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9 Must-Try Hotel Bars in Denver and Boulder

Hotel bars are not just for tourists anymore

The idea of the hotel bar can evoke all kinds of images, from romantic trysts in a smoky back booth to the Hollywood glamour of Bogart and Bacall. Overtime, the luster of the hotel bar seemed to fade and most simply became havens for weary travelers to grab a cocktail or two. But the elegance of the hotel bar is now back in a big way and not just for hotel guests, but for locals looking for an elegant space to enjoy craft cocktails. We have rounded up nine of Denver and Boulder’s best hotel bars, each with its own unique atmosphere.

The Corner Office

1. The Corner Office {1401 Curtis Street, Denver; 303.825.6500} 

Part “Mad Men”, part “Sex and the City”, the Corner Office inside the Curtis Hotel is at once retro yet modern, classic yet hip, and offers something for everyone. Located directly across from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, it’s the perfect place for a pre or post-theater drink. Bar Manager Nick Snider has created a menu of “stirred”, “shaken”, and beer cocktails. Happy Hour is offered seven days a week, twice a day, from 3-6pm and again from 9-11pm.

Second Home

2. Second Home {240 Clayton Lane, Denver; 393.252.3000} 

Nestled inside the JW Marriott Hotel, Second Home brings the comfort and ambience of a mountain après ski lodge to the center of Cherry Creek. The bar features a lounge area with comfy wraparound couches and floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto a spacious outdoor deck with a 15-foot fire pit. The bar team offers a changing menu of specialty cocktails, six Second Home classic cocktails, and a handful of mocktails. Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 4-6pm with $1 off wine by the glass and well drinks, and small plates starting at $2.

The Nickel Bar

3. The Nickel {1100 14th Street, Denver; 720.889.2128} 

Located inside the historic Hotel Teatro in the center of the downtown theater district, The Nickel pays homage to the hotel’s history in its name, design, and menus. The structure first served as Denver’s Tramway Building in 1911, where nickels from streetcar riders were stored in the vault. The Barrel Bar is the centerpiece of the space, featuring a state-of-the art 24-tap system to dispense barrel-aged cocktails, local craft beers, and wine. Try a barrel-aged Standard Rock Manhattan or a Nickel Negroni, made with barrel-aged gin, Dolin Rouge vermouth, Campari, and an orange peel.

Panzano

4. Panzano {909 17th Street, Denver; 303.296.3525}
Everyone in Denver knows (or should know) that the Lounge at Panzano’s inside the Monaco Hotel is considered one of the very best happy hours in town. Every day from 2:30-6pm, the lounge is packed with people taking an afternoon off work and getting happy. What’s not to be happy about? Draft beers are $4, wines by the glass are $5, specialty cocktails are $5-$6, and Panzano offers an extensive menu of Chef Elise Wiggins’ award-winning northern Italian fare for only $5-$7 a plate.

License #1

5. License No. 1 {2115 13th Street, Boulder; 303.442.4344} 

License No. 1, formerly known as Catacombs Bar and Grill until last year, is a small bar in a subterranean space under Boulder’s Hotel Boulderado. The bar, which has occupied the space since 1909, received Boulder’s first liquor license in 1969 after 62 years of Prohibition. That license is still in use today—hence the name. The dark candlelit speakeasy is adorned with dark leather and crushed red velvet accents. Step back in time and enjoy classic cocktails like the Manhattan, the Sazerac, and the Side Car—you might expect to look up and see Hemingway sipping away in the booth next to you.

Churchill Bar

6. Churchill Bar {321 17th Street, Denver; 303.297.3111} 

Just off the lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel, the Churchill Bar feels almost as old as Denver itself. It exudes a Victorian-era gentlemen’s club ambience with its dark wood and red leather decor. Not surprisingly, Churchill’s serves an array of great spirits, classic cocktails, and, traditional yet delicious bar fare such as a prime rib sandwich or wedge salad. Settle into one of the wide comfortable club chairs and enjoy a Scotch and a cigar for the ultimate manly step back in time.

Cruise Room

7. The Cruise Room {1600 17th Street, Denver; 303.628.5400}

The Cruise Room, inside the historic Oxford Hotel, is Denver’s first post-Prohibition bar; opening its doors the day after Prohibition was repealed. Inspired by one of the lounges on the Queen Mary, the Cruise Room boasts beautiful Art Deco décor, flooded in a pale tone of pink, with floor-to-ceiling wall panels depicting toasts from around the world. Guests can enjoy free music from the jukebox while sipping on classic martinis served by white jacket-clad professional servers.

Photo Credit: range Facebook

Photo Credit: range Facebook

8. range {918 17th Street, Denver; 720.726.4800} 

Housed alongside the Renaissance Hotel in the former Colorado National Bank building, range is a “modern whiskey saloon” that pays homage to the adventurous spirit of the American West. The space is sleek and modern with Western design touches throughout. In addition to whiskey, the bar boasts an extensive selection of local Colorado spirits and craft beers. Happy hour runs daily, Monday through Friday from 3-6pm featuring $4 draft beers, $5-$7 cocktails, and $5-$7 plates.

Peak's Lounge

9. Peak’s Lounge {650 15th Street, Denver; 303.486.4433}
If you’re looking for spectacular views of the city lights and the mountains, look no further that Peak’s Lounge on the 27th floor of the Hyatt Regency. The floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the cocktail lounge showcase our Rocky Mountain sunsets in a magnificent way. Enjoy one of their Colorado cocktails made with local spirits, or wine from their impressive list, while you nibble on charcuterie and cheese boards or lobster mac ‘n’ cheese.

By Elizabeth Woessner | Online Editor