Denver, the Mile High City and captial of Colorado, is a vibrant and ever-growing metropolis nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. With its unique blend of Western charm and urban sophistication, Denver offers an unforgettable nightlife experience for visitors and locals alike.
From dive bars to upscale lounges, live music venues to pulsating nightclubs, there is something for everyone in this dynamic city.
In this comprehensive Denver nightlife and party guide, we will explore the best places to party, provide essential safety tips and advice, discuss the cost of partying, and highlight the top bars and nightclubs in town. Let’s dive in and discover what makes Denver’s nightlife truly unforgettable.
Where to Party in Denver
The Denver nightlife scene is spread out across various neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality and offerings. Here are some of the most popular areas to party in Denver:
- LoDo (Lower Downtown): This historic neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most iconic bars and nightclubs. With its beautiful Victorian architecture and picturesque streets, LoDo is the perfect place to bar-hop and experience Denver’s rich history. Popular spots in LoDo include Larimer Square, the oldest block in Denver, which hosts numerous bars, restaurants, and boutiques.
- RiNo (River North Art District): Known for its colorful street art and industrial vibe, RiNo is the epicenter of Denver’s creative scene. This trendy neighborhood boasts an eclectic mix of art galleries, breweries, and music venues, making it a must-visit for culture enthusiasts. Don’t miss the First Friday Art Walks, where local artists showcase their works at various galleries and studios.
- South Broadway: This bustling strip is a mecca for foodies and barflies alike, with an array of unique eateries and watering holes. From cozy dive bars to swanky cocktail lounges, South Broadway offers a diverse nightlife experience. The neighborhood is also known for its quirky shops and vintage stores, perfect for an afternoon of shopping before a night out on the town.
- Capitol Hill: This historic neighborhood is home to some of Denver’s most iconic landmarks and institutions, including the Colorado State Capitol and the Molly Brown House Museum. Capitol Hill’s lively nightlife scene features a variety of bars, clubs, and music venues catering to various tastes and preferences. The area also hosts numerous annual events, such as the Capitol Hill People’s Fair and the Westword Music Showcase.
- Cherry Creek: This upscale neighborhood is the perfect destination for those seeking a more refined Denver nightlife experience. With its high-end boutiques, art galleries, and fine dining options, Cherry Creek offers a sophisticated night out on the town. Be sure to visit the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which features over 160 stores, including luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co.
- Highlands: Located just northwest of downtown Denver, the Highlands neighborhood is known for its trendy bars, restaurants, and boutiques. The area is divided into three distinct districts: Lower Highlands (LoHi), Highlands Square, and Tennyson Street. Each offers a unique selection of nightlife options, from laid-back breweries to stylish rooftop bars.
- Uptown: This vibrant neighborhood just east of downtown is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. With its diverse array of bars, restaurants, and live music venues, Uptown is a great spot for a night out. Don’t miss the lively 17th Avenue Restaurant Row, which boasts a variety of eateries and bars to suit every taste and budget.
Denver Nightlife & Safety Tips
While Denver is a relatively safe city, it is essential to keep some basic safety tips in mind when enjoying its nightlife:
- Stay in groups: Always try to stick together with your friends or travel companions, as there is safety in numbers.
- Keep an eye on your belongings: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid leaving your personal items unattended. Consider using a money belt or hidden pouch to store your valuables while out on the town.
- Use a designated driver or rideshare service: If you plan on consuming alcohol, make sure to arrange for safe transportation home. Denver has a robust public transportation system, including buses and light rail, which can be a cost-effective option for getting around the city.
- Stay on well-lit streets: Stick to main streets and avoid dark alleys or poorly lit areas, especially when walking alone or late at night.
- Be aware of the altitude: Denver is known as the Mile High City for a reason, and its high altitude can exacerbate the effects of alcohol. Drink plenty of water and pace yourself to avoid altitude sickness.
- Know the local laws: Familiarize yourself with Denver’s local laws and regulations, such as the legal drinking age (21 years old) and the city’s open container policy, which prohibits consuming alcohol in public spaces.
Cost of Partying in Denver
The cost of partying in Denver can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood, venue, and your personal preferences. On average, here’s what you can expect to pay to enjoy the Denver nightlife scene:
Beers: $5-$8 per pint at most bars and breweries
Cocktails: $10-$15 at most cocktail lounges and upscale bars
Wine: $8-$12 per glass at most bars and restaurants
Cover charges: $10-$20 for popular nightclubs and live music venues
Rideshare: $5-$20 depending on distance and surge pricing
To save money, consider taking advantage of happy hour deals, which are typically offered between 3 PM and 6 PM at many bars and restaurants. Additionally, some venues may offer discounted or free entry on specific nights or for special events, so be sure to research and plan ahead.
Best Bars in Denver
Denver’s bar scene is as diverse as its neighborhoods. Whether you’re in the mood for a laid-back brewery or a swanky cocktail lounge, the city has you covered. Here are some additional top bars in Denver:
My Brother’s Bar
This historic watering hole is Denver’s oldest continuously operating bar, dating back to the 1870s. Known for its unpretentious atmosphere and mouthwatering burgers, My Brother’s Bar is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Denver Beer Co.
This popular brewery in the LoHi neighborhood offers a wide selection of craft beers, brewed onsite using locally sourced ingredients. With its dog-friendly patio and lively atmosphere, Denver Beer Co. is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts.
Swanky’s Vittles and Libations
Swanky’s Vittles and Libations is a fantastic Wisconsin-themed bar that boasts an enticing happy hour, an exciting trivia night with incredible food and drink specials, and numerous TVs for catching the latest games.
The bar also offers a unique selection of adult slushies and exceptional staff that create a welcoming environment. Whether you’re a Wisconsin native or just a fan of the state’s vibrant bar scene, Swanky’s is a must-visit destination. The delicious food and cozy atmosphere make it a perfect spot for anyone seeking an authentic Wisconsin experience.
The Infinite Monkey Theorem
This urban winery in RiNo offers a unique twist on the traditional wine bar experience. With its industrial-chic décor and innovative wine offerings, The Infinite Monkey Theorem is a great spot for a casual yet sophisticated evening.
In many bars, a refined ambiance often translates to dimly lit, speakeasy-style settings. However, Jake Soffes’s establishments take a different approach. Locations like Capitol Hill’s Hudson Hill, LoHi’s Lady Jane, and the newest addition, Union Station’s The Wild, exude brightness, relaxation, and a cool vibe. These welcoming spots entice patrons to unwind and linger, enjoying both the inviting atmosphere and the intriguing beverages.
The Wild’s cocktail menu offers a delightful array of choices, categorized into Light/Refreshing, Coffee/Tea, Boozy/Spirit Forward, and Classics, with unexpected concoctions in each section. Energize yourself with a Middle State coffee-infused drink and savor the captivating flavors while you immerse yourself in the lively ambiance.
Adrift Bar is the ideal Denver nightlife destination for a memorable group hangout, boasting intricate design and meticulous attention to detail. In a time when most people are craving a tropical escape, there’s no need to venture to the airport for a taste of vacation life.
This South Broadway tiki bar provides impeccable island vibes right in your neighborhood. Offering classic tropical drinks like mai tais and macadamia nut chi-chis alongside inventive concoctions like the lychee seventy-five, this bar serves up visually stunning cocktails that’ll transport you to a tropical paradise.
Best Nightclubs in Denver
When it comes to dancing the night away, Denver’s nightclub scene has something for everyone. From pulsating EDM venues to laid-back jazz clubs, here are some additional top nightclubs in the city:
This hip multi-level nightclub, located in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, offers an upscale yet unpretentious atmosphere for a night of dancing and socializing. With its stylish décor, rooftop patio, and diverse music lineup, Bar Standard is a popular destination for both locals and visitors.
Nestled in the heart of Capitol Hill, Milk Bar is a unique, multi-level nightclub that features several different rooms, each with its own distinct ambiance and music genre. From its Clockwork Orange-inspired décor to its energetic dance floors, Milk Bar offers a one-of-a-kind experience for night owls.
If you’re in the mood for Latin music and dancing, look no further than La Rumba in the Golden Triangle neighborhood. This lively nightclub offers salsa, bachata, and merengue dancing, as well as regular dance classes for those looking to perfect their moves.
Located in LoDo, Temple Nightclub is an immersive, high-energy venue that features state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, as well as a lineup of internationally renowned DJs. With its visually stunning design and VIP bottle service options, Temple is the ultimate Denver nightlife destination for a luxurious night out.
Live at Jack’s
Situated in the heart of downtown Denver, Live at Jack’s is a must-visit for jazz aficionados. This intimate venue offers live music performances from both local and national acts, as well as a relaxed atmosphere perfect for enjoying a night of smooth tunes and expertly crafted cocktails.
Situated in the South of Colfax Nightlife District, The Church nightclub is a harmonious blend of stunning aesthetics, lively music, and an energetic atmosphere. This remarkable venue showcases stained glass art and Gothic architecture, complete with soaring 70-foot ceilings, a sushi bar, and multiple dance floors spanning 10 rooms across three floors. The Church brings together an attractive crowd, ensuring a delightful Denver nightlife experience within a truly breathtaking setting.
Annual Events and Festivals
Denver’s vibrant nightlife scene is further enhanced by its array of annual events and festivals, which offer unique experiences and opportunities to celebrate the city’s culture and spirit. Some noteworthy events include:
- Great American Beer Festival: Held every October, the Great American Beer Festival is the largest beer festival in the United States, showcasing over 4,000 beers from more than 800 breweries.
- Underground Music Showcase (UMS): This annual music festival, held every summer in the Baker neighborhood, features hundreds of local and national bands performing in various venues along South Broadway.
- Denver PrideFest: Taking place every June, Denver PrideFest is a two-day celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and community, featuring live music, art installations, food trucks, and a festive parade.
- Westword Music Showcase: Held every summer in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, the Westword Music Showcase is Denver’s largest single-day music festival, with multiple stages and a diverse lineup of local and national acts.
Denver Nightlife Conclusion
In conclusion, Denver nightlife offers an incredible array of experiences for party-goers, from trendy bars and clubs to laid-back breweries and vibrant live music venues. With something for everyone, Denver’s lively and diverse entertainment scene promises unforgettable memories and fun-filled nights.
Whether you are a first-time visitor, a seasoned local, or just passing through, you can always find something unique and exciting in the Mile High City’s captivating nightlife scene.
So, don your dancing shoes, gather your friends, and immerse yourself in the wonders of Denver nightlife. Embrace the city’s dynamic atmosphere and make the most of your evening, creating lasting memories in this vibrant and exhilarating destination.