Who can resist a great dive bar once every blue Denver moon? Bartenders who look like they drink more than you, impossibly cheap drinks and friendly regulars thirsty for fresh conversation can make non-regulars feel like downright celebrities who’ve just discovered Denver’s best kept secret. Popular with punk rockers, indie rockers, neighborhood locals and just plain alcoholics, Denver’s dive bars siren call to outsiders and adventurers. With a long history of saloons catering to rugged miners, it’s no wonder Denver still has a healthy batch of Denver dive bars. Denver.com editor favorites include Hi-dive and Sputnik for rock music and a gritty, but cool, vibe and Mozart Lounge for pure dive appeal complete with stiff drinks and cheap pool.
Join other local businesses. Get listed on this page.
+ Add your business
Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern
314 E. 13th Ave., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.861.7070
There's nothing better than a dive bar that also plays host to some of Denver's best up and coming local rock bands, but Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern takes things a step further by serving up some serious grill action for when your stomach's growling and your head's spinning. Booze addled hipsters crowd into this Denver live music club to get their fill of hard rockin' sounds—Bender's also pulls in some national touring gigs—heavy cocktails that'll make your eyes bug out and just darn good times. Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern stands blessedly in defiant contrast to the sinister plague of "ultra-lounge" decadence that's creeping over some Denver bars.
The Border Restaurant
2014 S. University Blvd., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.722.9880
With pool tables, dart machines, backwards baseball caps and scantily clad hottie coeds, The Border Restaurant stakes its claim as Denver's college bar for university types getting their nightly "study break" bender on. Around 10pm at this Denver bar, The Border Restaurant becomes standing room only, but the queue for a drink isn't that long thanks to some fast and furious booze slingers. The drinks of choice for this young and rambunctious crowd are your standard domestic taps brews and the ice-cold shots from the Jaegerator while the greasy spoon style bar fare at The Border Restaurant takes supreme care of their hunger pangs.
404 Broadway, Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.778.9605
Mom's cooking and cheap booze, what could be better? Club 404 is a Denver bar that's both neighborly and divey and will assuredly answer the question posed above with "freakin' nothing," even though it was rhetorical. Heck, Denver's Club 404 has been around for over half a century and it seems as though the pricing structure is lagging more than a few years behind today's date—everything from the homey food to the heavy handed cocktails are well below market average. Also, relax while you're at this Denver bar because the service leans more toward family over fast and you wouldn't be demanding of your mom when she's serving you...would you?
Don's Club Tavern
723 E. 6th Ave., Denver, Colorado; Tel. none
This venerable Denver dive bar has been around forever and cheers to it being one of the most inclusive drinking establishments in the city and to its prolonged life even after Don's Club Tavern namesake owner has passed on to that big bar in the sky. Regulars at Don's Club Tavern include everyone from Denver dive bar denizens and bikers to hip twenty-somethings and college kids to famed politicos and biz pros who made this their drinking home due in no small part to the familial charm and barroom philosophizing of revered owner Don Aymami and his clan. Thankfully we're still able to booze it up at this Denver bar landmark and we're raising our pint to another 50 years!
Harvey Thunderbird Lounge
721 Quebec St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.322.7315
Harvey Thunderbird Lounge is a classic Denver neighborhood dive bar with wizened regulars propping up the bar, a rickety pool table and heavily poured cheap booze—and that's exactly why we love it. Throw in some really good traditional bar food and a happy hour that takes their already wallet friendly prices down to the point where you almost feel guilty drinking at this Denver bar and Harvey Thunderbird Lounge is one of the best places to get back to your sullied drinking roots.
2057 Larimer St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.299.9555
An authentic dive bar in Denver's trendy club mecca of LoDo, Herb's Hideout is aptly named because it's a bar where you can escape the nightclub masses with their high nightclub prices, belly up to the bar and partake in the seemingly bygone activity for which bars were created: getting sauced. Herb's Hideout does get some of the club set who're tired of standing in line mixing with their booze hound regulars and that fact alone is what makes this a great Denver bar institution. Well, that and the pricing scheme that hasn't changed since the bar opened. Also, Herb's Hideout has brought back Denver grown jazz and blues live music for their eclectically heterogeneous crowds.
Hi-dive and Sputnik
7 S. Broadway, Denver, Colorado; Tel. 720.570.4500
The hi-dive rocks with local Denver punk and indie action offering both live music and DJ nights in a great setting that recalls the heydays of Denver's grittily rocking live music scene. The drinks—like the halcyon days of old—are cheap and strong, the food is traditional bar fare and actually really good, the bands blow the freakin' roof off the joint and the hi-dive attracts a good mix of young artsy minded imbibers that rub elbows with aurally minded Denver bar sots.
2022 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.320.9200
Local punks, indies, alts and general slackers call the Lion's Lair dive bar in Denver home for rowdy PBR and whiskey fueled live music from its small stage from local Denver garage denizen bands and national touring names heavily steeped in the aforementioned ilk. The Lion's Lair is a Denver bar institution and the often gruff daytime regulars pass the gritty torch off to their gruffer progeny once the sun sets and the amps get cranked up.
1417 Krameria St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.388.0701
As divey as Denver dive bars come, the Mozart Lounge is a friendly, if off the beaten path, bar that lives solely by the classic dive bar mantras of cheap, heavy drinks, solid tunes, pool and you can stay and drink as long as your money's good. Some nights, the Mozart Lounge has DJs spinning, but that kind of fouls up the dive bar vibe for us, rather hit this Denver bar on their Thursday trivia night when the host slings hilarious barbs along with the correct answers.
P S Lounge
3416 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.320.1200
Decked out in pawnshop kitsch and sporting the dive bar staple of a classically eclectic jukebox, the PS Lounge in Denver is a hidden little bar that hipsters in the know frequent for its cocktails so potent they'll make you run for the hills and some of the best bartenders Denver has to offer who also seem to have the inside scoop on everything. The narrow confines of the PS Lounge make for some cozy boozing and the tiny room in the back of this Denver bar houses a pool table, but the real attraction at the PS Lounge has to be the gossip-meisters slinging the drinks.
4923 W. 38th Ave., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.455.9930
Denver's venerable dive and blues bar, Ziggie's Saloon is a drinking and live music institution featuring gritty roadhouse blues and cheap beer. This well-worn hole in the wall caters to the working class crowds and blues rockers that relish in the juke joint atmosphere at Ziggie's Saloon. Nearly every night at this Denver bar you can catch local and traveling blues bands ripping through their three cord tributes to life, booze and women while on Sundays, Ziggie's Saloon opens the stage for sit ins.
Join other local businesses. Get listed on this page.
+ Add your business
—Denver bar and club reviews by Ryan Osterbeck