The Best Bars in Denver
You know what’s fun? Alcohol.
Denver is the perfect choice for your next adventure and Ember Hostel is the most righteous spot to call home while you visit. Dang friend, you are making some great choices. We applaud you!
Now…onto bad choices…like drinking. Everyone does it. Yet, no one does it better than Denver. Beer has been part of Colorado’s history since the first Pueblo Indians made their own corn brew. The thirst continued through the gold rush and eventually led to our first beer brewery opening in 1859. (Fun tip: The brewmaster’s house is a National Register landmark, which you can still visit.)
But, Colorado does not discriminate. We also have over 150 wineries (thanks to our mostly sunny days) and more than 50 craft distilleries (again, it’s the amazing climate). So, with endless options for drinking, we graciously took on the hard job of trying most of them out and hand-picking a few of our favorites - just for you!
My Brother’s Bar, 2376 15th St
It’s the oldest bar in Denver. So, there’s that. It’s almost like you land back in time surrounded by awesome historic details and classical music in a saloon atmosphere. The vintage feel is perfectly paired with an extensive whiskey menu and they also serve a jalapeno and cream cheese burger – I bet you never knew you needed one of those! And don’t forget to visit the bathroom and view the framed and mounted prison-house letter from Cassidy the Kid. My Brother’s Bar is the quintessential dive bar – simple, casual, fun.
Vibe: Historic building, smells of burgers and fries, friendly staff, with not a lot of fuss made about décor.
What to drink: Whatever local beer strikes your fancy ($2-6).
What to eat: The JCB and onion rings ($8).
Retrograde, 530 E 19th Ave
“You have to know where you are going to get there.” It might not be an age-old proverb but it is the first tip to finding and enjoying Retrograde. It’s one of Denver’s speakeasy bars and the entrance is a freezer door inside the ice cream parlor that acts as the bar’s front. So, be brave and ring the bell. Once you enter you will be treated with exquisite service from some of the city’s best mixologists. They have an extensive menu of craft cocktails but even your normal go-to drink will taste better at Retrograde. The bartenders are super friendly and will treat you like a friend in their home. It’s a small space and the wait to get in can be extensive if you choose to go on the weekend. But hey, while you wait, just eat some ice cream.
Vibe: Exclusive, cosmic, the vibrating sounds of club music.
What to drink: Little Green Ghouls complete with frozen cucumber juice ice cubes ($10) – menu changes regularly but you can ask for this specifically.
What to eat: The charcuterie plate, just so you can keep drinking ($10-17).
1-Up Arcade, 717 E. Colfax
So, you’re into friendly competition and ski-ball? Perfect, 1-up is the place for you. Located in Capitol Hill this divey bar has all the throwback arcade games you could imagine: Tetris, Galaga, Centipede and even four-man PacMan. They have coin machines on hand so you can play .25 cent games all night long.
Vibe: Just like any arcade you visited as a kid, yet alcohol is served.
What to drink: How about a PBR and a pickle shot for $3?!
Great Divide Brewing Company, 2201 Arapahoe St
One of Denver’s older breweries, Great Divide has been making craft beer for more than 22 years and is continually expanding its menu. Their original location includes a full line up of their beers, including many seasonal, barrel aged and limited release offerings. They provide daily tours of the facility so you can get a behind-the-scenes view. (Also, check out their second location in the super hip RiNo neighborhood.)
Vibe: Hopping (hahaha), indoor and outdoor options, small space so be ready to make new friends.
What to drink: Velvet Yeti (a nitro stout) is one of the more popular choices. Or try a sample of any pour for $1 (which goes directly to charity!).
What to eat: They have rotating food trucks most days.
A myriad of choices awaits you. And be sure to check with our 24-hour front desk staff for even more suggestions for enjoying the city like a local.