1. The Wild

1660 Wynkoop St.,  Suite 100, LoDo
The team behind Hudson Hill and Lady Jane have figured out the formula for a charming, day-to-night cocktail bar and coffeeshop: a tranquil, sunshine-filled space; warm hospitality; and a thoughtfully curated roster of libations and snacks. The Wild’s interior—designed by co-owner Jake Soffes and architecture firm Unum Collaborative—sports verdant plants, light woods, and contemporary works of art by Denver landscape painter Noelle Phares.

The caffeinated offerings from Middle State Coffee are delicious, as are the seasonally rotating cocktails—but don’t overlook the wine program. General manager and sommelier Suzanne Roberts’ 60-bottle list includes stellar selections from lesser-known biodynamic, natural, and woman-owned wineries. Pair a cheese and charcuterie board or a Rebel Bread croissant with a glass of cava on the walled-in patio for a peaceful escape from the bustle of adjacent Union Station.

2. The L

46 N Broadway, Speer
Beverage pros and Green Russell alums Adam Hodak and Alex Lerman are serious about satisfying every kind of drinker, and the welcoming watering hole they opened on Broadway in mid-January reflects that passion. The L’s drink menu features everything from smart takes on spirit-forward classic cocktails (like the tricolor, rum-heavy Queens Park Swizzle) to $4 cans of Coors Banquet and Montucky Cold Snacks to sparkling rosé from Spain.

Inside, a floor-to-ceiling mural of kaleidoscopic flowers dominates the space, setting a whimsical, energetic vibe that extends to the front patio, which connects to the bar via garage doors. With killer happy hour specials ($7 cocktails, anyone?) and DJs spinning tunes until midnight or later, the L is a lively early evening and late-night hangout. To that end, if you need an after-hours pick-me-up, the espresso martini—a blend of vodka, coffee liqueur, cold brew, and aged Venezuelan rum—should do the trick, but Hodak and Lerman are more than happy to pour you a regular rum and Coke, too.

3. Nest Café & Bar

2949 Federal Blvd., West Highland
At Nurture, a wellness collective in West Highland, you can bask in a Himalayan salt cave, get a massage, rehydrate at an IV bar, take fitness classes, and, as of May, grab a drink. Co-owner Kelly Campbell’s on-site bar, Nest, serves cocktails, mocktails, wines, and coffee, all produced with natural ingredients.

Toast a fruitful reiki session with a sipper like the Rockette—an herbaceous concoction with spicy wild arugula from nearby Tasty Acres Farm, gin, and lime—or the shiitake old fashioned, an umami-rich play on the classic with mushroom-infused whiskey, almond-flavored grappa, and bitters. And because Nest’s drinks are less likely than the average boozy beverage to disrupt the body’s systems, you can leave feeling refreshed.

This article was originally published in 5280 August 2021.
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia joined the 5280 staff in July 2019 and is thrilled to oversee all of the magazine’s dining coverage. Follow her food reporting adventures on Instagram @whatispattyeating.