Reporting by Julie Dugdale, Amanda M. Faison, Luc Hatlestad, Lindsey B. Koehler, Lindsey R. McKissick, Chris Outcalt, Daliah Singer & Geoff Van Dyke
Issue: February 2012
The 35 Best Bars in Denver
From dive bars to chic cocktail lounges, we drank our way through the Mile High City to find the best places to imbibe.
Denver Bicycle Cafe Warning: This is not your typical sports bar. In fact, it’s just the opposite—unless you are a cyclist. The brand-new bar is part bike shop and part neighborhood watering hole. Pull up a bar stool and sip on one of the ever-rotating Colorado craft beers as you chat with the mechanic working on your two-wheel steed. Since Denver continues to grow as a cycling haven (B-cycle? USA Pro Cycling Challenge? Denver Cruisers?), this just may become its epicenter. 1308 E. 17th Ave., 720-446-8029, denverbicyclecafe.com
Drink this: Anything on draft.
Govnr’s Park Tavern This neighborhood joint doesn’t bill itself as a traditional sports bar but can be a fan’s best friend, especially if you have nonsporty friends. Bring along your less interested companions for local and national matchups on strategically placed TVs. You can devote an evening to the game or just keep an eye out for big plays as you destroy the next table in team trivia. It’s multitasking at its best. 672 Logan St., 303-831-8605, govnrspark.com
Drink this: Big Nose Pale Ale from Breckenridge Brewery (it is only served at the tavern).
Three Lions—A World Football Pub Recently opened on East Colfax as a destination for soccer fans, Three Lions has score and leader boards above the bar to keep the educated fan in the loop. If you’re lucky, score one of the booths with the four-spout, self-pouring taps serving Fuller’s London Pride, Guinness, Carlsberg Lager, and Paulaner Hefeweizen. New to soccer and need a football mentor? Call co-owner Jon Forget to find out what the game of the week is. 2239 E. Colfax Ave., 303-997-6886, threelionsdenver.com
Drink this: Fuller’s London Porter, a chocolate and coffee flavored beer pulled up with a “beer engine” machine so there’s no extra air or gas.
Chopper’s Sports Grill The last thing Robert “Chopper” Travaglini (the former Nuggets trainer) would want is for anyone to strain his or her neck to watch a game at the sports bar inspired by his name. Which explains why you can look in any direction and catch the latest play on more than 50 TVs. Did we mention those screens are big? (No less than 18 have a 73-inch display.) And if you imbibe a little too much, you won’t miss a thing: The bathrooms have sound piped in. The beer menu is Colorado-friendly, with picks like Del Norte’s Cinco. 80 S. Madison St., 303-399-4448, chopperssportsgrill.com
Drink this: Wash down a full sports bar menu with a 22-ounce “bomber” of Colorado Cider or Ska’s True Blonde Dubble.
Blue Moon Brewing Company at the Sandlot Whenever the Rockies are home and cracking home runs on Blake Street, our favorite watering hole is Coors Field’s Sandlot Brewery, where Coors showcases experimental brews, like Wild Pitch Dunkelweiss (a hefeweizen). Brews like this will come in a plastic cup, and cost more than a Coors Light, but they’ll taste better too. You can watch the game on the bar’s big screens, but we prefer to drift out to right field to watch the action, be it a Tulo double or a sunset over the mountains. Coors Field, 2161 Blake St., 303-298-1587
Drink this: Ask the bartender to surprise you with the brewer’s latest experiment.
Taste Test: Buzz It
A drinking game for Colorado.
We love Colorado’s craft beers (see page 55), but there are times when an ice-cold Silver Bullet is ideal, like whenever we’re cheering for the Nuggets (or Broncos or Rockies). The next time you’re watching the game, ask your buddies to do a blind taste test between Coors Light and other mass-market beers. If they can pick out the home state brew, call them a “native.” If they don’t, “transplant” will do. To help you pass the test, we asked Cameron Rogers, the beverage manager for the Tavern Hospitality Group, to give us some tasting notes.
Coors Light: Light, smooth, no aftertaste or aroma.
Bud Light: Most popular, hint of bitterness.
Miller Lite: Best imitation of a true Pilsner, more hops.