Denver's ten best new bars of 2012

park house.jpg
Danielle Lirette
4) Park House
1515 Madison Street
Park House, a comfortable neighborhood tavern, opened in October on the corner of Colfax and Madison. This House really is a home; not only did its location start off as a Victorian residence, but owners Drew Gottlieb and Evan Bailey worked hard to create a homey atmosphere where regulars can enjoy beers, good bar food and live music by local musicians.

vesper lounge exterior.jpg
Lori Midson
3) Vesper Lounge
233 East Seventh Avenue
As if Frank and Jacqueline Bonanno don't have enough going on in Denver, in December they added another hot spot to their list: Vesper Lounge, in a space tucked between Mizuna and Bones that formerly housed the Lancer Lounge. They've cleaned up the space, but kept the atmosphere casual to create a neighborhood bar focused more on drinks than food, more on camaraderie than upscale ambience.

the 2up bar.jpg
Aaron Thackeray
2) The 2UP
717 East Colfax Avenue
One good turn deserves another. The 1Up proved such a hit that In June, Jourdan Adler opened the 2UP. This spot is much smaller than the original, but it's big enough to hold a full bar and vintage-style arcade with three lanes of Skee-ball, nine pinball machines and more than 35 arcade games.

dive inn.jpg
Danielle Lirette
1) The Dive Inn
1380 South Broadway
Dive in to The Dive Inn, a nautical-themed bar, that Jason Tietjen and partners Chris and Rhonda Signorelli opened last year in the former home of the Carousel. The Dive Inn quickly got into the swim of South Broadway, with plenty of seating and a lot of fun touches.

Location Info



501 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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218 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music

Gary Lee's Motor Club and Grub

176 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music

Local 46

4586 Tennyson St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Mile High Spirits

2920 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: General

Park House

1515 Madison St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Vesper Lounge

233 E. 7th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

The 1up Colfax

717 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

The Dive Inn

1380 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
Josh Court
Josh Court

Oh yeah punch bowl is great if you're looking for that desperate highlands ranch feel downtown.


Punch Bowl and Vesper are fucking awful bars.  Vesper especially.  Completley devoid of any kind of soul.  Punch Bowl might be the worst thing to happen to Broadway since construction.


I love Denver, I'm actually 5th generation to live here. But, when I read through this article, the bar scene here is lame.  Many of them offer the same stuff to do, drinks are similar only touted to be made with different brands.  These new bars are only replacing the lame old bars that have died...there's really nothing new.  The bar craze has struck Denver just as the restaurant craze did...same ol' sh*t as down the street but with "our" twist, nothing original...when will it phase out and some quality bars and restaurants open in Denver? 


Great list.  I want to check out Mile High Spirits.  I really dig those old barrel-roof/clear span buildings.  And they distill on premises? Sounds like a winner


Good list.  

Punch Bowl Social and Ace Eat Serve are the hands down best winners, for my money.  


Perhaps as a bar for playing games, Punch Bowl Social is good, but I had arguably the worst dining experience of my 9 years in Denver at that place last month.  The service was non-existent--it took 45 minutes to get coffees and water (this was brunch), and we had been sitting for over an hour before a food order was taken.  Both the coffee and food were cold, and the food, while promising, was mediocre at best.  And I can't forget the dirty table we were seated at.  Although it had been wiped, the table had deep grooves running down it where old food had settled and never been cleaned.  Appetizing!  Needless to say I will never be back.


@epll wow sad experience.  I've had exactly the opposite.  I've been down there about 6-8 times (I work nearby) for coffee or lunch and have always had a good experience.  I've been in twice at night and while it can get packed they seem to have a huge staff.  Love that place despite all the haters that seem to be out there.

ScubaSteve topcommenter

@Megan Kratzman

Please go back and read the article.  Dive Inn isn't necessarily #1 because the bars were listed in no particular order:

"Here, in no particular order, are Cafe Society's picks for the ten best new bars that opened in metro Denver in 2012."


@foodcrazy Dive Inn is #1 in my eyes.  (Alright, good call, I didn't read the intro...)

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