9 Best Bars in Denver With Amazing Drinks & Cocktails
Updated: Jan 12
Originally published on HashtagColordadoLife.com.
Most people associate Denver, Colorado with craft beer. With over 140 breweries in the city, it’s easy to understand why.
But the Mile High City offers much more than just beer to those looking for an amazing drink.
Maybe you’re craving a glass of wine, a delicious cocktail, or a tiki drink. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find them all over this city. You just need to know where to look.
Here are nine of the best bars in Denver to enjoy a delicious drink or sip on a tasty cocktail.
Believe it or not, one of Denver’s most popular bars, Linger, used to be a mortuary.
You can see remnants of its eerie past in the casket rollers along the bar. Or in the giant rooftop sign that once read “Olinger Mortuaries”, but now reads “Linger Eatuaries”. The Denver restaurant group, Edible Beats, took over the abandoned mortuary building over 12 years ago.
They made sure to keep lots of the original interior like the exposed brick walls and the garage doors that were once used for hearses.
They’ve also added modern touches like their Lite-Brite decorated bar and their hippy van-turned-bar on the rooftop.
Linger’s extensive drink menu features some of the best cocktails in Denver, including the Resting Place, Frozen Painkiller, and the Corpse Reviver.
As just one of Edible Beats’ ESOP employee-owned restaurants, Linger’s bar manager, Devin Perry, encourages bartenders to come up with new drink concoctions every few months to keep the menu fresh and unique.
One of the most popular drinks here is the New Saigon: a bright, refreshing blend of gin, lime, basil, jalapeno, and cucumber, complete with a grains of paradise, turmeric, and black pepper rim. “This drink will never leave the menu,” says Perry.
Linger also offers a full kitchen where they dish out global street food with plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Try a variety of steamed bao buns or the Dahi Puri “Perfect Bites.” Or indulge in their popular Potato Masala Dosa that has been using the same fermentation culture since 2010.
You also won’t want to miss Linger’s weekend brunch that features their Bibingka Benedict, Hangover Ramen, and of course, bottomless mimosas.
Grab a seat at the bar or enjoy the view from the rooftop, and keep an eye out for the ghosts that still linger within this LoHi bar.
Must-Try Drinks at Linger:
2. Ghost Donkey
Ghost Donkey, a tequila bar serving Mexican-inspired cocktails in a cozy lounge, started in Manhattan in 2018.
They quickly rose to fame as the 2020 Cocktail Bar of the Year by Imbibe Magazine. Since then, they've launched multiple new locations in Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Auckland, with more openings planned in Omaha and Dallas.
Entering the bar in the LoDo district, I immediately felt transported to Mexico by the smell of palo santo, the colorful ambience, the textile furniture, and the incredible hospitality from the staff.
I was welcomed into the bar and immediately served a tasting of three different mezcals — from the 76 they have available. Each drink was served in a vaso veladora, a traditional Oaxaca tequila glass.
I’m not typically a tequila or mezcal drinker, but after tasting these expertly crafted, single village mezcals, I will absolutely be back for more.
Sipping mezcal on its own was great, but the mixed drinks took me to a whole other level.
Ghost Donkey’s drink menu features all kinds of unique cocktails, from a frozen margarita to ones that infuse roasted poblanos and mushrooms.
My personal favorite was the Chichicapa, which is their take on a grasshopper. It’s made with avocado washed koch espadin, pistachio orgeat, crème de menthe, and coconut.
If you’re hungry, Ghost Donkey has multiple types of nachos for you to choose from. All of which have plenty of melted cheese and traditional Mexican toppings.
And if you’re not sure what to drink, just ask! The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and they’ll find a drink that’s right for you.
Make sure to stick around past sunset to see this bar come to life. This is when the lights go down, the music goes up, and you may get the chance to make your own margarita behind the bar!
Must-Try Drinks at Ghost Donkey:
3. Williams & Graham
When you visit Williams & Graham, one of the best bars in Denver, you’ll step back into the Prohibition Era.
Business partners Todd Colehour and Sean Kenyon opened this speakeasy-style bar back in 2011. And guests have been flocking to the LoHi location ever since.
When you walk through their secret bookcase entrance you’ll immediately be transported back in time.
The soft lighting, mahogany bar, and black-and-white photos create a cozy, secluded atmosphere that’s perfect for a romantic date night evening.
To add to the ambience, Williams & Graham has kept the original wood flooring and tin ceiling from the building’s original inception in 1905.
Williams & Graham offers a carefully curated list of drinks, from sake to beer to wine, and of course, all sorts of creative cocktails.
When the bar first opened, Kenyon created the Blackberry Sage Smash (a cocktail made with Woody Creek Rye, blackberries, sage, lemon, and sugar). Since then it has become a staple that will never leave the menu.
The bartenders at Williams & Graham are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate, crafting truly unique cocktails with the change of every season.
While you’re sipping on a handcrafted drink, enjoy food from their bill of fare like the Roasted Bone Marrow served with bacon jam, and toasted ciabatta. Or order their Royale with Cheese, a fresh burger topped with foie gras torchon, bacon, black truffle “caviar,” white cheddar, Soleggiatti tomato, and 15-year balsamic.
Reservations here are strongly encouraged, though walk-ins are always welcome.
Must-Try Drinks at Williams & Graham:
Blackberry Sage Smash
Any of the seasonal libations (these change often, and once they’re gone, they aren’t coming back).
4. Deep Roots Winery & Bistro
Looking for a gorgeous spot to enjoy quality wine paired with delicious bites? Head to Deep Roots Winery & Bistro in Denver’s RiNo district.
Started by husband-and-wife team, Teara & Steve Walters, Deep Roots specializes in expertly crafted wines made with California and Colorado-grown grapes.
Their team creates small batches of wine throughout the year, hand picking any grapes that don’t belong to ensure the best quality product.
Steve’s background in nuclear science inspires all sorts of innovative creations like their Red Velvet Port (a cabernet franc ruby port infused with Ghirardelli and Godiva chocolate) and their 2019 Syrah (a spicy and robust bouquet of leather and white pepper with a heavy finish of ripe plum and tobacco). The tap room is full of nods to Steve’s love for science, like the Sputnik lights and the Periodic Table of Wines.
Meanwhile, the business name was inspired by Teara’s family and their long-time love of wine.
Teara has been stomping grapes with her grandfather since the 90’s, and her sister, Carol Ann, crafted the food menu that’s filled with pasta, pizza, and charcuterie boards.
All of the food pairs perfectly with a glass (or bottle) of wine. The Deep Roots family has grown quite a bit over the years to include a diverse crew of wine lovers.
In addition to their wonderful menu and company culture, Deep Roots is also an Instragamer’s paradise. The tap room is filled with refurbished shipping containers, cute swings, neon lights, and plenty of perfect spots for a photo opp.
Grab a glass of wine, a bite to eat, and get ready to take tons of photos!
Must-Try Wines at Deep Roots Winery:
Blood Orange Cab Franc
5. Hell or High Water Tiki Bar
If you love ghosts, booze, and amazing bar décor, then you’re in luck! Hell or High Water’s uniquely designed establishment is the most haunted bar in Denver.
This small bar is tucked upstairs behind its sister business, Honor Farm, a bar that embraces the Halloween spirit all year round. Definitely stop here and grab a drink on your way through.
Walking up the stairs to Hell or High Water, it’s like you’ve stepped into a flamboyant pirate’s haunted dream. Everywhere you look you’ll find all sorts of intriguing knick knacks that will make you do a double-take.
For example, the abundance of skeletons and birds, dozens of phallic-inspired sculptures, a dilophosaurus head from Jurassic Park sticking out of the wall, and of course, their resident mascot, Gary—a snail with a penis head.
No matter where you sit (at the bar, at a table with friends, or on a swing), you can admire the décor all night long.
This female-owned and haunted bar (the ghost’s name is Lydia) offers a variety of rum-based and agave-based tiki drinks. And they have clever names like Pervy Scurvy, Rum Inside Me, and Gaytanic.
Each drink has been carefully crafted and named by the owners themselves, who have been in the service industry for years before finally opening their very own bars in 2022.
Honor Farm and Hell or High Water host all sorts of events throughout the year, including trivia nights and monthly burlesque shows.
I highly recommend visiting on a Sunday for a delicious brunch paired with COCKtails and a drag show.
Hell or High Water’s owners know that their bar’s vibe isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Just know that if you do leave them a 1-star review, they’ll most likely show it off on their website with pride.
Must-Try Drinks at Hell or High Water:
That’s Gonna Stain
Rum Inside Me
My Last Malort
6. Death & Co
Started as part of the modern cocktail renaissance in 2006, Death & Company, won the Best American Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu within four years of opening in New York.
Twelve years later, when the owner of Denver’s Ramble Hotel asked David Kaplan if he could establish another Death & Co in their spacious first floor, it was a no-brainer.
The open-concept space functions as a coffee shop during the day, with fresh brews from Colorado’s Queen City Collective coffee roasters.
As day turns to night, Death & Co closes its thick velvet curtains and turns down the lights to create an intimate and moody bar setting.
Meanwhile, the upstairs hosts Suite 6A (a nod to the original Death & Co location) which is a cozy, tucked away space for smaller parties.
During the summer months, the outdoor Garden shares a vibrant, yet sunny setting that looks out on Denver’s RiNo district.
The bartenders at Death & Co take great pride in their work, crafting brand-new and unique cocktails year-round to accommodate the seasonally changing menu.
With over 30 cocktails to choose from, it’s easy to find something you’ll like. A great alternative to the popular espresso martini is the Wizard in Black, a rum drink made with sweet vermouth, banana, cold brew, and angostura bitters.
For old-fashioned lovers who want a citrusy twist, enjoy the Papillon, a cocktail made with Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon, Novo Fogo Tanager Cachaça, Amrut peated single malt, pineapple, pamplemousse, angostura & tiki bitters.
Best of all, this popular bar gets its name from a Prohibition Era poster that illustrates the Devil’s Toboggan — a ride that starts with saloons and gambling, but quickly ends in a dark grave with Death & Co.
Cheers to being able to freely drink and enjoy some of the best cocktails in Denver!
Must-Try Drinks at Death & Co:
Wizard in Black
7. The Red Barber
To enjoy a great cocktail while soaking in the Denver skyline, head to The Red Barber rooftop bar in the RiNo district.
Situated on the top of the Catbird Hotel, this 3,300 square foot oasis functions as Denver’s backyard daydream. There’s always something fun happening at The Red Barber!
They host sensational seasonal events, live music every Friday, and daily happy hour specials that include $6 Old Fashioneds, $5 glasses of red or white wine, and $10 snack packs
This fall, The Red Barber has gone all out with their festive frights and delights.
Take a photo atop the hay barrels in their rooftop pumpkin patch, join their Halloween Bash & Costume Contest, and sip on their Blood Bag Sangria that is literally served in a blood bag (it tastes much better than it looks).
Though their drink menu changes throughout the year, The Red Barber maintains a great selection of local beer as well as red and white wine options.
I can personally confirm that their King Estate Pinot Noir is incredibly delicious with its bright acidity and ripe dark cherry flavor.
No matter what you drink, you’ll certainly love the 360-degree views of the skyline, mountains, and cityscape at one of the most fun bars in Denver.
Must-Try Drinks at The Red Barber:
Blood Bag Sangria
Frozen Pumpkin Spice
8. The Welton Room
When was the last time you had cotton candy? When was the last time you had cotton candy on a martini?
That’s just one of the modern craft cocktails being served at Denver’s Welton Room.
The Los Angeles owners are bringing molecular mixology to the Mile High City in their upscale casual bar in the Five Points neighborhood.
With drinks that feature all sorts of delicious garnishes like popsicles, edible flowers, and of course, cotton candy, your drink becomes a journey.
Enjoy a cocktail with all of your senses as you soak in the beautiful furniture and sparkling chandeliers.
The Welton Room’s cocktail menu changes with the seasons, but you can always enjoy the Fruit De La Passion made with vodka, passion fruit puree, ginger, and orange.
Or if you’re looking for a light and creamy pick-me-up, try their espresso martini with fresh whipped coffee.
Keep your eye on the Welton Room this winter, as they expand their business into a larger space next door. The new bar will have double the space and will offer modern American shareable plates with an international twist.
The current location will still function as one of the best downtown Denver bars, but will become the Monkey Lounge at Welton Room. Must-Try Drinks at The Welton Room:
Cotton Candy Martini
Fruit De La Passion
Espresso Martini with Whipped Coffee
9. Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery & Cellar Door
What do you get when a rocket scientist and a marketing expert pursue their passion for wine? A gorgeous urban winery that produces expertly crafted wine called Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery.
In 2017, husband and wife, Chad and Marla Yetka, purchased a historic building in the RiNo district.
They wanted to keep the look and feel of the original 1886 building, with the exposed brick walls, high ceilings, and rustic wooden beams.
Their own craft winery stands out against the many brewpubs and craft distilleries in the city. This is why I added it to this list of the best bars in Denver.
With their head winemaker in Napa Valley, most of their wine is produced in the wine country but is kept fresh and ready to be served on tap at Bisgby’s Folly.
Some of the top selling wines are their Everyday Porch Pounder (a Bordeaux blend), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rosé of Grenache.
And once a year, they use fresh-picked grapes from Palisade, Colorado to create an authentic Colorado wine in their very own taproom.
The 700+ wine club members can enjoy a full growler of wine every month for only $20.
Meanwhile, dog lovers can purchase treats for their pups and feel good knowing that all proceeds will go to Morris Animal Foundation, a non-profit organization near and dear to the owners’ heart.
Come enjoy a glass of wine, small bites from their in-house kitchen, or celebrate an event in their gorgeous taproom.
Must-Try Wines at Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery:
Everyday Porch Pounder
Rosé of Grenache
That’s it for this list of the most fun bars in Denver! Next up, check out the best distilleries and the best breweries. Cheers!