The Bitter Bar is where you go when you’re feeling fancy and want to drink something you’ve never tasted before.
The Bitter Bar is where you go when you're feeling fancy and want to drink something you've never tasted before. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that is also true when it comes to Boulder's bars. I was tasked with coming up with a list of the best bars in town, but considering my bar for ... bars simply reads "have booze" and "have chairs to drink booze in," I realized my rankings might not jive with everyone.

So instead, I will just list off some of the best qualities of the bars in town and you can make your own decision. Because we all know that decisions are just one of the things you are totally awesome at after drinking all night.

Dance, dance

I am not big on dancing. If you have ever seen me try to dance, you know this is for the best. Plus I keep spilling my beer when I try. But I know a lot of people want to get their freak on, especially after a night of imbibing.

So if you are looking for a place to dance, check out Press Play, the Walrus and Boulder House. The good thing is they are all relatively close to each other in downtown Boulder (in case the patrons at a particular establishment don't appreciate your suave moves).

Into the pool

Need a quieter place to shoot some pool or play some other bar games? Well, downtown Boulder has that, too. There is the Attic, which serves a purple vodka-heavy drink called the Fat Albert; the Sundown Saloon, which serves a hipster-heavy drink called PBR; and the Pearl Street Pub, which has a large buffalo head you can kiss once you've had sufficient quantities of PBR and vodka.

I'm so fancy


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Some nights, you are looking for a place that serves something that doesn't just consist of a soda plus the well drink of the night. If so, check out the Bitter Bar on the west end of downtown, Bramble and Hare right on the Pearl Street Mall or License No.1, a speakeasy on the east end of the mall.

Up where we belong

Nathan Brown mixes a batch of "Brown Derby" at License No. 1 under the Hotel Boulderado.
Nathan Brown mixes a batch of "Brown Derby" at License No. 1 under the Hotel Boulderado. (Jeremy Papasso / Daily Camera)

Boulder has some great views, so you might as well find a place to enjoy them. The Rio has a rooftop bar and some of the strongest margaritas in town. The Lazy Dog has a rooftop and a ton of apps and beer. The West End Tavern has a rooftop and a chicken wing challenge. I recommend you not try all three on the same day.

The big game

From the Super Bowl champs to the bowl-bound CU Buffs to the resurgent Rockies, there are a ton of sports teams to root for in Colorado. Also, the Colorado Avalanche play sometimes.

If you are looking for a place to watch the game while also grabbing a beer and some food, there are a few places to check out. The Dark Horse Bar and Grill is a local favorite, and their cheap weekend student deals make it a popular place to watch football games on the weekend. Harpo's Bar and Grill also carries a ton of games, as well as UFC fights for a $5 cover if you are into mixed martial arts.

On the Hill

University Hill is not just for house parties. Head over to The Sink to grab some beer and food and add your name to the walls and ceilings. Some of the more famous names on the wall include a former president and a guy who makes something called "donkey sauce." You can also head over to Half Fast, which might technically not be a bar but does serve sandwiches along with pitchers of Strong Island Iced Teas, so technically I don't care.

Mitchell Byars: twitter.com/mitchellbyars