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  • Shaun Kukln, Kaila Spencer, Janina Royers and Cameron Brooks grab...

    Evan Buzzell

    Shaun Kukln, Kaila Spencer, Janina Royers and Cameron Brooks grab a pitcher at Half Fast over the summer. By the way, follow our Get Social photographers at if you want to see your pals getting social with us.

  • If you're a Buff, you'll go to the Sink. Even...

    Jeremy Papasso

    If you're a Buff, you'll go to the Sink. Even the president did. (He took a box of pizza to his motorcade. You should probably hook up your friends, too.)



There are some quintessential college experiences all must have.

Like sprinting for an exam you almost slept through. Waking up to find yourself snoring in the library. Day-drinking before a particularly nasty lecture your senior year.

We don’t really recommend that last one.

In Boulder, the must-dos include a few bars that all must visit at least once, once you’re able. In fact, there’s a few in CU’s neck of the woods.

And during the week, even those underage and still dreaming of their first legal hangover can attend without that golden ticket. Enjoy watching those older and not-at-all-wiser indulge.

The Sink

1165 13th St.


With the walls plastered in signatures dating back decades, you just feel Boulder when you walk into the Sink.

As you walk back, you sink into crazy 50s/60s artwork and a place that can only be described as an experience.

The menu — full of famous burgers and toppings-heavy pizzas — aids in the drinking.

As happy hour approaches, if you’re 21, check your calendar.

Monday, take a chance with Flip Night, where winning a coin toss can get you a $0.25 drink. Always worth the gamble.

Tuesday’s game night, with things like giant Jenga and beer pong tournaments (as if life gets better than that).

By Friday, it’s 2-for-1 well drinks, select drafts and calls too good to pass up. But no must-go bar is complete without the Sunday morning hangover cure: More booze. Bloody Mary bars make the day of rest that much better.

Half Fast Subs

1215 13th St.


Take a patio and a giant sandwich. Now add in a drink called the Strong Island. Yeah. One pitcher of their Strong Islands or Mega-ritas will leave even the most practiced drinker a bit buzzed. But Half Fast offers far more than drinks that’ll knock you on your ass. (Moderation, people! Moderation!)

Now, soak it all up with literally an entire wall worth of sub choices. From vegan options to those who want all things meat (dirty), ordering a sandwich is half the fun. Attempting to eat it without the delicious ingredients pouring out is the other. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends, watching folks meander up The Hill while you sip on an enormous pitcher of greatness.

Pearl Street Pub & Cellar

1108 Pearl St.


Each town has one — the pub that only the locals really know to go to. It isn’t flashy or neon-topped, but it’s the place everyone should go to.

Well, Pearl Street Pub is Boulder’s. Dark and almost cozy, you’re greeted by a big ol’ buffalo head that many kiss for luck. (I’m assuming booze was involved in this tradition’s start.) The bar’s got a tap lineup ready to get you thirsty and drink specials that can even correspond to the weather (snowy and overcast days, for example).

Of course, that’s just the beginning. Keep walking and you find a set of stairs that leads down to the pool tables and second bar. Sure, the ceilings present a challenge for those over five-foot-eight, but it’s an atmosphere dedicated to the relaxed. And with their live music line-up each week, you can’t go wrong, right in the heart of Pearl Street.

Sundown Saloon

1136 Pearl St.


This choice as a “best bar” may get some shrugs or moans, but for many, this bar is where many a night begins and/or ends.

It’s just a great choice. Walk down the stairs from Pearl and you enter into what many fondly call a dive-bar setting: very crowded, cramped and full of enthusiasm, with shuffleboard to your right, pool straight ahead, and two bars open (depending on the night) ready to serve up your night’s worth of fun.

True to that dive-bar vibe, the ‘Downer serves up discounted Kamikazi shots and even more discounted PBR pitchers, which make perfect Quarters companions on the wooden, hard-to-score tables.

Each night, you can expect a crowd that’s just happy to be there and at least one older guy trying to hustle you at pool. What’s not to like?

Contact writer Alexandra Sieh at On Twitter: @ansieh.