With so many places to drink in Denver, it’s easy to take your bar hop in the wrong direction. Some spots downtown are so unique you’ll be sad to hear you missed out.
If you’d like to hop your way through the city’s best bars without breaking the bank, be sure to follow Veronica‘s lead.
Grab a drink and a haircut at The Retro Room. The drinks are awesome, happy hour takes place twice daily, and the haircuts are high quality, too. The best part is how vibin’ the employees are. It’s obvious how much fun they have working with such a cool bar concept. You have to try their world-famous pickle shot!
➵ Bar bait: $3 U-Call-Its all day Sunday
Game and drink at The 1up. The throwback décor will send you back in time. Check out their selection of old-school games, or come by for a round of Giant Jenga. They have strong drinks and standard bar food, and the weekday happy hour deals are awesome.
➵ Bar bait: pinball tournaments
Photo credit: The 1up
3. The Refinery
If you like being a bar regular, The Refinery is the spot for you. The bartenders know everyone and are great at what they do. The prices are made for locals, no happy hour needed to catch a good deal. I prefer to sit outside, and I usually find myself ordering a cocktail. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Buzz Button.
➵ Bar bait: delicious food for cheap
Self-serve beer bars are becoming more popular, but First Draft is Denver’s one and only. The massive, ever-changing selection features brews from all over Colorado and the U.S. The price per drink is a bit high, but if you like to sample beer, this is your cheapest bet.
➵ Bar bait: quick service and no lines
Photo credit: First Draft Taproom & Kitchen
This place is always busy, but the bartenders keep up. You might feel a little crowded on the dance floor, but hey, at least there’s usually a live DJ. If you don’t need a seat to have fun, this may well be your new favourite spot. Check out their Facebook page for exclusive discounts.
➵ Bar bait: beer pong
I’d say this bar is more for special occasions. Spend two hours bar crawling with a group you put together. Listen to some tunes and peddle your way through downtown. It would have been nice to have known about the coupon beforehand, but overall it was definitely worth the full fee.
➵ Bar bait: “private” party
If you’re a hungry drunk, plan for a pit stop at Freshcraft. Of all my recommendations, this is the best place for food and the spot with the most locals. Choose from 25 rotating taps (mostly Colorado brewed), wine, and cocktails.
➵ Bar bait: quieter bar experience
Photo credit: Freshcraft
The Ginn Mill has the cheapest drinks downtown…oh, and free popcorn. If you play your cards right, you may even catch a Rockies game. The misleading, historical name actually means local tavern. The atmosphere fits the name, with its laid-back crowd and antique décor.
➵ Bar bait: happy hour deals – $2 Coors draft or well drinks, $3 you-call-its
9. Beauty Bar
If you like the concept behind The Retro Room but aren’t due for a haircut, stop at Beauty Bar instead! The manicures are very affordable and so are the drinks. Only $15 for a manicure and a cocktail.
➵ Bar bait: live DJs
You’ll love the view at the ViewHouse (shocker). It’s more upscale than some of the other bars I’ve mentioned, but the crowd is still casual so no need to dress up. Whether you’re stopping by for a quick drink or sticking around all night, this is the place to be. The prices are awesome and the service is too; the ViewHouse was voted one of America’s Most Popular Bars in 2014.
➵ Bar bait: knowledgeable and friendly staff
Photo credit: ViewHouse Eatery, Bar & Rooftop
11. Hayter’s & Co.
Come for the sports, stay for the prices. Hayter’s is our iconic sports bar. On Rockies game days drink as many beers as you can for 12 bucks. If you have kids, bring them along. The crowd is all ages. But don’t expect a fancy meal, the menu is mostly pub grub.
➵ Crowd pleasers: rooftop seating
12. My Brother’s Bar
Brother’s is the oldest bar in Denver that still operates as a bar. The food and drink menus fit perfectly with the throwback saloon theme. Outdoor and indoor seating, plus you’ll rarely wait for a table.
➵ Crowd pleasers: unique burger selection
Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong. If you have time, try them all! Most are in walking distance. Plus, I’ve built you a map that includes my recommended bar hop order, as well as hours and locations.