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In a world that tries to dictate what defines a “normal” circadian rhythm—a world that reserves the worm for the early bird and never the night owl—Denver’s late-night eats are a sacred treasure for those of us who thrive under the moonlight.
Sure, the nocturnal haunts here might not measure up to the sheer quantity of greasy, after-midnight offerings in bigger cities. (Beyond fast-food chains, Denver’s late-night food scene does feel relatively scarce for a city of 700,000-plus people.) But as someone who often slinks into booths looking for late-night writing fuel—or, let’s be honest, something smothered or fried after a night closing down the bars—I can confidently say our scattering of locally owned late-night eateries more than make up for it in charm. It’s a fact I cling to often for solace, even as the pandemic wreaks relentless havoc on the restaurant industry, forcing us to mourn Tom’s Diner, the Breakfast King, and closures of too many other open-late establishments.
Perhaps our seemingly humble late-night scene—despite its still-stellar array of cuisines and deals—is a sign of the city’s growing pains. But for me and my fellow insomniacs, these spaces represent a reprieve from all the uncertainties and constant change—where you can count on the unwavering stability of a good burrito, a cheap drink, and a knowing smile from another late-night warrior working the counter.
It’s the midnight happy hours, the pizza shops dishing out comfort by the slice, and the 24-hour diners that become the heartbeat of a city when the sun sets and everything slows to a stop. It’s the mom-and-pop shops maneuvering already-razor-thin margins to staff their outpost and satiate our munchies at an hour when no one else will. It’s the valiant army of food trucks slinging eats for weekend bar crowds, who deserve an entire anthem of their own.
Denver’s small-but-mighty late-night scene is brimming with classic and creative eats—from cheesy quesabirria tacos to char-grilled oysters to all-day breakfast platters fresh off a griddle. And when you find yourself on your next quest for after-hours food in our city, know that it’s a world worth celebrating. You just have to know where to look. Here, eight of our favorite spots.
Editor’s Note: This is a living list of the best late-night eats and was last updated on Oct 3, 2022. Did we miss your favorite? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To have Pony Up’s rotating treasure trove of comfort foods available until 1 a.m. (and 2 a.m. on weekends) feels almost too good to be true, with all-night menu items including twice-cooked crispy potatoes, soft Bavarian pretzels, and the main attraction: the kitchen’s fresh takes on the classic French dip (like the Saigon, featuring sliced pork, spicy mayo, and jalapeños in between a bao bun with pho broth for dipping). Wash it down with swanky craft elixirs, well-shaken classic cocktails, or even your choice of beer-and-shot combos for $10. 1808 Blake St.; Sunday–Thursday, 4 p.m.–1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.–2 a.m.
This cozy Capitol Hill haunt shucks oysters and serves beloved Italian bites well past the dinner hour. Snag a table before the kitchen closes at 11 p.m. on weekends and indulge in late-night deals on eight-inch pizza pies ($7); meatball, sausage, or caprese sliders ($3; or $5 for crab-cake style); and the last of the day’s fresh oysters at $1 a pop. Or, try your bivalves char-grilled—an Angelo’s signature—for $2 each while you sip your choice of a house red or white wine from Carboy Winery ($2 off after 9 p.m.) 620 E. 6th Ave.; Sunday–Thursday, 11 a.m–10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; happy Hour daily, 3–6 p.m. and 9 p.m.–close
This year-old joint slings its New York–meets-Neapolitan-style sourdough pizza to weekend warriors until midnight every Friday and Saturday in the dining room and out of its walk-up, alleyway pizza window, where you can feast on classic and specialty flavors (like the Diavolo, with sopressata, pepperoni, jalapeño, and yellow peppers) by the slice or as whole pies. Come for all-night happy hour every Tuesday for scores on garlic knots and other apps, cocktails from the full-service bar, or a slice and a beer ($6; or $8, with a glass of wine). 2705 Larimer St.; Sunday–Thursday, 5 p.m.–10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m.–12 a.m.; happy hour Monday–Friday, 5–6 p.m
Warm your belly with a helping of bún bò huế beef noodle soup, bún mắm fish soup, or dozens of other traditional broth and noodle bowls at this casual Vietnamese eatery, where the kitchen is open until 3 a.m. on weekends. 1195 S. Federal Blvd.; Sunday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 a.m.
This long-standing vegan watering hole is the go-to after hours for industry workers and hungry Cap Hill denizens alike, with late-night eats available every day until 11 p.m.—think ravioli, seitan “wings,” loaded nachos, and poutine—plus happy hour drink deals ($7 mules, $1 off draft beers or house wines, and more) from 10 p.m.–12 a.m. 206 E 13th Ave.; 10 a.m.–12 p.m.; happy hour daily, 3–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–12 a.m.
Slide into a booth or grab a stool at the bar to watch line cooks work their magic at Denver’s only 24-hour diner, where you can feast on everything from classic breakfast platters to burgers to gyro sandwiches. Drawing in myriad late-night crowds at the heart of Colfax, the mainstay is a melting pot of late-night life in the Mile High City, nourishing Denverites for over four decades through more than just reliable greasy eats. 1962 E. Colfax Ave.; Sunday–Thursday, 7 a.m.–9 p.m.; open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday
Keep the party rolling after an evening on Broadway at this taquería and bar, where after-midnight crowds often spill in for the giant, mouthwatering quesadillas, crispy quesabirria tacos, and other irresistible Mexican eats, which are available until 3 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday. 1043 N. Broadway; Sunday–Wednesday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–3 a.m.
Located on the fringes of Coors Field, this central pub is a convenient pit stop for any downtown night owl or ballpark bar-goer. Nosh on shareable grub like wings, carnitas tacos, and Buffalo chicken egg rolls, plus sandwiches, pizza pies, and other can’t-go-wrong menu options until 2 a.m. Bonus: Count on drink deals every night from 10 p.m. to close, including $5 craft beers on tap. 1801 Wynkoop St.; Monday–Friday, 3 p.m.–2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.–2 a.m.