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Happy hour is practically an institution in Denver, especially on those beautiful fall days when the air is cool, the sun is shining, and a patio is begging you to cut out of work a little early. Luckily, the Mile High City makes it easy to indulge in this feeling with an abundance of generous late-afternoon deals on drinks and bites. Here, 17 of our favorite places to raise an (affordable) glass right now.
Tucked inside the Halcyon Hotel surrounded by Cherry Creek’s upscale boutiques, this all-day bistro is the perfect pit stop during a day of retail therapy in the neighborhood—particularly since happy hour starts at 2 p.m. daily. The menu sports bites by chef Brendalee Vialpando, who adds refined and nostalgic touches to contemporary American dishes. 249 Columbine St.
The Deals: Local Jones’ signature piquillo-pepper-garnished spicy martini ($10) is our thirst-quencher of choice, but there are also deals on sangria ($11 or $30 for a pitcher), a bartender’s choice cocktail ($10), draft beers ($6), and house wines ($9 or $25 for a bottle). Nibble on a rotating selection of fresh oysters ($2 each), fried artichokes hearts ($9), and grilled cheese sandwiches ($9).
Happy Hour: 2–5 p.m., daily
Tucked away in an alley across from Union Station lies the Wild, a spot that your downtown coworkers are sure to love. Swing by on your way to the office to scope out the morning menu of coffee, tea, pastries, and breakfast burritos—but don’t forget to stop back in with your happy hour crew to graze over charcuterie boards adorned with fine cheeses, meats, and seasonal garnishes. For something boozy to pair with your spread, try one of the discounted crafted cocktails (old fashioned, gimlet, margarita, or daiquiri), all of which are even lovelier sipped amid the Wild’s bright and botanical-inspired atmosphere. 1660 Wynkoop St., Suite 100
The Deals: Enjoy discounted libations like a bottle of Modelo with a shot of Pueblo Viejo for $10, or a glass of house wine for $7.
Happy Hour: 4–6 p.m., daily —Barbara Urzua
While chef Lon Symensma’s chandelier- and leather-banquette-adorned ode to French fare is a prime date-night destination, guests can also pop in before 5:30 p.m. to take advantage of a lineup of hearty snacks and sips priced at $11 or less. The eatery offers Symensma’s elevated and inventive spins on all of the greatest bistro hits, from seasonal renditions of chicken liver and foie gras mousse (the latest has Champagne gelée and sparkling grapes) and wagyu steak tartare with smoked oyster aïoli, confit egg yolk, and cornichon. 1510 16th St.
The Deals: Get the aforementioned tartare ($8) and mousse ($6) along with a board and bottle, your choice of cheese and charcuterie with all of the fixings and a bottle of house wine ($25). Or ask for a half-dozen oysters and a bottle of cava ($22).
Happy Hour: Wednesday–Friday, 4–5:30 p.m; Saturday–Sunday 3–5:30 p.m.
Perched on the second floor of Union Station, this swanky spot literally looks down on the masses eating, drinking, and passing through the LoDo transit hub. And most of the time, it can feel like the cost of sipping an expertly crafted cocktail (most are $16 to $22) on one of its eggshell-white leather or velvet lounge chairs is too high for anything but a special occasion. On weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., however, even those on a tight budget can ascend and enjoy a $5 beer or $10 glass of wine or classic mixed drink (options include a negroni, daiquiri, and whiskey sour). The service is just as gracious and polished as any other hour of the day, making you feel like a million bucks without spending more than about $25. Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St.
The Deals: The discounted cocktails still get the Cooper Lounge’s signature setup, arriving in beautiful etched glassware on a silver tray with a tiny cup of nuts and pretzels for nibbling. For more substantial fare, ask to see the day’s selection of $3 aperitif bites, rolled over to your table on a cart; we recently enjoyed cucumber slices topped with smoked salmon, asparagus soup shots, and piquillo-pepper-garnished arancini.
Happy Hour: 4–6 p.m., Monday–Friday —Jessica LaRusso
Having presided over the corner of 16th Street Mall and Blake Street for more than a decade, ChoLon has long called to Denver diners craving upscale Asian fusion eats like Thai Brussels sprouts, Indonesian fried rice, and French onion soup dumplings. Even when the dining room is full, though, the tucked-to-the-side bar area is frequently (and blessedly) less crowded, making it a sweet spot for a leisurely happy hour. 1555 Blake St.
The Deals: Draft beers, including selections from Comrade Brewing and Denver Beer Co., and select glasses of wine are $6, while a nice sparkling Brut rosé is only $8. But if your idea of pre-dinnertime bliss is more boozy, ChoLon’s seven signature cocktails are $3 off MSRP. We’d recommend ordering the bourbon- and Thai-basil-infused Old Saigon ($12) and a smattering of snacks, particularly the pork belly bao buns ($11) and (just to mix it up from our typical order of the divine French onion variety) the “General Cho’s” soup dumplings ($12).
Happy Hour: 2–5:30 p.m., daily —Lindsey B. King
This bustling spot inside Union Station from James Beard Award–winning chef Jennifer Jasinski and business partner Beth Gruitch gives Denverites the opportunity to partake in the Spanish and Portuguese tradition of sharing tapas and pintxos (pronounced “peen-chos,” smaller versions of tapas). To extend your tour of the Iberian Coast, complement your happy hour snacks with a selection of tinned fish or a larger entrée from the dinner menu.
The Deals: Glasses of house sangria, wines, and cava are $6 to $7—but we love the gin tonic and Fords mini martini ($7). The latter is a pint-size gin sipper that comes with the option to add a rotating tapa for $4. Pintxos options include queso pimenton (house-made potato chips, $4), bacon-wrapped dates ($4), and berenjenas (za’atar-zinged fried eggplant)
Happy Hour: 3–6 p.m., Monday–Friday
This Capitol Hill drink den appeals on many levels. The vintage chandeliers and a well-and-shot special (the Capitol Hillbilly) are reminiscent of a dive. The Mediterranean-inspired restaurant offers divine pitas and dips. And staff greets regulars by name, making the watering hole a true neighborhood gathering place. A stellar time to take in the charm is during happy hour, when the bar is less crowded and a large array of snacks and drinks is available for a discounted price.
The Deals: Choose a couple of the five dips ($4)—available in red pepper hummus, pesto, olive, tzatziki, or baba ganoush—and round out your spread with some gyro, burger, sloppy joe, or falafel sliders ($3.5 for one). To drink, you can’t go wrong with the Vesper, a gin-and-vodka house cocktail known as James Bond’s signature drink ($7 all the time), or any of the spirit-forward offerings on tap such as the dark and stormy or paloma ($6).
Happy Hour: Monday, all day; Tuesday–Friday, open–6 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, open–4 p.m.
Denverites line up outside of the downtown Jax location well before it opens at 3:30 p.m. to be among the first to crack into the daily deals on oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, mussels, and other seafaring delights. Sit at the bustling, central bar to get the best LoDo people watching, and enjoy the show as shuckers expertly plate and present their briny morsels. 1539 17th St.
The Deals: Select oysters are $2 each (pair them with $5 hush puppies or fries) or enjoy a pan-ocean sampler of a half-pound peel-and-eat shrimp, six Emersum oysters, and a half-pound of snow crab for $55. Cocktails, wine, and bubbles are just $6 to $8 a glass.
Happy Hour: 3:30–5 p.m., daily
City Park West
The coziest French cafe in City Park West has a trés chic happy hour to match, making for the perfect excuse to grab a marble-topped bistro table and rub shoulders with the city’s francophiles, who can often be found chatting amicably with French owners Alexis and Alexandra Tréton. The wine list consists of grapes carefully selected from the Tréton’s two favorite regions—the United States and France—and bites such as charcuterie, quiche, and cheese boards are inspired by classic French bistro fare. 1100 E 17th Ave.
The Deals: A two-meat, two-cheese board runs $32 (while a one-meat, one-cheese ensemble each is just $18). All tap wines are 25 percent off.
Happy Hour: 4–6 p.m., Tuesday to Friday
Kiendl Smith, Leigh Jones, and Margaret Moore—the female-led team behind Uptown’s Dew Drop Inn—are no strangers to happy hour, having worked in Denver establishments like Horseshoe Lounge and Embassy Tavern. So when they opened their cozy neighborhood watering hole in May 2021, they gave it a happy hour with teeth: nearly all house cocktails are just $8, and call drinks are $5 each. Thoughtful, shareable bites are in abundance, like the $16 Big Bowl of Mussels, prepared in your choice of three broths: Parisian-style white wine, lemon, and garlic; Bangkok-style red curry; or a creamy Tunis-style with fire-roasted tomatoes and harissa. 1033 E. 17th Ave.
The Deals: Seltzer and house wine are $6; call drinks are $5; and Neighborhood Cocktails (think margaritas, palomas, and martinis) are just $8.
Happy Hour: 3–6 p.m., Saturday–Thursday
It’s hard to find cheap drinks in ritzy Cherry Creek North, but Toro, the Richard Sandoval–led restaurant in the Hotel Clio offers a welcome reprieve for the hoi polloi. With a sprawling indoor-outdoor restaurant and patio and oversize leather barstools, it’s easy to wile away the two hours of deals in the environment of your choice. Pair your $6–8 bebidas with a bite prepared by the charismatic and talented chef Oscar Padilla, who prepares pan-Latin specialties including a standout ceviche. 150 Clayton Lane, Ste. B
The Deals: Order $5 beers and $6 house wines alongside $6–$8 cocktails (don’t miss the habanero blood orange margarita). Pair with rich and tangy smoked swordfish dip for $7 or a set of two pork belly street tacos for just $6.
Happy Hour: 3–5 p.m., daily
Share a spread of wood-fired bites while you watch the sun set behind the Rockies on Joy Hill’s covered and heated rooftop patio to experience what feels like one of Denver’s hidden happy hour treasures. The homey South Broadway pizzeria offers daily deals so you can warm your belly with a crock of locally sourced bison meatballs ($7) and a chai old fashioned ($6), or split a bottle of organic house red, white, and rosé wine for only $20. Just be sure to cash in on the $10 bargain for Joy Hill’s most beloved pie: a 12-inch margherita pizza featuring its house-made, hand-stretched mozzarella and naturally leavened sourdough crust, made with heirloom wheat flour from Boulder-based artisan mill Dry Storage. 1229 S. Broadway
The Deals: Shareable food items—pizza, cheese plates, meatballs, and gazpacho—for $10 or less; select cocktails and glasses of wine for $6; and $1 off draft beers
Happy Hour: 4–6 p.m., daily —Madi Skahill
City Park West and Cherry Creek
Everything on happy hour at the daytime restaurant and bakery Olive & Finch seems to be just $4—pint-glass-sized palomas, mules, and fries among them. And even the items not included on the discounted lineup are blissfully affordable) such as the lineup of freshly made baked goods (try the strawberry pop tart or the bacon cinnamon roll) or selection of pressed juices, coffee, and tea. Both locations have indoor and outdoor seating and a casual, playful vibe that begs you to linger just a little longer. 1552 E. 17th Ave.; 3390 E. 1st Ave.
The Deals: Enjoy $4 cocktails and wine, plus discounts on a rotating lineup of small plates and shareables.
Happy Hour: 3–5 p.m., daily
At Work & Class, Dana Rodriguez’s essential meat-and-three concept located in a shipping container in RiNo, the term “Early Work Release Program” is preferred to “happy hour,” but the 60-minute deal window offers indulgences that are easy on the wallet all the same. Cocktails on tap—like aviations, mules, and whiskey sours—and house mixers with a choose-your-own liquor policy are all under $10, along with a lineup of five creative plates to share (or not). 2500 Larimer St.
The Deals: Pick a spirit to pair with the likes of cucumber-mint lemonade or a grapefruit-habanero-rosemary mixer for just $9, or enjoy $2 off wine and $5 suds. Shareable plates like tempura broccoli, ratatouille chile rellenos, and green chile cheese fries are all $8 and under.
Happy Hour: 5–6 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday
Named after executive chef Blake Edmunds, who also goes by Whiskey Bear, Señor Bear serves Latin-inspired dishes with a twist. Its happy hour menu is available every day from 3–5pm and consists of five appetizers and a decent-size drink list of cocktails, beer, wine, and tequila shots (for those extreme happy hour folks). The cocktails run strong and the food arrives hot and fast. Portions do run small, such as the single Gordo Crunch, so make sure to order one each if you do not want to share. 3301 Tejon St.
The Deals: Among other cocktails, the popular passion fruit margarita is just $7, mini queso with chorizo runs $6, and the Gordo Crunch—a take on the Taco Bell staple—costs a blessed fiver.
Happy Hour: 3–5 p.m., daily —Helen Xu
Technically, Postino on Broadway doesn’t have a traditional happy hour, but it has something even better—deals every day from open to 5 p.m., and late-night happy hour on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you’re famished at 8 p.m., mosey over for a $25 combo of a bottle of wine and one of their delectable boards such as the Chef’s Charcuterie, a platter of thinly sliced meats, cheeses, veggies, and nuts. While all the Postinos in the area—LoHi, Highlands Ranch, Postino 9 + Co, and soon-to-open in Boulder—have spacious patios and fun decor. The Broadway outpost sports a Murano glass chandelier over funky orange sofas, and peeping from the walls are hundreds of concert posters from the ’60s and ’70s, creating a funky vibe that fits its Baker home. Postino Broadway, 145 N. Broadway
The Deals: $6 glasses of (actually good) wine and $5 pitchers of frothy local draft beer, available for a full six hours every day.
Happy Hour: 11 a.m.–5 p.m., daily —Charli Ornett
Even fans of bitter brews have been known to convert after trying the sour selections at Five Points’ Goed Zuur. The collection of 20-some rotating drafts, plus a generous selection of bottles and cans, means there is always just the right drink to perfectly pair with Goed Zuur’s renowned meat and cheese selections. For the adventurous, the chef’s choice mini board is a must: The restaurant’s pros pick one meat and one cheese (or two cheeses) and masterfully embellish the board with bites like sunflower seeds, fresh bread, raspberry jam, and some of the most delightful house-made pickles you’ll ever have. 2801 Welton St.
The Deals: Take advantage of select sours at a discounted rate, as well as $2 off all wines by the glass and $2 off a select medley of 10-ounce drafts.
Happy Hour: 4–6 p.m., daily —Barbara Urzua