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Danny Lefter dances using glow sticks at Denver's Church nightclub.
Nathan W. Armes
Danny Lefter dances using glow sticks at Denver’s Church nightclub.

We are all completely different drunks.

Oh stop. I saw you stumble out of the Downer last night. Nice try.

Enough about you.

I tend to sway towards the seedy dives of Denver’s East Colfax, where the whiskey flows like a homeless crack pipe, the bathrooms need fumigation and the No. 15 bus guarantees an amusing (albeit smelly) ripping-good yarn.

I’m also fond of those lovely bars on South Broadway, where the streets are rampant with 10-speeds and the kids are too trendy to lock eyes.

But the super-terrific bar visit will be worth the faux face-in-the-smartphone move to avoid hipster eye contact. So you tripped over that skinny-jeaned crossed-legged cool dude smoking an American Spirit outside of the hi-dive. Your venture to Three Kings Tavern will be worth the shame.

I avoid LoDo because that’s where most of you are. No offense. I love you, sweet tushes. My liver just has a few more years on you and it enjoys a belly-up to the bar seat rather than rubbing against your sweaty tramp stamp.

Although Boulder is fun — there are 30,000 of you freaks running around ready to get rowdy — but Denver is only 30 minutes away. A quick hop on the BX will put you at Market Street Station, right in the heart of downtown, for free (well, with your student ID).

Here’s a quick guide to what all you flavors of the rainbow will enjoy.



Giggling Grizzly

Where: 1320 20th St., Denver

Phone: 303-297-8300

Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily; opens two hours before Colorado Rockies games.

Every type of crowd frequents this joint. But on weekend nights, the place gets dive-bombed with college singles sucking down cheap (and strong) drinks. The photo booth offers some fantastic entertainment while trying to squeeze six drunken assholes in.

But be careful, those with taxidermy phobias (ahem, yours truly) — there is a large stuffed bear donning an Avs jersey in front to greet you next to the free popcorn machine.

Ginn Mill

Where: 2041 Larimer St., Denver

Phone: 303-295-0706

Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday

The “LoDo” vibe extends a bit further north of its territory with the Ginn Mill.

The saloon décor and huge outdoor patio is bursting on the weekends with a packed house. The clientele is young, drunk and full of, ahem, love for the opposite sex.

So if it’s been a while since you’ve locked lips, the Ginn Mill can most likely satiate your horny palate.

Plus, the bar has games like Jenga and Connect Four.




Where: 3 S. Broadway, Denver

Phone: 720-570-4503

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday

Sputnik is the ultimate hipster joint. It’s even too cool to have a “303” number.

Those mod thick-frame-glasses-wearing faces are better than you are, so just tilt your drink back and stop gawking.

The music is loud, the service is, well, under-par, the décor is retro and the menu is pretty damn inventive. Get a corndog, some famous mac-n-cheese or deep-fried Oreo cookies.

Lip Gloss at La Rumba

Where: 99 W. Ninth Ave., Denver

Phone: 303-572-8006

Hours: 9 p.m.–2 a.m. Fridays

The salsa joint La Rumba strays from the spicy dance to morph into Lip Gloss Friday nights for a big party.

There’s dancing. Dancing. Dancing! Tunes from hip-hop mixes to ’80s-’90s classics to Britpop lace the huge dance floor surrounded by lounge-style seating. Get there early — there’s no cover before 10 p.m.



Sancho’s Broken Arrow

Where: 741 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Phone: 303-832-5288

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily

You dirty hippie. You would frequent this Grateful Dead-laden establishment (where I’m pretty sure a portion of Jerry Garcia’s soul lives).

The drinks are cheap, the clientele and staff are nice as hell, the foosball and pool tables are separated by old couches that have undoubtedly suffocated in weed smoke in their past lives.

If you’re in the mood to listen to something other than a jam band, too bad. It seems only Widespread Panic and Grateful Dead live on the jukebox.

Mercury Café

Where: 2199 California St., Denver

Phone: 303-294-9258

Hours: 5:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Sunday

Mercury Café is a bit of a strange place. But pretty cool-strange.

This huge two-level building houses tango lessons, live music, poetry night, film showings, a dining room that serves organic food, a bar and art events.

The clientele is rather eclectic but the vibe is very energetic and the ambiance is quite unique. Peace, love and happiness, man. Love and light. And all that good stuff.



Sports Column

Where: 1930 Blake St., Denver

Phone: 303-296-1930

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily

The big sports bar with huge-screen TVs, pool tables and arcade games is a great place to watch football in Denver this season.

The bar caters to most teams, so you won’t necessarily need to cry in a corner with your face in The place gets down with college folk on Thirsty Thursdays with $1 wells, calls and domestic drafts. Beat that.


Where: 1520 20th St., Denver

Phone: 303-298-7625

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday

Situated directly across the street from Coors Field, the patio and rooftop views of the city are amazing.

The huge, two-level bar has tons of TVs, pretty darn good food and decently-priced drinks.

Note to sports enthusiasts who hate clubbers: Friday nights are insane. The upper-level turns into a raging dance party with a $10 cover charge for all you can drink. Beware, the line will wrap around the block.



The Church

Where: 1160 Lincoln St., Denver

Phone: 303-832-3528

Hours: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Sunday

This place is crazy. Crazy neat! Look! It’s an old Gothic church with stained-glass windows, cathedral ceilings and awesome architecture.

Thursdays feature hip-hop, Top 40 and ’80s retro alternative. Fridays are free for the ladies and pump out hip-hop and industrial retro. Saturday boasts three floors of Latin and salsa tunes as well as hip-hop and more. Sunday is Service Industry Night and goth/alternative/industrial.

Oh right, dance up an appetite, the club has a sushi bar.


Where: 1082 N. Broadway, Denver

Phone: 303-860-8469

Hours: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday; open Sundays

The four floors of Vinyl’s walls pump with guest DJs and twentysomething clubgoers.

The top floor has a cutout bar to watch the drunkies shake their asses. There’s also a Grecian-inspired rooftop patio with a great view of the mountains and the downtown skyline. Thursdays feature Reggae on the Roof, Fridays is three floors of Latin and sasa tunes, Saturdays feature ’80s-’90s, Top 40 and hip-hop.



The Squire Lounge

Where: 1800 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Phone: 303-333-9106

Hours: Noon-2 a.m. daily

This dive has everything from major Denver comedians doing stand-up on Tuesday nights to toothless townies sitting at the bar drinking PBRs.

It may scare the hell out of you when you walk in, but grab a seat at the bar, order a Bionic Beaver (a pitcher of pretty much everything behind the bar, plus PBR) and soak in the East Colfax vibe.

The jukebox is filled with all that great cheesy stuff you need to hear, like Journey, and the conversations with randoms always leaves you with a tale.

Bar Bar

Where: 2060 Champa St., Denver

Phone: 303-296-1250

Hours: Open daily at 7 a.m.

If you walk in this bar at between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., you will probably run. You shouldn’t — it’s just your friendly homeless buddy who only needed a Hamm’s for breakfast.

However, once the sun starts thinking about taking a nap, this dive in between downtown and Five Points turns into Denver’s hippest dump since El Chapultepec.

The place filled with grunge rockers (it’s officially called Carioca Café) will shove a loud band or DJ in the corner and rock out while you nonchalantly sanitize your hands. I see you. Pansy.


Gay bars


Where: 1669 Clarkson, Denver

Phone: 303-831-0459

Hours: 3 p.m.-2 a.m. daily

This bar welcomes all walks of life, but the majority is boys, boys, boys.

The huge, two-floor bar has karaoke nights, drag queen bingo night and Famous Thursday nights with half-price drinks. (Good luck catching the bartender’s eye on Thursdays. Unless you’re a hot boy.)

The upper level has pool tables and a great outdoor patio on both levels. Boys, bring your bestie girlfriend, they make up the other portion of the population.

Her Bar

Where: 629 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Phone: 303-832-2687

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily

Her Bar boasts on its Web site, “When you visit HER Bar, you’re in for a treat. Live music, weekly drink specials, pool tables, lesbians of all shapes and sizes, butch, femme, girls that dress like boys, boys that dress like girls, top, bottom, you name it, we got it….”

The bar in uptown Denver just snagged a Cajun chef from Louisiana, so go check out the tasty catfish frys Friday nights. There’s beer pong, flip cup nights, DJs, dancing, trivia and pool tables.

Go find yourself a sugar mama. Then give me some money. Thanks.



Atomic Cowboy

Where: 3237 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Hours: 303-377-7900

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily

This is a great East Colfax neighborhood bar decked with retro tables and lights, cowboy pictures, a stuffed bull head (eek!) and — only if you look hard enough — a baby doll smoking a cigarette.

The clientele is everyone — but don’t worry, the old fortysomethings stumble out around 9 p.m. after a four-hour work happy hour.

Now us younguns can take over the PBRs and Jameson shots. Yeah. Plus, the pizza they serve — Fat Sully’s — is a fantastic greasy New York style slice to cushion the blow of tomorrow’s hangover.


Where: 3015 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Phone: 303-322-4444

Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday

This fantastic dance-ridden dive is located in front of the All Inn Motel on East Colfax.

Yeah. It’s called the All Inn Motel. Don’t stay there. Please. But, don’t worry, you can go inside — we won’t bite. Just maybe stay away from the bathroom.

The alley may prove a better choice.

The Rockbar is Denver’s latest dance dive that houses every single type of person. On weekends, the dance floor gets packed and DJs spin great dance tunes from almost every decade. The décor in the lounge is so horrible it’s gorgeous.

Go rock out with your fox out. Your girlfriend, perv.

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