Denver's ten best new bars

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Jim Wills
Williams & Graham, winner of our 2012 Best New Bar award.
The metro area gained so many liquid assets in 2011, we had to do a lot of drinking before we could choose the winner of our Best New Bar award for the Best of Denver 2012. And even then, the awards kept spilling out for other new spots, including Best Neighborhood Brewery, Best Place to See a Grownup Cry Over Pac-Man and Best New Brewery.

Here's our rundown of the ten best new bars in Denver.

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Jim Wills
10. The Bar, 554 South Broadway
After new owners took over the Atrium Bar & Grill, they gave the space a much-needed overhaul and reopened the place as The Bar in September. Within the next few months, the new owners started bringing in bands on the weekends, as well as hosting goldfish races and open-turntable nights on Wednesdays.

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Jim Wills
9. Tennyson's Tap , 4335 West 38th Avenue
Since opening in early 2011, Tennyson's Tap has really tapped into the community. It started out as a neighborhood bar that serves Colorado whiskey and brews, then turned into a full-fledged music venue after securing a cabaret license over the summer. Since then, it's been booking blues, jazz, rock and metal acts most nights of the week, and even added a recording studio.

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Jim Wills
8. Prohibition , 504 East Colfax Avenue
Jimmy Callahan took over one of the city's more colorful dives, the Roslyn Grill, gave it a serious scrubbing and opened Prohibition in May. The space has a much more classic -- and clean -- feel, with a bar in the back that came from a hundred-year-old saloon in Indianapolis and a new mahogany bar in front with a Chicago drink rail. In keeping with the bar's name, the decor includes newspapers from the Prohibition era and a bunch of whiskey "prescriptions."

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Jim Wills
7. The Matchbox , 2625 Larimer Street
The Matchbox's name was inspired partly by a fire that gutted the space in 2009, and partly by the fact that it's long and narrow, like a matchbox. Sudhir Kudva, who also owns the Squire Lounge, partnered with two other folks to overhaul the former Orange Cat Studios, demolishing the back of the building to make way for an awesome patio, putting in new bathrooms and installing a garage door in the front. But while the place has been updated considerably, it still retains some of the Orange Cat's charm -- including the exposed brick on the south wall. With three live-music venues within a block, the Matchbox is the perfect spot to take a break.

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Jim Wills
6. Black Crown Lounge , 1446 South Broadway
Last spring the former Cafe Cero/Open Tap space at 1446 South Broadway got an overhaul when business partners Mark Cameron and Brian Grace transformed it into the Black Crown Lounge, an authentic piano bar (during the day). Furnished with a number of items from Grace's personal collection, including chandeliers, the Black Crown feels like you're walking into someone's high-class living room; it has an old-world, over-the-top, decadent country-club feel. Many of the décor items are for sale; the space even functions as a retail shop during the day.

The top 5 are on Page 2

Location Info

Venue

Map

Tennyson's Tap

4335 W. 38th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Prohibition

504 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

The Matchbox

2625 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Black Crown Lounge

1446 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music

The Three Lions

2239 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Denver Beer Co.

1695 Platte St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

The 1up LoDo

1925 Blake St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Renegade Brewing

925 W. 9th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Williams & Graham

3160 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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10 comments
Adrienne
Adrienne

Some of these listed we still have to get to, and many we've been to and they have inspired us, so we are honored to be listed among them :)

FYI, tons of live awesome music at Tennyson's Tap all the time.  Tennyson's is a live music venue/ art gallery/ recording studio.... musicians' and artists' hangout.... and we serve lots of Colorado spirits & brews.

EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT: Brian Hornbuckle Blues Jam, every Sunday night at 8pm, Jammer signup starts at 7. All players welcome. No cover.

EVERY TUESDAY: Singer/Songwriter Showcase with Open Mic hosted by Roots and Rythmn guitarist James Speiser & Friends. You Won't Believe Your Funking Ears! 8:30pm - 12:30am, No cover.

EVERY WEDNESDAY: Laura Newman Hot Jazz Trio, every Wednesday night 8:30pm - 12:30am. Laura Newman - Saxophone, Ellyn Rucker - Vocals, Jill Fredericksen - Drums, Vlad Girshevich - Keyboards. No cover.

EVERY THURSDAY HAPPY HOUR: Thursday Evening Happy Hour with the Fabulous Clam Daddys, 6:30 - 8:30pm. No cover.

EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT [Just began April 12]: College Night! DJs and Free Drinks for College Women (Wells and Draft with College ID, for Current Students, Faculty & Staff)

FRIDAY AND SATURDAYS AND OTHER DAYS: Check Event Calendar Schedule! Different bands/djs from different genres all the time!

WEEKEND AFTERNOONS: Weekend Afternoon Music Series, 3pm - 7pm. Occasional-- please check Event Calendar. Great variety of excellent music to turn your afternoon into a party. No cover.

Cheers, Let the good times roll!  Sincerely, Adrienne

Adrienne
Adrienne

We got to check out Williams & Graham last night, and were served by owner/genius Sean Kenyon.  Epic-ly cool place, unforgettable experience, definitely deserve the top spot on this list.  Sean told us his Father and Grandfather were bartenders-- every detail about the cocktails, service, and atmosphere speaks to having the biz in his DNA.  Congratulations, Thank you, and Cheers!  Sincerely, Adrienne

tim davids
tim davids

That picture makes me never want to go to the Matchbox, ever.

Adrienne
Adrienne

 I'm thinkin it looks like a blast ;)

Andy Martin
Andy Martin

Mortal Kombat was released in 1992, so I guess not "all" of the games are pre 1985

D-Hause
D-Hause

Not sure you could fit any more wispy mustaches into the Matchbox shot.  That's gotta be some kind of record.

Nick Lucchesi
Nick Lucchesi

Take a look at our steampunk convention slide show from a few weeks ago. 

eCurmudgeon
eCurmudgeon

Actually, all of those bars have good-looking patrons; you just need to order enough drinks first.

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