Make sure to bring a stash of quarters as the game prices haven’t grown up either (.25 cents for arcade and skeeball games, .50 for pinball machines).
4700 Cherry Creek S Dr
It’s a bright, sunny Sunday morning in Denver. We’re too relaxed to pack the car to head into the mountains. We don’t much feel like heading out on the bikes. The Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, and Avalanche are all out of town. So what do we do? We head down to the Bull & Bush for some beer – and a side of breakfast. Bull & Bush is a local favorite that few outsiders know about, according to our hostess (When I hear things like this, I tend to believe it for as long as possible, so not to upset the delicate balance of travel mystery). I set upon perhaps the best eggs Benedict I have ever had, and wash them down with a hearty stout and a punchy IPA. It is the best breakfast I can remember having in a long, long time.
1600 17th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA
It’s rumored that Stephen King was inspired by this moody deco landmark when he wrote about the hotel bar in The Shining. The Cruise Room in the historic Oxford Hotel is an authentic post-Prohibition bar with its original chrome and neon, drenching the walls with a stirring pink hue. Score a booth, select a Louis Armstrong tune on the free jukebox that actually plays records, order a dirty martini, or three, or four. If you drink enough, you may see Jack Nicholson perched at the bar.
5450 N Valley Hwy, Denver, CO 80216, USA
Ready to kick up your boots? Head out to this quirky country-western club off I-25 north of downtown Denver. With live bands and line dancing, as well as dollar beer nights, ladies’ nights, and other diversions packing the calendar, this honky-tonk aims to please. Free dance lessons are offered on Wednesdays, and every Sunday the joint becomes an all-ages venue—meaning, bring the kids along and embarrass them with your dancing “skills”! Refuel after tearing up the dance floor with some brisket or pulled pork from the kitchen.
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