Bars and nightlife in Denver

Denver After Dark: Discover Drinks, Music, and Everything in Between

From breweries to stylish speakeasies, Denver has a vibrant nightlife to explore after a day out seeing the city, walking the trails, exploring the mountains, and uncovering Denver’s secrets.

Mindy Sink
May 30, 2023

Outdoor recreation is usually the appeal for visitors to Denver, but there is also a thriving nightlife year-round. Denver is estimated to have over 70 breweries and at least that many in the greater metro area, bringing the total to more like 150 breweries. While beer was certainly available in Denver before 1988, the opening of the Wynkoop Brewing Company that year is considered the beginning of this city’s craft brewing history. John Hickenlooper was one of the founders of the Wynkoop Brewing Company and he went on to become a popular mayor of Denver, then governor of the state, and is now a senator for Colorado. You can learn more about this history and the making of beer on various brewery tours and by hitting the Denver Beer Trail. Whether you like your drinks stiff and classic or fresh and frothy, there is likely a bar for you in Denver. The cocktail scene is ever-changing and creative with strong themes for bars and lounges to attract specific groups of people. Wine is also on the menu in Denver, where it can seem in competition with the hoppin’ beer scene. If you are a wine lover, do not miss the urban wineries and a wine tour and tasting.

The Cruise Room

Come for the Instagram snaps and stay for the classic cocktails – including martinis, sidecars, and gimlets – at The Cruise Room inside The Oxford Hotel in LoDo. Opened in 1933 and inspired by the Queen Mary for its Art Deco design, The Cruise is one of the city’s oldest bars. There are small bites available in addition to the drinks menu. There is no dress code, but no one would look out of place here if they decided to throw on their flapper dress or zoot suit. The Cruise Room is as likely to be filled with tourists as locals on any given night.

Address: 1600 17th St

Cooper Lounge

There are a few bars inside Union Station, but the one with the best view of this historic building is the Cooper Lounge. To get here, you need to find the staircase at the south end of the station and ascend to the second floor, then walk down the hallway east toward the bar. Huge windows at either end of the station provide natural light and a sense of expansiveness over the building’s stunning Great Hall where you might hear live music or see holiday décor. Classic cocktails, wine, and small bites are available. Given the small space, reservations are recommended, especially for larger groups.

Address: 1701 Wynkoop St.

Death & Co

Death & Co. is in the lobby of the Ramble Hotel and I can sum it up in one word: sexy. This is the type of place where you could get away with your shorts and sandals, but why not put on that slinky dress or a new suit and fit right in? Rather than just order drinks, plan for a discussion with your server or bartender about what’s trending or seasonally fresh ingredients. There’s a non-alcoholic menu for the mocktail set here too. In addition to drinks like Disco Kitten, Worried About the Weather, and Frontier Psychiatrist, there is a full beer and wine menu. The food menu is small but will take the edge off your boozy night.

Address: 1280 25th St.

Williams & Graham

During the Prohibition years, people found creative ways to still have bars and the most popular version that has endured was the “speakeasy.” The idea of being a secret is a bit of a joke given that they usually have a line down the street waiting to get in, but once inside the vibe is real as you wait for an attendant to allow you in behind the faux bookcase. Once in the bar, it’s dimly lit and intimate. For those who don’t want to take a chance, make a reservation here for their tasty bites and creative cocktails.

Address: 3160 Tejon St.

Infinite Monkey Theorem

The Infinite Monkey Theorem was founded in a Quonset hut in a back alley in Denver and was so popular it moved to an old warehouse where it became possible to offer tours of their winemaking process. Wine in a can? You can get it here. Wine with yoga? Sure. Food trucks provide light bites. Book ahead for wine tastings and tours at the Infinite Monkey Theorem, or just pop in to relax in the “industrial chic” ambiance while sampling their Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, or Cabernet Franc. Today, Infinite Monkey Theorem is woman-owned and strives to appeal to female customers.

Address: 3200 Larimer St.

Carboy Winery

Carboy Winery has four locations in Colorado and is all about celebrating Colorado-made wines. Although not all of the wine here was made with grapes grown in-state, each bottle has a story about its provenance. Reservations are encouraged and walk-ins are welcome if there is room. Plan ahead for tastings and tours at Carboy Winery. When drinking wines here, you can feel good about your environmental impact, too, as the company believes in carbon farming and regenerative agriculture practices, which they strive to implement in their own vineyards.

Address: 400 E. 7th Ave.

Wynkoop Brewing Company

Try Patty’s Chile Beer for a spicy kick to your hops or, when available, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout.

The Wynkoop Brewing Company has been in this spot since the late 1980s when Denver’s Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood was still filled with a lot of empty warehouses. You could easily spend a whole day and night here, just sampling different beers, noshing on pub food, and playing some pool. Book a private tour of the brewery in advance. The tap list at the Wynkoop Brewing Company is seasonal, with many items available at all times and some seasonal, much like a farmers’ market. This is competitive beer. so you’ll be learning which ones won various awards at the Great American Beer Festival.

Address: 1634 18th St.

Raices Brewing Company

Raices Brewing Company sets itself apart from the competition by being a Latino-owned business with award-winning beer and a Latin-inspired food menu. A non-alcoholic drink menu has a Raices Malt in various sizes, which is an in-house brew to complement the empanadas on the food menu. Their taproom and brews have won many awards over the years: Try the Raiz, Furia, Latina, or Valle del Sol. Check their calendar for upcoming events as they have an eclectic mix of live music, vendors selling handmade goods, and food trucks.

Address: 2060 W. Colfax Ave.

Beer Spa

At The Beer Spa you can soak in a “Beer Bath” made of water and other ingredients that go into beer like hops and barley. The experience is like soaking in a hot tub. While immersed in this “beer-like fizz” you can also drink beer, or choose from a menu that includes wine, hard cider, kombucha and non-alcoholic drinks. An evening as The Beer Spa gives new meaning to “getting tanked” maybe?

Address: 3004 N. Downing St.


Tracks has been part of the LGTBQ+ scene in Denver for decades and, in addition to the music and dancing offered Wednesday through Saturday nights, they have an active calendar of special events too. There are guest DJ nights, a night for people who are 18 years of age or older, open mic, and drag nights. Don’t be surprised if there is a line to get in here!

Address: 3500 Walnut St.


Nights and Days

Dazzle is the place for jazz and drinks, but they also offer special brunch days. Make sure you check their calendar to find out what’s on offer during your visit to Denver.

There is more than jazz music happening at Dazzle with drinks, food, and other types of music performed here. Your ticket is your reservation for the music event; you’ll need to have a another ticket for a second seating. There is a $20 food and drink minimum, in addition to the performance ticket. It’s supper club style where you enjoy dinner and drinks while the music plays.

Address: 1512 Curtis St.

Larimer Lounge

If you like indie music and a gritty location, Larimer Lounge will deliver. This small venue has a wide variety of programming: a bingo night, DJ sets, nights for people who are 16 years and older, and live music with smaller bands, such as Vandelux and Coco & Breezy.

Address: 2721 Larimer St.

About the author

Mindy SinkGuidebook author and travel writer Mindy has lived in Denver most of her life and is the author of a few guidebooks about the city and other places in Colorado. She loves to travel with her husband and their daughter in places where they can explore on foot, including hiking. Mindy writes frequently for The Denver Post about finding adventures in your own backyard.