Given that a saloon was reportedly Denver’s first building, the city has long had a rich nightlife to offer and the options just keep growing. Whether it’s for music, drinks, or dancing, Denver has impressive credentials.
One of the city’s more popular microbreweries, the Wynkoop Brewing Company, is co-owned by mayor John Hickenlooper; the newest and hottest nightclub, Beta, was started by the founders of Beatport, the world’s leading online source for electronic music downloads; and there is a handful of fantastic jazz clubs—El Chapultepec, Dazzle, and Jazz at Jack’s—which all attract nationally renowned jazz musicians who play at the venues regularly.
Get to know the locals by spending an evening on a barstool, whether it be at a dive bar like Don’s Club Tavern, authentic Parisian bar À Côté, or just sitting in a club chair at the Churchill Bar in the Brown Palace Hotel. Any of these places offers a chance to relax and talk to a friendly stranger.
Of course there is the requisite country-and-western music night out, stomping through a line dance in pointy cowboy boots and tight jeans, and in Denver there are plenty of options. The Grizzly Rose is a traditional country venue with well-known Nashville musicians playing live; the Cowboy Lounge is the lower downtown version of the Rose with more college students than cowboys, and there’s also Charlie’s, the gay and lesbian bar for the country crowd.
Beyond country-and-western music, Denver’s thriving music scene has helped launch a few acts that have received national acclaim, such as Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and DeVotchka. Though they’ve gone on to the big time, you can still catch some of these bands at venues like the Bluebird Theater or Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Most bars and clubs close at 2 a.m., but you can find a few after-hours spots, such as the aptly named Two a.m., where dancing lasts until 5 a.m.
- Best Jazz Bar: El Chapultepec
- Best Country Music Bar: The Grizzly Rose
- Best Dance Club: Beta
- Best French Bar and Bistro: À Côté
- Best Historic Bar: The Cruise Room
- Best Dive Bar: Don’s Club Tavern
- Best Margarita: Mezcal
- Best Wine Bar: Tastes Wine Bar & Bistro
- Best Drinks with Geeks: Wynkoop Brewing Company
- Best Zen Lounge: Swimclub 32
© Mindy Sink from Moon Denver, 1st Edition