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Denver may not be Disney World, but it certainly is one of the happiest places on Earth during summertime. And what better way to enjoy a hot afternoon than in a cool breeze with a drink in hand? Thanks to the Mile High City’s burgeoning bar-and-restaurant scene, Denver faces no shortage of al fresco happy hours. Here, 11 of our favorites.
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Go to: Tupelo Honey
For: A Rockies pregame
Neighborhood: Union Station
Happy hour: Martini lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; daily deals from 4–7 p.m.
Deals: 75-cent martinis, $1 Coors Banquet during home games
There are plenty of reasons to rejoice when the Rockies have a home game. Sure, it also means heavier traffic and swarms of purple-clad Denverites, but that’s all the more reason to find a relaxing patio. Downtown, it doesn’t get much better than Tupelo Honey, which offers $1 Coors Banquet drafts alongside any shared plate when the Rockies are home. Even better, check out the 75-cent martinis (available when you purchase a meal) during its Seersucker Martini Lunch. It also offers daily deals, which include $6 house wine and $2 off signature cocktails.
Go to: Cattivella
For: Wood-fired fare with house-made cocktails
Happy hour: Everyday, 4–6 p.m.
Deals: $6 mules, $5 draft beer, $2.75 charbroiled oysters
This is the rare occasion where our advice is to not spend as much time as possible on the patio’s walk-up bar. Kick back and enjoy discounted signature cocktails (try the Bitter Truth, which shines thanks to fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice) to $6 mules with ginger beer made right at Cattivella. Do all of that. But also venture inside and order some food at the largest chef’s counter in Denver.
Go to: Postino
For: A wine buzz
Happy hour: Everyday until 5 p.m.
Deals: $5 pitchers of beer, $5 glasses of wine
When it comes to daily happy hour, the deals don’t get much better than Postino’s “$5 Until Five.” From the time this LoHi shop opens until 5 p.m., it’s serving up glasses of wine that are (in some cases) more than 50 percent off. But there’s also something for those who prefer hops to grapes: $5 pitchers of beer to enjoy on the patio, which overlooks downtown Denver.
Go to: Vital Root
For: Hyper-local (and healthy) food and drinks
Happy hour: Tuesday through Sunday, 3–6 p.m.
Deals: $5 beer, wine, and cocktails; $2 tacos
Wholesome and delicious. That’s what people have come to expect from Justin Cucci’s Vital Root in Berkeley. It should come as no surprise that people can expect the same from this happy hour. For $2, try the pickled vegetable banh mi tacos (the herbs were grown on its back patio). That means you can indulge sans guilt…well, at least not about happy hour.
Go to: High Point Creamery
For: Dessert, of course
Happy hour: Monday through Thursday, 5–7 p.m.
Deals: $7 ice cream flights
Yes, ice cream flights are a thing. And yes, Hilltop’s High Point Creamery has more than enough options to make every last bite of its five-flavor flights delectable. The flights, which are normally closer to $10, come with waffle wedges as well as your choice of hot fudge or caramel sauce—both of which are made in-house. The only way to go wrong is if you don’t choose the “Tin Cup Whiskey with Pistachio Brittle” as one of those five flavors. Trust us.
Go to: Charcoal Bistro
For: Your friendly neighborhood bar
Neighborhood: Washington Park
Happy hour: Everyday, 4–6 p.m.
Deals: $6 wine, $5–$6 craft beers, $3 off specialty cocktails, and $5 sliders
Washington Park’s nearly one-year-old Charcoal Bistro brings high-quality fare to a casual setting better than most. It’s feels like your neighborhood bar, but one that offers tzatziki-coated lamb sliders ($5) and creative twists on old drinks, such the Toronto Manhattan, which replaces vermouth with some more bitter fernet-branca.
Go to: City O’ City
For: A date with seitan
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Happy hour: Everyday, 2–6 p.m.; 11 p.m.–close
Deals: $7 for 12 seitan wings, $2 off everything behind the bar (daytime happy hour), and $4 house wines (late night happy hour)
City O’ City has some of the best vegetarian fare in town, thanks to its use of seitan, a wheat-based meat replacement with a texture that imitates chicken much better than, say, tofu. Lucky for us, happy hour here means buffalo or barbecue seitan wings are $5 off and tacos are $2. If you can’t manage to clock out early and take advantage of the food deals, try City O’ City’s late-night happy hour, which offers house wines for $4.
Go to: Coperta
For: Date night
Happy hour: Weekdays, 2–6 p.m; weekends, 4–6 p.m.
Deals: $6 Vini on tap—a white, red, and dry Rosé
This aptly named Southern Italian-inspired restaurant—Coperta means “blanket” in Italian—is the perfect place to cozy up with a date and some vino. This family-owned restaurant provides undeniable quality with its simple dishes. Such is the case with its mozzarella, which comes in two varieties: buffalo’s and cow’s milk. It’s almost as if—cough, cough—Coperta wants to set an example for how you act on a date (be natural).
Go to: Los Chingones
For: Satisfying your taco cravings
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 3–6 p.m.
Deals: $2 tacos, $5 house margaritas, $5 cocktail of the day
The rooftop at Los Chingones in RiNo offers a large bar, plenty of seating (including wooden lawn chairs), and elevated views of the surrounding skyline. By the way, the food is delicious. Tacos for $2 are practically a steal, and $5 margs means you’ll have to stop yourself from getting a second (or third). Bonus: Check out the spacious, west-facing rooftop patio at Los Chingones’ new Stapleton outpost.
Go to: The Populist
For: An intimate night out, even for big groups
Happy hour: Tuesday through Friday, 5–7 p.m.
Deals: $6 house-made tonics (gin or vodka) and $6 wines
The most visible part of the Populist speaks volumes to its character. Ivy-covered walls make the outdoor seating area feel remote, and the low-hanging lights add comfort and distract from the power lines looming over the wooden picnic tables, where you can grab a spot for you and 10 friends. Happy hour here affords you the chance to have high-quality cocktails (the Populist’s house-made tonic is second-to-none) and wine at a discounted price.