Alexandra Sieh writes about fun stuff to do in Boulder at night once a week. Due to her fondness for Boulder's craft brews, she's earned the moniker "that beer lady, but she always tries to include something for the under-21 crowd, too. You can follow her at @ansieh or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're anything like me, deciding where to go for a night out is half the battle. Where do you start? Do you pre-game at home? Is food involved, or is this just about the booze (assuming you're 21)?
For those of you planning a night out for your whole crew (if you're not letting the night and tequila shots spontaneously guide you), I've got a couple of Boulder hot spots, with their drink specials, where applicable, all listed out. Because boozing on the cheap is how I roll. By the end of the night, Jose Cuervo or Patron, it's all the same folks.
The Boulder Rio
1101 Walnut Street
Open 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday
As you'll note from the hours, this isn't the late-night live wire of downtown. But it's one hell of a way to start. Head out on a Thursday to take advantage of $4 margs and $4 quesadilla halfs.
Not your type of food?
Half Fast Subs
1215 13th St.
Monday 10:30 a.m.-midnight; Tuesday-Wednesday 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Thursday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
As they say, ain't nothing half-assed about this place. Both subs and drinks alike are built to fill you up, one and done on both. Go the beer route if you like, but it's their 32-ounce "Megarita," "Strong Island Iced Tea" and Hurricane you want. A mini-pitcher of pure heaven.
1165 13th St.
11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
A landmark in town, you literally sink into a mass of crude artwork and signatures. So bring your Sharpie and your appetite. The menu has a few surprises, and the bar aims to please your drunken appetite. I can only imagine how distracting the murals are a few beers in. It's sensory overload.
Meanwhile, over on Pearl:
Pearl Street Pub and Cellar
1108 Pearl Street
Noon to 2 a.m. from Monday-Sunday
Deceptive. That's all I could think the first time I ventured here. What looks like a small bar off the walking mall turns into a labyrinth of rooms. Past the first bar, there's pool in the back. In the basement you'll find rooms rife with pool, foosball, darts and more booze, and plenty of seating for those weary from their bar travels. The mood here is mellow, but watch your head downstairs, tall folks. You might need to duck.
1136 Pearl Street
3 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Sunday
The Downer. It's one of my faves. This basement dive bar sinks you into a cramped yet relaxed drinking experience. Definitely not for you short-dress, skyscraper heels crowd, though I'm sure the guys there wouldn't complain. For most -- including my crew -- it's the place to sit with friends, get a $6 PBR pitcher and play quarters, pool or shuffleboard. I hear it's free pool from 3 to 10:30 p.m. Even better? They've got $3 wells every night, and a special Friday/Saturday special of $4 Red Bull vodkas and $1 Kamikaze shots.
West End Tavern
926 Pearl Street
Kitchen open from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Happy hour from 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Up the road and well worth the walk, this bar sits atop the restaurant and is near bursting when the drinking crowd hits. Not quite as "college-kid" feelng, and that's nice, sometimes. A break from the usual for specials on draft beers, well drinks and a couple specialty cocktails for you fancy folk.
Looking to leave Pearl?
2115 13th St.
4:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Monday-Friday; 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
Drinks beneath a little bit of history. Catacombs found its home beneath Boulder's Boulderado Hotel and definitely embraces the underground feel. Tight quarters and tasty drinks. Don't be shy about shoving your way around, or you'll end up swaying in the corner alone all night. Friday's got $2 Shiner Bock drafts and $3 Long Islands, while Saturday offers up $2 Long Islands, $3 Absolut drinks and Boulder Beer drafts.
Down the road a bit....
The Attic Bar and Bistro
949 Walnut St.
11:30 a.m.-1:45 a.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-1:45 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-1:45 a.m. Sunday. Food is served until 11 p.m.
A flight of stairs up and you're in a bar just off the usual Pearl Street haunts. It's a small space, usually filled to the rafters with drunkies. The Attic has always been our end-of-the-night stop, where you get that one last drink you know you don't need but you want anyway. And with the specials, that's not a bad idea. Fridays offer an adult twist on the ol' PB&J -- glass of PBR and a shot of Jim Bean, $5. Saturdays, Silver Baby Bullets -- tiny Coors cans -- are $1. During the 3-6 p.m. happy hour, they have $2 wells, $2.50 drafts and $3 Fat Albert, an in-house signature you'll just have to try, on special.
Still on Walnut, right in the action ...
1911 11th St.
4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday
I always end up here. Doesn't matter who I'm with or what we're doing. A dirty bar with a dirty crowd. I love that I always leave here with a story or two. And since its one special is a $20 fishbowl on Fridays and Saturdays, they're the last stories you'll remember from the night. Whether you wanna shoot some pool, play the ring toss game (you'll know it if you've been there) or just shake your moneymaker like somebody gonna pay ya, it's got what you need.
Way, way off Pearl, for you adventurous types...
3141 28th St.
7 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
Now here's something really off the beaten track. The Outback is nestled in behind Blockbuster on 28th. A laid-back bar, it has that "regulars" feel, where you'd expect to see the same folk each night. Shuffleboard in the front, pool party in the back -- billiards, not swimming -- and a stage in the middle that's graced with America's not-so-idyllic singers belting it post-alcohol consumption. That's right. Karaoke strikes Fridays and Saturdays, and from what I've heard, it's a more than forgiving crowd. Lower those inhibitions and head on over.