Denver, above all its desirable features, offers a bar scene like no other. And, it’s rooted in history.

Denver was officially declared a city in November 1858. It served as a gold mining town, and the first order of business for gold mining—was to have a drink. Seriously. Beer and whiskey were a staple of early settlers’ diets because beer, a fermented drink, was safer than most of the local water.

Thus, the earliest bars and saloons popped up almost overnight. Thanks to this deep history of brewing and distilling, drinking quickly became THE industry in Denver, with 23 full breweries in operation by 1892.

Packed into Downtown Denver today are hundreds of bars, albeit a bit more modern than the saloons of yesteryear, ranging from the diviest of dive bars to the fanciest of cocktail emporiums. It’s easy to spend hours enjoying the best bars in Downtown Denver.

Related to Best Bars in Downtown Denver: Best Apartment Views in Denver

Want to live within walking distance of your favorite libation hot spot? Call up AptAmigo and let us handle the apartment search. You tell us what you want, and we find it for you! It’s that easy.

Where to Get Drinks in Downtown Denver

Ghost Donkey

Address: 1750 Wewatta St, Suite 140, Denver, CO 80202

Neighborhood: LoDo

Go Here If: You want to experience Mexican hospitality and libations…

Located on the ground floor of The Coloradan residences, right next to Denver Union Station, this lively bar is a hotspot for everything Mexican-inspired. The first Ghost Donkey was founded in New York. After winning awards, they opened locations in Las Vegas and New Zealand. The bar boasts the largest selection of mezcal and tequila in the Denver area, and that’s no surprise from the looks of their bar menu and shelves. Alongside your drinks, you can enjoy their simple selection of nachos and tacos.

Our Favorite Drink: Wildflower Paloma (Altos Plata, Lime, Grapefruit Soda, Hibiscus, Petal Salt)


Address: 530 E 19th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

Neighborhood: Uptown

Go Here If: You want a 1920s speakeasy vibe…

You might need to put “Sweet Action” in your GPS because that’s the business you arrive at when you pull up to Retrograde Bar. But, if you’re in on the secret, then you’ll get in on their delicious menu. It’s simple. Head past the counter to the freezer and flip on the light. One of their amazing staff will meet you and prepare your seats before bringing you back to them. It’s a seated-only bar to ensure that each guest enjoys their experience fully. All-in-all, you can’t go wrong with a trip back in time at Retrograde Bar. Open 5pm to 12pm, Sunday through Thursday, and 5pm to 1am, Friday and Saturday.

Our Favorite Drink: Space Ninjas (Ambrosia, Pineapple, Curaçao, Luxardo, Banane, Miso Caramel, and Cream)

Adrift Tiki Bar

Address: 218 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209

Neighborhood: Baker

Go Here If: You crave a vacation but are on a budget…

Take a quick trip to the islands when you visit Adrift Tiki Bar. This tropical-themed bar features a not-too-sweet menu of drinks and delicious Caribbean and Polynesian foods. They highly recommend reservations for indoor seating. Otherwise, you can get first-come, first-seated service at their bar and patio tables (weather permitting). Happy hour is all day on Tiki Tuesday, from 5pm to 7pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and from 4pm to 6pm on Friday and Saturday. The bar is closed Sundays and Mondays.

Our Favorite Drink: Painkiller* (Pusser’s Rum, Lemon Hart 151, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juices, and House-Made Coconut Cream)

*It’s delicious, but don’t drink this and plan to drive.

Honey Elixir Bar

Address: 2636 Walnut St #104, Denver, CO 80205

Neighborhood: RiNo

Go Here If: You want a non-alcoholic experience that isn’t an afterthought…

Each drink at Honey Elixir Bar is designed to give guests “a full sensory experience of health, connection, and rejuvenation.” From their magical Potions menu of non-alcoholic options, to their seasonal cocktails made of high-quality spirits, this bar has a drink for everyone. Especially if you’re up for a new experience. A select few cocktails feature a fermented alcohol known as Jun, which is supplied by two local Master Jun Brewers. It’s definitely worth a try! Just remember, they’re closed Monday and Tuesday.

Our Favorite Drink: Lings Wholly Spirit (Jun, Tulsi, Gynostemma, Passionflower, Blue Lotus, Reishi, Rosehips)

54Thirty Rooftop

Address: 1475 California St, Denver, CO 80202

Neighborhood: Central Business District

Go Here If: You want to impress with a skyline view…

Dress in your finest and make your way to 54Thirty Rooftop Bar. This open-air space is located on the 20th floor of Le Méridien hotel in the heart of downtown Denver. Seating here comes with a blazing fire pit to keep you warm on those chilly Denver nights (the bar IS open year-round). Their food menu changes seasonally, but their amazing drink menu is filled with long-lasting classics. Hotel guests are prioritized, but outside guests can join the waitlist for their chance to enter too.

Our Favorite Drink: Rooftop Garden (Gunpowder Gin, Genepi, Matcha, Lime, Celery Shrub)

Candlelight Tavern

Address: 383 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80209

Neighborhood: Speer

Go Here If: You want the deepest of dive bars…

Candlelight Tavern proudly boasts of its status as the best dive bar in Denver—and they’re right. With greasy grub, bargain drinks, sports on the television, and bar games galore, you’ll find a friendly, hometown atmosphere here. Patrons rave about the food (particularly the burgers). But don’t expect any fancy concoctions here. Drinks are simple and cheap. And, you can be a regular anytime because they’re open 365 days a year. 

Our Favorite Drink: Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots!

Williams & Graham

Address: 3160 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211

Neighborhood: LoHi

Go Here If: You want to appreciate the art of cocktail making…

Yep, it’s another speakeasy option, this time housed in an old corner bookstore. But the real draw at Williams & Graham is the drinks. With knowledgeable bartenders and the highest quality ingredients, this bar wins awards and is a very popular place to get the best drinks in Denver. They feature over 500 bottles of unique spirits from around the world. And, their bespoke cocktail menu showcases their creative flair (especially with their non-alcoholic drinks), as does the choice of foods on their decadent menu. Make a reservation or come early, and expect to wait for a spot. The bar is open from 5pm to 1am daily. They are also open for private parties of 50 guests or fewer.

Our Favorite Drink: Angel’s Manhattan (Angel’s Envy Rye, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Angostura Bitters)

Continue your Denver adventure with a trip to the city’s top distilleries, or a scenic drive.

Live Near the Best Bars in Downtown Denver

Whether it’s a relaxing hole-in-the-wall bar where you can become a regular, or a fancy bar to get dressed up for with the ladies or fellas, Denver has an excellent option for you. And, right next door you might find the perfect option for your next apartment.

We take all your needs into account—bar preference included. Just tell us what you want (like great views), and our team of expert apartment locators curate a bespoke list for you to choose from. We’ll help set up tours and support you all the way through signing a lease and beyond.

Give us a call if you want to live near one of the best bars in Downtown Denver.

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About the Author
Jeanette Smith

Jeanette Smith is a writer, editor, and freelancer based in Dallas, Texas. Find out more at