The Best Places For Margaritas, Martinis, Singles & Sports
When people go to party in Denver, they do it in LoDo.
Mostly, people hang in the lower downtown area, which was revitalized in the mid-90s when Coors Field was built. Called “LoDo,” it is filled with bars, restaurants and shops, most of which are located in renovated brick buildings, giving them a very casual drinking-in-a-warehouse feeling.
But what’s really cool is the fact that just about every bar has Happy Hours starting at 11 p.m.
This section of PubClub.com’s guide to Denver covers the bars, clubs, hip hangouts and even a pair of top strip clubs.
Denver’s Best Concert Locations
In addition to the bars and clubs, Denver hosts most major touring rock bands. The Fillmore is a live music venue but for a real experience, Red Rocks Amphitheater is a spectacular outdoor arena carved into 500-foot-high red sandstone cliffs. Just 15 miles west of downtown, it has hosted bands from The Beatles to symphony orchestras and recently underwent a $26 million renovation. This, friends, is true Colorado.
And speaking of concerts, Elway’s (yes, THAT Elway) in Cherry Creek has a summer concert series on Wednesdays that is packed (mid-June thru mid-August, 6:30-9, often a line and many cougars, guys).
There is something for just about everyone in Denver: bars, sports bars, upscale bars, live music venues, and restaurants. Everything is within easy walking distance – 5-10 minutes – and is also easily accessible from the main downtown area via the free and frequently-used 16th Street Mall shuttle bus.
There is no smoking in Denver’s bars.
LoDo Bars Around Coors Field
It’s party time in Denver’s LoDo bars.
For the true party people, the place to be in LoDo is Croc’s (16th and Larimer), a lively cantina where the floor is as sticky as the pickup lines. This is where young partiers go to get stupid drunk. It’s a fun atmosphere, even before the University of Colorado invades around 11.
Croc’s can kick off or end an evening around Coors Field. There is a huge cluster of bars, all practically within sight of the Rockies’ home.
Much like a close call in the stadium, it’s a bang-bang play to hit all the bars. And there doesn’t have to be a game going on for them to be a hit. They are as basic as baseball itself with a bar area, some type of bar sports activity like a pool and dance area.
Many have patios, ideal for mingling under the moonlight. Roaming from one to the other is as easy as picking up a cheap ticket to a game (as low as $5 on some nights) – there are so many options there is rarely a line to get in any place.
The Tavern Downtown (formerly known as the Soiled Dove) has cool owners and a huge rooftop patio with the stadium in clear view just over the shoulder. Downstairs is a gaming room with bowling lanes. The crowd is mixed, ranging in age between early 20s to mid-30s.
The LoDo Tavern is a large, fun bar, kind of like being in a warehouse with waitresses. It, too, has an after-11 Happy Hour a tad more of a lively crowd than the other places.The rooftop patio is an awesome hangout on nice nights.
The SC – or Sports Column – is a true sports bar with big screens, pool tables, etc. It, too, has a rooftop patio and features Thirsty Thursdays with $2 domestic drafts and well drinks. The SC is rustic, as if it’s been here quite a while.
The top sports bar, though, is Jackson’s. It has big screens on both sides of a long bar, a seemingly never-ending patio, an upstairs for pool and games and a lounge area in the rear where Oklahoma alums gather to watch their Sonners during football season.
There’s also The Giggling Grizzly, a cozy drinking spot if there ever was one. The Poor House is a down-and-dirty pub for the college crowd. It’s frequently jammed.
With many bars to choose from within walking distance, LoDo rocks.
Speaking of places to hang out and drink, the Falling Rock Tap House, across from the SC, is a really cool bar. It has a live band on a small stage (a Zydeco band was playing during our visit) and a comfortable patio. This is a place to chill out and have one (or more) of its hundreds of beers.
Direct from Ireland – really – is Fado’s. It’s such an authentic Irish Pub it was entirely imported from the home country. It has wood furnishings, cobblestone stone floors, murals and live music (and not always Irish; we heard a kickass rockabilly band, in fact). The crowd moves in after 10 and it’s older and more sedate than the college-aged bars in the rest of LoDo.
It also has the best food of all the LoDo pubs (try the Boxty, various meats wrapped up burrito-style in a potato). Located literally adjacent to Coors Field, Fado’s also serves breakfast but is short on TVs, though a big screen appears for big games.
Lo Do basically runs from Larimer St. to Wynkoop to the north/south and 14th and 20th streets to the east/west. It is unofficially divided – culturally and mentally – at 16th Street. To the west are the martini bars, a hot restaurant/bar and classy Larimer Square. To the east are the dress-down sports and warehouse bars frequented by area college students, all within the shadow of Coors Field.
LoDo Marini Bars & Lounges
One place to start is Jax, an oyster bar with 50-cent oysters from 4-6 for the after-work crowd. On nice evenings, the small sidewalk patio is full.
The Rio Grande (on Blake), is a Southwestern restaurant with mediocre food and Mile High margaritas. And they will definitely get you mile high if you’re not careful. They are made with pure grain alcohol and there is bar-imposed limit of three. It’s even in the logo, a “3” inside of a glass. Not that one can handle any more than the quota.
This is Denver’s Top Happy Hour Hangout, the PreParty Capitol of the city. On weekends, the place is packed by 7 and there is often a lime, er, a line to get inside. It closes at 10, though, a side effect of those margaritas.
The Rio’s crowd is mainly late 20s and 30s single professionals. From there, those still walking and talking head to other bars in the area, such as the martini bars or classy drinking spots. Many like The Celtic (pronounced Kel-tic), a large, clean pub packed with people and their conversations. A stand-and-drink bar, it’s an easy place to hang the whole night. Josephine’s is a cool, classy bar in Larimer Square that features live bands (usually upbeat jazz).
The 9th Door (1808 Blake St.,) is a good bar – good music & good crowd, good food – great steak and tapas WHOA! It’s crowded on Thrusdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Find some space during Happy Hour.
Zydeco’s (1730 Wynkoop, formely Trio Enoteca) is now a Cajun Southern-style restaurant/bar with live music and an extensive wine list.
The martini-type bars are popular after 11 because of their late happy hours.
The Purple Martini (15th and Lawrence) for example, has martinis for $3. On its menu are purple, citrus and watermelon varieties. Vesta (Blake and 17th) and Samba (15th and Larimer) are two more choices, each with good-looking crowds. Lime on Larimer (below street level) is known for it’s good drinks, especially what some consider to be the city’s top margaritas (take the free shot of tequila served in a lime).
Blue 67 has live jazz and fun bartenders. Can’t make it on Friday or Saturday? Go on Sunday, one of its best nights. The Mynt (1424 Market) has mojitos in addition to martinis. The Purple Martini and Blue 67 are not to be confused with Club Purple, a club with a clear dance floor and a downstairs, ahem, viewing area???
The Cruise Room in the Oxford Hotel (17th and Wazee in the central business district) looks like an old cruise ship. The drinks are so strong a couple of them are likely to send you overboard. This is a fairly quite place, mostly locals in for a quick sail. Another cool spot for a drink in the area is the English pub in the Brown Palace Hotel.
The oldest bar in Devner is My Brother’s Bar. Go for the burgers; they come not on a plate but wrapped in plastic. Shakespeare’s is a very cool pool bar.