On the weekends, Denver restaurants have some lively bar and lounge scenes, filled with revelers waiting for their tables or working up an appetite. Breweries and brewpubs, ever-popular Denver institutions, almost always feature full lunch and dinner menus to pair with their eclectic menu of local and international brews. From Irish pubs serving hearty bistro fare to chic Denver restaurants like the 9th Door (even the esoteric name screams atmosphere) where the list of signature cocktails and elegant wines is reasons enough to indulge in a plate or two of tapas, Denver restaurants deliver more than just sophisticated food. For some of the biggest margaritas in Denver, skip the bar and head to Lime, a downtown Denver restaurant known for the pre-order complimentary shot of tequila and resident DJs.
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1515 Market St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.571.0011
Chic Denver urban dining at its best, 1515 market boasts a stunning selection of fresh local ingredients to create their hearty new American cuisine. The only thing that rivals the superb menu at this upscale, yet hiply casual Denver restaurant is the extensive wine list that spans over 375 varieties to tempt even the most veteran of grape aficionado's palate. Live music in the blues and jazz veins covers 1515 Market in a blanket of smooth sounds every Friday and Saturday.
The 9th Door
1808 Blake St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.292.2229
Denver's fashion plate A-listers and chic hipsters constantly pack The 9th Door for an excellent meal of hot or cold tapas and an extensive list of signature cocktails expertly mixed with premium liquor. The atmosphere at The 9th Door is decidedly swanky with enough velvet, satin and candle light to make any moneyed heiress jealous. As mentioned the menu at this trendy Denver restaurant and lounge is so far above gourmet as to make the coin you just dropped on the tab instantly forgettable.
2220 Blake St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.297.3644
Hand crafted microbrews—although they're not made on site any longer—and more than satisfying pub fare are the staples of the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver that sits right across the street from Coors Field. Rockies fans swarm this Denver restaurant and bar before and after the game (and sometimes during if it's a snoozer) for the aforementioned ingestible amenities and the friendly service that is always on point.
3489 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.433.2535
Fusing chic urban dining and hip lounging, the Coral Room in Denver focuses on beauty and simplicity in both their décor and cuisine. The menu at the Coral Room is Pan-Asian infusing the tastes of the Pacific and melding that with a contemporary progressive wine list and a unique cocktail selection. This swanky Denver restaurant and lounge should be a must on any discerning diner and drinker's list.
Darcy's Irish Pub and Bistro
4955 S. Ulster St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.770.0477
Not your typical booze and brogue laden Irish bar, Darcy's Irish Pub and Bistro has just enough of the ol' Emerald Isle charm to give this Denver restaurant and bar some Irish legitimacy. The fare at Darcy's is decidedly upscale and eclectic with touches of Irish hominess and the cocktail selection, while having all of your Irish bar favorites like whiskey and beer, branches out into wines and signature concoctions. From the appointments to the menu, Darcy's Irish Pub and Bistro seems to say gourmet over Erin Go Bragh.
Forest Room 5
2532 15th St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.433.7001
Forest Room 5 is a trendy Denver restaurant and bar that roots its cuisine in the Mediterranean order featuring small plate tapas style with their wine and cocktail menus complimenting the food. The chic, contemporary décor at Forest Room 5 will make every designer catalogue ordering wishmiester completely jealous and the view from this hilltop Denver restaurant will probably make every Mile-High dweller jealous as well. Forest Room 5's excellent food comes under the reasonably priced range, but don't go overboard on the bar tab as the drink prices at this Denver bar will make you long for the days when someone else picked up the tab.
Hanson's Grill and Tavern
1301 Pearl St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.744.0210
Hanson's Grill and Tavern isn't your typical Denver sports bar because, even though it can get unruly when a good game is on, the patrons come more for the excellent food and local camaraderie. Hanson's Grill and Tavern serves an upscale bar menu full of American comfort food with some offshoots, but stick to the meat and potatoes classics and you'll never be disappointed. The beer and liquor selection is good and this two-story Denver bar also sports a separate poolroom with foosball for some healthy competition and the upstairs lounge at Hanson's Grill and Tavern has a slew of board games, so when your date whoops your sorry butt at pool you can exact your revenge by sinking their battleship.
76 Broadway, Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.777.7676
The Hornet is a trendy, slightly upscale diner that offers the Denver restaurant and bar crowd nightly drink specials so cheap that your wallet will thank you and sports live music on the weekends that's always on point. The crowds at The Hornet range from blue to white collar and from families during the day to festive boozers at night. This Denver local bar's menu is good old Americana with some fusionary twists and The Hornet sports a couple of pool tables for some drinking distractions.
1424 Larimer St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.893.5463
Sporting American-Mexican fusion cuisine and the largest margaritas in Denver, Lime has cemented itself as a cool hip restaurant and bar to grab some delicious chow in a stunning setting. Everything at Lime is exceptionally good, from the musical vibes put forth by their resident DJs to the contemporary chic ambiance to—and this is the absolute best—the complimentary shot of tequila that's brought to your table before you even freakin' order; decidedly the best perk we've seen at any Denver restaurant and bar.
Mead St. Station
3625 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.433.2138
Mead St. Station is a Denver neighborhood bar done like they should be with a full kitchen featuring excellent bar grub, an extensive bottle and tap beer list, single malt scotches and premium liquors, and more regulars calling this Denver bar home than their actual domiciles. During the day you're likely to find said regulars enjoying a hearty lunch and swilling some booze in Mead St. Station's friendly confines, but once the sun sets, this local Denver bar starts raucously partying, reveling in the finer points that make life important: drinks, food and friends. Also, Mead St. Station hosts live music from local Denver acts several nights a week featuring jazz, acoustic, cover and R&B bands.
Mel's Restaurant and Bar
235 Fillmore St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.333.3979
Featuring a superb New American gourmet menu, Mel's Restaurant and Bar in Denver is a multiple award-winning eatery that also boasts a lively bar scene. The bar scene at Mel's Restaurant and Bar usually gets hopping after the dinner rush with local Denver live jazz musicians tickling the ivories on the in-house piano for the slew of patrons partaking in Mel's extensive wine, cocktail and beer lists. Mel's Restaurant and Bar is a favorite of the Denver theater going crowd for a pre or post event drink and, this Denver restaurant and bar gets extremely crowded for lunch with biz pros and area shoppers.
2199 California St., Denver, Colorado; Tel. 303.294.9281
Catering to a vast array of Denver nightlife seekers, the Mercury Café restaurant and nightclub hosts everything from dance nights to poetry readings and political rallies to live music while providing excellent food and drinks. This Denver restaurant and nightclub's eclecticism is its bread and butter and such diversity works surprisingly well. Nearly everything at the Mercury Café, from their fresh cuisine to their premium wine and cocktail menu to the avant-garde nature of their of the Merc's performances is first rate, so if you want top delve into the diversity that inhabits this Denver nightclub, you just need to show up on any given night.
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—Denver bar and club reviews by Ryan Osterbeck