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We love a good coffee shop. A place with chill vibes and warm drinks. We’re also suckers for a thoughtful cocktail bar. A place that invites conversation over well-balanced drinks—and perhaps a few snacks. But our favorite trend of the past few years is the blending of the two: somewhere that’s open from morning to night, with both caffeine and booze on the menu. (And, no, we’re not just referring to the oh-so-trendy espresso martini.) Luckily, Denver is home to many of these cafe-bar hybrids—true neighborhood spots that encourage guests to linger. Here, 10 of our favorites across the city.
Hello Darling in Riverfront Park seamlessly blends Scandinavian design (soft woods, lots of natural light) and the lighthearted millennial aesthetic (lush plants, pastel tones) into a space that’s welcoming whether you’re catching up with friends or—the less fun option—on your inbox. During daylight hours, you’ll be fueled by MiddleState Coffee, Hearth Bakery pastries, and hand-rolled Dis Burrito breakfast burritos. Later on (the cafe is open every day until at least 9 p.m.), switch your order to a classic cocktail or glass of wine and a charcuterie board. Can’t decide? Get the best of both worlds with a carajillo, a popular Spanish drink that spikes hot coffee with liqueur. 1610 Little Raven St., Unit 110
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Hudson Hill and The Wild
Capitol Hill’s Hudson Hill is among the city’s grand dames of day-to-night cafe bars. Its charming milieu—blond woods, green houseplants, funky tile—has only gained in popularity since opening in 2016. In 2021, co-owner Jake Soffes added the Wild in LoDo to his hospitality portfolio. Both venues offer sophisticated yet casual settings in which to sip a cortado or a glass of red while nibbling on snacky bites or pastries (from La Fillette Bakery); the bars are also laid out in ways that allow for private meetings or more lively catch-ups, depending on where you sit. The soundtracks at both are energizing, and the Wild’s set-back patio allows patrons to take advantage of that ever-present Denver sunshine. Hudson Hill: 619 E. 13th Ave.; The Wild: 1660 Wynkoop St., Unit 100
The newest member of Mary Nguyen’s Olive & Finch Collective brings some much-needed vibrancy to downtown’s still-under-construction 16th Street Mall. Loud music and deep blue walls create an upbeat vibe, while a fake fire and a plethora of plants offer a sense of calm amid the bustle outside. But our favorite thing about Little Finch is that patrons can take their pick from the lineup of coffee drinks—including iced Vietnamese coffee and a honey and lavender shaken espresso—and cocktails (or mocktails) no matter the time: The cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. And that includes choosing from the fabulous selection of pastries, quiches, salads, and shareable snacks, which are also available to-go. Good to know: There are numerous charging outlets for remote workers. 1490 16th Street Mall
The Molecule Effect
If you’re looking for a community hub, the Molecule Effect is it. The laid-back cafe bar is known for hosting a packed calendar of events, from trivia nights to drag bingo to live music. Local art covers the walls of its Wash Park West outpost. Of course, there’s also the loaded menu of coffee drinks, wines, beers, and cocktails (tip: espresso martinis are two-for-one on Saturdays) available until at least 8 p.m. For sustenance, pick from a selection of breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and flatbreads. (The original Art District on Santa Fe outpost is currently closed as the owners work on securing a larger, neighboring location.) 300 S. Logan St., Unit 100
Even with its neon sign, it’s easy to walk right past Queens Eleven, which is nestled into a mixed-use building at a busy Five Points intersection. But the spot is worth searching for. Its dim lighting, velvet booths, and muraled wall are all quintessential cocktail bar. The short list of tipples—all priced at a clever $11.11—has an option for every palate (we’re currently digging the purple-hued Ziggy Stardust made with butterfly pea flower–infused gin), and there’s a small selection of beer and wine too. But Queens Eleven is equally hip in the a.m., when it slings coffee drinks and breakfast burritos. Whenever you visit, be sure to order a cinnamon roll—or, a “lil’ naughty” in Queens Eleven speak. 3603 Walnut St.
The Radiator had big mugs to fill when it took over long-standing community favorite Common Ground’s shuttered space in Sunnyside. Named after the radiator business that once operated in the building, the modern-industrial cafe is a lively space where work-from-homers—the website lauds the location as a “coffee shop workspace”—and neighbors are invited to hang out all day, whether perched on couches or out on the patio. Fresh-made bagel sandwiches and coffee are the a.m. focus (co-owner Sarah Green also runs Leroy’s Bagels). The menu transitions to salads and paninis and then draft beers, wines, cocktails, and shareable apps as the work day winds downs. 2139 W. 44th Ave.
Cocktail connoisseurs mourned when speakeasy Green Russell closed its subterranean Larimer Square location on New Year’s Eve 2022. Thankfully, the sorrow was short-lived: The staff donned their aprons once again when Salita opened on the corner of East Seventh Avenue and Grant Street in late January. The sunlit patio is the perfect perch for a morning espresso and pastry (from LoDough Bakery), while the black-walled interior is well-suited to the lineup of inventive, thoughtful cocktails—often mixed with house-made syrups—available later in the day. Our current favorite: the blend of gin, Yellow Chartreuse, and fermented honey garlic syrup in the Birds, Bees, Flowers, Trees. Though it’s officially coffee from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and cocktails after 5 p.m., the cafe bar’s team is happy to whip up your desired drink no matter the hour. 701 Grant St.
One piece of evidence that West Colfax is on the rise: the opening of Side Pony in March. The small corner spot is a collaboration between the F&B experts at downtown’s Pony Up (hence the name) and the team behind Duality, a boutique fitness studio next door. It follows, then, that the food menu includes healthy bites like avocado toast, a breakfast parfait, and a cashew pesto board. Don’t worry: There are also the requisite pastries (from Reunion Bread Co), as well as an affogato and honey butter waffle on the menu. The sunlit space’s java lineup, made with Queen City Collective Coffee, skews traditional—though there is a protein latte for a post-workout boost. The concise list of wines and cocktails was designed by Krista Orlebeck, who recently won the Southwest division of the Speed Rack bartending competition. Don’t miss the fig-infused daiquiri, a belly-warming twist on the classic. 4635 W. Colfax Ave., Unit 100
Vibe Coffee and Wine
When Vibe Coffee and Wine opened in June 2021, it brought a much-needed caffeinated coworking space to downtown. The spacious venue—with bar seating, high-tops, couches, and semi-private booths—is equally appealing to tourists meeting up before a show at the nearby Denver Center for the Performing Arts and locals looking to take a break from their home offices. Happily, the drinks lineup is just as varied. In the morning, there’s coffee, superfood lattes, and, yes, cocktails…plus the requisite breakfast burritos and pastries. As the sun drops from view out the large windows, check out the cafe bar’s selection of brews, bubbles, wine, and even more cocktails. 1490 Curtis St.