The booze scene in Denver is growing. The city has a collection of bars, old and new. Breweries are popping up left and right creating every style of beer under the sun, and distilleries are quickly following suit.
If you have relatives coming out for the holidays, and are looking to show off the wild side of south Denver, this list can help you get started. It will also help if you're looking to escape your in-laws - if only for an hour or two. With more than 500 liquor licenses listed in the state Department of Revenue for bars, breweries and other tap rooms in the city of Denver, people have plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of our favorites at the Washington Park Profile:
The Post Brewing Co.:
The Post first opened in Lafayette and has since expanded to Longmont, Boulder and Denver in the Rosedale neighborhood. The Rosedale location opened in January of 2017. In addition to brewing all its own beer at the Lafayette location, The Post offers a full menu of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and other classic comfort food options. The restaurant also brings in rotating sides to help change things up.
Colleen Clark, the general manager of the Denver location, said that having the full menu helps to set them apart from other breweries in the area. Since the food is pretty filling by itself, she said the beers are on the lighter side in order to pair with the meal.
“The beer definitely lightens it up,” Clark said.
She added that the reason she loves The Post is because of the intimate feel within the restaurant - despite how busy it can get on the weekends. Clark and the restaurant chef Johnathan Reyes work closely with their staff to make sure things run smoothly.
From a seat at the bar, diners can look in on the kitchen which is lined with lime green tiles. On busy nights at The Post, one staff member will call out from the kitchen that a menu item has run out, with the remaining wait staff calling it back to make sure everyone knows.
Where: 2200 S. Broadway
Hours: Lunch Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.
Brunch Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.
Dinner nightly at 4 p.m.
For more information: https://www.postbrewing.com/rosedale/
Dos Luces is one of the newer locations on this list. The brewery opened over the summer on South Broadway. Dos Luces doesn't make regular beer, instead the brewery opts for fermented corn drinks that date back to the Incas and the Aztecs in South America - chicha and pulque.
Owner Judd Belstock said he was drawn to these kinds of drinks because he and his co-founder Sam Alcaine wanted to bring beer to the market that used corn as its fermented grain. In the `60s Belstock's father spent time in Peru as part of the Peace Corps., and had tried chicha while there. Alcaine also teaches about corn fermentation at Cornell University in New York.
“No body else really in the country is doing quite what I'm doing,” Belstock said.
Dos Luces is steeped in the ancient culture of the Aztecs and Incas. The name of the brewery comes from the name for the sun and the moon. The brewery offers a regular of both the chicha and pulque, plus some seasonal rotations of each. Currently on tap is a pumpkin spice chicha, as well as a strawberry and nutmeg pulque. Having corn-based drinks means that the items brewed by Dos Luces are all gluten free.
The art on the walls of the brewery were done by an artist from Mexico, and tell the story of chicha and pulque. In front of the bar there's a cinnamon tree under draped lights - designed to look like a city plaza in Mexico. Belstock said that once the tree begins to grow it will give the space an outdoor feeling.
Dos Luces also has several rotating guest taps and nonalcoholic drinks.
Where: 1236 S. Broadway
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m.
Friday from 1-10 p.m.
Saturday from 12-10 p.m.
Sunday from 12-9 p.m.
For more information: https://dosluces.com/
Scott Heron took over the Skylark Lounge in 1998, turning it into the rockabilly local hot spot that it is today, but its history goes back to 1943. Building a bar during World War II was not done often, Heron said. Back then, Denver still had a streetcar system and South Broadway was much quieter than it is today.
“If you can imagine Broadway with all the streetcars, kind of an old timey street,” Heron said.
Heron has paid homage to many of the rock `n' roll greats from the post-WWII era, with posters of Elvis Presley, and other musicians of the time, as well as movie posters. The downstairs area has space for live music on weekends. The bar also offers 36 beers on tap.
The upstairs area, the Pair o' Dice Poolroom is lined with several pool tables, as well as a long shuffle board and darts. The pool room first opened in 2006. On Thursday nights the room hosts pool leagues. Pair o' Dice is only open Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
Though the bar has TV sets, Heron says they are rarely on. Instead, he wants the bar to be a place where people of all ages can have conversations.
“It's kind of become a dinosaur,” he said. “It's just a place where people still go to talk.”
Where: 140 S. Broadway
Hours: Daily from 2 p.m.-2 a.m.
For more information: https://www.skylarklounge.com/
Laws Whiskey House:
Though breweries are still taking the city by storm, distilleries are starting to pop up in higher numbers around Denver as well. Laws Whiskey House first opened seven years ago, and offers tours of its distilling space, as well as a tap room where whiskey lovers can savor 12 different variations of the spirit.
Crystal Barrios, the taproom manager at Laws, said that the distillery only makes whiskey and takes pride in using ingredients all sourced from Colorado. The company gets its water from Eldorado Springs and its corn and grains from local farmers. Everything, from the barrels to the whiskey, are made in-house, Barrios said.
“That's what really makes Colorado whiskey, Colorado whiskey,” she said.
Colorado whiskey is also special in that is doesn't have to age quite as long as some its national counterparts. Barrios said that the “sweet spot” for whiskey in Kentucky is around 10 years. Colorado's elevations changes the way the whiskey ages, which means it doesn't have to age quite as long.
Laws Whiskey House offers tours of its distillery and taproom, which Barrios said are highly focused on educating people on both the history of whiskey, as well as the history of the business. She joked that they call the location the whiskey church - spreading “the good word about the good spirit.”
Tours are offered multiple times a day from Wednesday through Saturday. The tour is $10, but participants get the money back in store credit at the end of the tour.
Where: 1420 S. Acoma St.
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday from 5-9 p.m.
Friday from 2:30-8 p.m.
Saturday from 1-6:30 p.m.
Sunday from 2-5 p.m.
For more information: www.lawswhiskeyhouse.com
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