When you’re on vacation, taking a seat at the hotel bar and ordering a decadent cocktail feels like a true treat, especially after a long day of travel. But even for locals, hotel bars seem to have an undeniable draw. 

Maybe it’s because they typically incorporate gorgeous interior design and deliver consistently good service. Or maybe it’s the prime people-watching and ability to encounter an eclectic mix of serious business travelers, neighborhood regulars, fun-loving tourists, romance-seeking couples, and other fellow drinkers of all types. In more remote Colorado mountain towns, they often serve as community gathering spaces, too. And because hotel bars cater to a wide variety of patrons, their drink lists are typically long and diverse, many with a focus on highlighting the Centennial State’s talented producers.

Whether you’re planning a getaway or just want to explore your own neighborhood, here are some of our favorite hotel bars in Colorado.

Death & Co. at The Ramble Hotel

Denver bartenders at the Mile High City outpost of Death & Co. spend months developing and testing new cocktail recipes for each season—and that level of precision shines through in every one of the bar’s sumptuous drinks. Critics are taking note, too: Ideally situated in RiNo inside the Ramble Hotel, Death & Co. Denver made the inaugural 2022 list of North America’s 50 Best Bars Awards for its “attentive hospitality” and “uncompromising standards.” The opulent lobby bar boasts high ceilings, massive windows, and intimate tables, perfect for enjoying the Stone Room—a dessert cocktail inspired by Thai tom kha soup—or the punchy Saddle Tramp on a hot summer day.

Photo by Sarah Banks

The Living Room and the J-Bar at Hotel Jerome

Bartenders have been slinging drinks at the Hotel Jerome since 1889, and that experience is reflected at both the Living Room and the J-Bar (as well as the hotel’s speakeasy, Bad Harriet, next door). The J-Bar is an ideal spot to pop in for an afternoon Aspen Crud, a Prohibition-era milkshake spiked with bourbon, while the Living Room’s dark, sultry atmosphere is a cozy spot to see and be seen for Aspen residents and visitors alike.

T-Zero Lounge at St Julien Hotel & Spa

Nestled at the base of the Foothills a block off Pearl Street, St Julien is Boulder’s most luxurious hotel, so it tracks that its lobby bar, T-Zero Lounge, is also a great place to grab a drink. With high ceilings, a crackling fireplace, plush couches, and floor-to-ceiling windows for taking in the view of the Flatirons, T-Zero is ideal for everything from a quiet date night to an upscale after-work happy hour with colleagues—and everything in between.  

The Bar at The Wyman Hotel 

The bar at the Wyman Hotel. Photo courtesy of the Wyman

After a day of often-precarious driving to reach Silverton—the remote, sparsely populated former mining town in the San Juan Mountains—the bar at the Wyman Hotel is a welcome sight. It’s located on the ground floor of a 1902 building on Silverton’s main street that owners Shane Fuhrman and Haley Morgan painstakingly restored to its former glory—and put their own Instagram-worthy spin on in the process. As a boutique hotel, the Wyman has just 15 rooms, but that intimacy is what makes its bar so special. Wander down for a glass of natural wine and you’re sure to strike up a conversation with fellow road-weary travelers who also decided to venture off the beaten path to Silverton. Bartenders also gladly serve drinks in the hotel’s twinkle-light-adorned courtyard, which regularly plays hosts to intimate concerts.

King’s Club at Sonnenalp Hotel

The King’s Club at Sonnenalp Hotel. Photo courtesy of the Sonnenalp Hotel

Step inside Vail’s Sonnenalp Hotel and you’ll feel like you were transported to Bavaria—and for good reason: Its owners, the Faessler family, have a sister property in Ofterschwang, Germany. The property’s tasteful, European-inspired decor and hospitality extend to the King’s Club, a cozy lounge on the ground floor with living room vibes. Guitarists and pianists regularly play live music here (some may even belt out a traditional German tune!), so you can make yourself right at home after skiing or mountain biking all day.

Devil’s Kitchen at Hotel Maverick

No matter what time of year you visit, checking into Grand Junction’s Hotel Maverick—and grabbing a drink at its rooftop bar and restaurant Devil’s Kitchen—gives you that giddy, back-to-school feeling you used to get every August as a kid. 

Operated as a training ground for hospitality students at Colorado Mesa University, the property is brimming with thoughtful touches that help visitors learn about the university and Grand Junction more broadly. Head up to Devil’s Kitchen for views of the sprawling, manicured CMU lawn (and its epic pump track) while enjoying cocktail recipes developed by some of the university’s trustees. On the way, stop to peruse the framed, historical photographs and news clippings that hang on the walls. And be sure to take advantage of Devil’s Kitchen’s seasonal cocktails, especially around September and October, when farmers in Grand Junction, Palisade, and Fruita are harvesting delicious, drip-down-your-chin-juicy peaches.

Five Nines at Clayton Members Club & Hotel

Stepping off Clayton Street into Five Nines feels like being transported to another world, one with sultry mood lighting, plush velvet booths, a thoughtfully curated cocktail menu, jewel-toned accents, and sensuous performances by Hard Candy Dancers. Located on the ground floor of Clayton Members Club & Hotel, Five Nines is decidedly not a speakeasy—there are no passwords or hidden entrances—but it does give off the same mysterious, indulgent vibes as one, only with a more mature, elevated feel. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or not, it’s the perfect spot to treat yourself to a luxurious nightcap after an evening out in Cherry Creek.

The Taproom at The Eddy Taproom & Hotel

Golden’s newest hotel, the 49-room Eddy, is also home to one of the best bars in town (you know the bar is a top priority because “taproom” is in the name). The Eddy Taprooom—and its sprawling patio and lawn space—feels very quintessentially Colorado, thanks to views of the iconic Lookout Mountain, Western-chic decor, and a menu that’s brimming with local craft beers and cocktails (including the hotel’s own signature brews). It’s an ideal spot to post up for a lazy afternoon in the summer and challenge your friends to a game of giant lawn chess. (And if you don’t feel like going home afterward, you can share a nostalgic room with bunk beds at the hotel, too).

Ace Gillett’s at the Armstrong Hotel

With its sexy, vintage vibe and trendy cocktail list, Ace Gillett’s is a Fort Collins favorite for both far-flung travelers staying at the historic Armstrong Hotel and Front Rangers just popping in for a drink. The plush booths, exposed brick walls, rich wood tones, and spinning vinyl make Ace Gillett’s a cozy spot where you’ll want to linger for a few hours. Order a classic cocktail or go for something a bit more playful, like the Roof is on Fire, a bourbon drink served tableside with flaming rosemary that tastes best while listening to Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love.”

Stoke & Rye at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon 

Though Stoke & Rye just opened this summer, it’s already making a splash inside the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon in the Vail Valley. Dreamed up by chef Richard Sandoval, the restaurant serves hearty American fare and alpine-inspired dishes ranging from mountain trout crudo to cast-iron chicken. But Stoke & Rye’s bar also stands on its own: Diners can choose from more than 160 whiskeys, plus an extensive craft cocktail menu when they unwind after a day of hiking or skiing. And the mountain views of the Gore Range from the patio are seriously impressive.

Reynard Social at Thompson Denver

The sophisticated decor, clever cocktails, and massive, floor-to-ceiling windows for taking in the views of Denver make Reynard Social an easy choice for relaxed, sunny Sunday afternoon outings and late-night shenanigans (the bar’s name is a nod to a mythical, mischievous fox, after all). Located on the sixth floor of the brand new Thompson Denver hotel, Reynard Social adeptly pairs its chic, alpine-inspired design with creative small plates and cheekily named drinks with sometimes unexpected ingredients. The Bunny Slope, for instance, is made with mezcal, cinnamon cereal, pineapple, and dairy.

Coppertop Bar at Hotel Colorado

Glenwood Springs’ hot springs and other outdoor adventures tend to get all the attention, but after a day of splashing around in the geothermally heated waters or biking along the Rio Grande Trail, there’s nothing more refreshing than sipping a chilly drink at the Coppertop Bar in the garden of the historic Hotel Colorado. The circa-1893 hotel’s lush courtyard is bejeweled with flowers and shaded by tall trees that make the Glenwood summer heat more bearable—and invigorating cocktails like summer spritzers and gimlets don’t hurt either. 

54thirty Rooftop at Le Meridien

As Denver’s highest open-air bar, 54thirty offers some of the best views in town. And as if ogling the Mile High City’s dramatic sunsets and twinkling skyline wasn’t enough, this bar atop the Le Meridien Hotel also has a diverse drink menu with a little something for everyone—classy craft cocktails, on-trend frozen drinks, bubbles, beer, and more. 54thirty is so popular that it can be hard to get a spot (it’s all first-come, first-served here—no reservations, unfortunately), but it’s well worth the wait when you’re finally able to gaze out over the Rockies with an All Day Frosé or a glass of prosecco in your hand. 

Timber Room at Madeline Hotel & Residences

Last year, Madeline Hotel & Residences completed a major refresh of its 83 guest rooms and public spaces, a project that included opening the Timber Room, a stylish après-ski bar and restaurant that quickly became a Telluride hot spot. And with the Timber Room’s warm, brightly lit bar, intimate seating nooks, smart cocktail list (we recommend the Pond Skim, made with brown-butter bourbon, Montenegro amaro, Contratto bitters, and burnt blood orange), and hearty mountain fare, it’s easy to understand why. The high-end hotel is located in Mountain Village at the base of the slopes, so it offers easy access to all the outdoor adventures the San Juans have to offer, while still being just a quick free gondola ride from downtown Telluride.

License No. 1 at Hotel Boulderado

Tucked beneath the historic Hotel Boulderado, License No. 1 has been a Boulder staple (legally) since 1969, when the state issued it one of the first liquor licenses after Prohibition. Today, this popular subterranean bar makes both classic and more inventive cocktails (like the Night Owl, made with Myer’s dark rum, coffee infused-Campari, Kahlúa, pineapple, and lemon) in a warm, inviting environment that’s reminiscent of a speakeasy. And with a full calendar of rotating live music and “underground comedy” shows, there’s always a new reason to visit.

This article was originally published in 5280 July 2022.
Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta is Colorado-based writer and editor. She writes about travel, lifestyle, food and beverage, fitness, education and anything with a great story behind it.