The ten best dive bars in metro Denver

Categories: Booze News

CariocaCafe-inside.jpg
Punks at the bar at Bar Bar. All photos by Jim Wills.
Are Denver's dives an endangered species? Over the past year, two of the dives featured on last year's list of the dozen best dive bars have lost their divey status -- one, the Hill-Top, closed and just reopened this past weekend as the Rocky Top Tavern, and the Squire, while still open, has been renovated almost beyond recognition --- and certainly beyond dive status. Fortunately, there are still dives where we're happy to belly up to the bar. Here, in no particular order, are the metro area's ten best dive bars -- and as with so many good dive bar deals, one's a twofer.

See also: Rocky Top Tavern opens in former Hill-Top

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10) Rocky Flats Lounge
11229 Highway 93, Boulder
This bar gives a whole new meaning to getting lit -- at one point, it was the payroll office for the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, the federal facility right across the highway that started producing plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs in the early '50s and operated up to 1989. But the Rocky Flats Lounge has a lot more going for it: gritty ambience, great drinks, a deck with expansive views of the Foothills (and future wildlife refuge going into Rocky Flats) and fish fries on Friday nights.

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inside the Ace-Hi.
9) Ace-Hi Tavern
1216 Washington Avenue, Golden
For more than sixty years, the Ace has been by far the best reason to get wrecked -- and subsequently stranded -- in Golden.

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8) Candlelight Tavern
383 South Pearl Street
Separated by a safe stumble along Pearl Street from the Kentucky Inn, the Candlelight Tavern is a down-home dive that offers greasy grub, the full gamut of bar games and open-arms attitudes from staff and regulars alike. The facade got a clean-up this past year, but the look remains classic dive. And for the second part of this twofer:

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Putting a few back at the Kentucky Inn.
8a) Kentucky Inn
890 South Pearl Street
The fact that the Kentucky Inn managed to keep its down-home dinge through an ownership change (it's now a sibling of the Candlelight) earned it the top dive-bar slot in the Best of Denver 2011.

Keep reading for more of our dive bars.


Location Info

Map

Rocky Flats Lounge

11229 Highway 93, Boulder, CO

Category: Music

Ace Hi Tavern

1216 Washington Ave., Golden, CO

Category: Music

Candlelight Tavern

383 S. Pearl St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Kentucky Inn

890 S. Pearl St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

El Chapultepec

1962 Market St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Rustic Tavern

5126 W. 29th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Squeeze Inn

5395 W. 48th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

P.S. Lounge

3416 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Spitfire Grill at the Thunderbird Lounge - CLOSED

721 Quebec St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Nob Hill Inn

420 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Carioca Cafe (Bar Bar)

2060 Champa St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
101 comments
Shawna Cook
Shawna Cook

The best part of the game was my beer!!

Dustin Booth
Dustin Booth

I'm tired of re-re-re-re-posted articles, mostly.

Jose Montoya
Jose Montoya

I use to get pitchers of red bull and jager, then just walk out of Bar Bar, and go home. Oh and the pitcher only cost like $5. Man that use to be an awesome place.

Todd Divel
Todd Divel

Is that Garrett Carlin on the left?... If it is, then yes, that's a dive bar.

Ozzie Perch
Ozzie Perch

hey kids when you get to be 21 you can drink real beer!

Sean Dolan
Sean Dolan

Lions Lair... and wish 15th St tavern was still around

Bo Larsen
Bo Larsen

Jared is that you in the picture behind the group of people on the left?

Byron Day
Byron Day

That picture is another reason I'll never need to hang out at Bar Bar.

Debbi Milner
Debbi Milner

Agree with Columbine! But I love the Rustic Tavern. It's rightfully listed.

Johnny Zimmerman
Johnny Zimmerman

The fucking Rocky Flats Lounge yeah lets go drink at the old payroll office still laced with trace radiation, that sounds like a great idea, on this end of town 92nd Tavern is the only real dive bar been there almost 30 years and you can still smoke there, I'm sick of hipsters thinking a new bar that's designed to look like a dive bar suddenly is a dive bar.

Engrish Gord
Engrish Gord

Bill MacCallum , it's in a few different spots, netflix it, or rent it , not the movie , tv series only

Mke Catz
Mke Catz

Yea, that's the one Jason Joyce

Jason Joyce
Jason Joyce

Oh, you mean the "local family bowling alley" that everyone voted yes for and got duped?

Ross McAfee
Ross McAfee

Can't believe el charrito & the lair aren't on here

Ross McAfee
Ross McAfee

I think I see Bret & is that Andrew?

Beverly Jo
Beverly Jo

El Charrito should totally be on this list!

Tom Spain
Tom Spain

The 12 volt tavern didn't make it?

Engrish Gord
Engrish Gord

Did you know that #8 ( candlelight ) was in the shining tv series ?

Daniel Laplante
Daniel Laplante

If you people think candle light and Kentucky inn are what a joke!!!!! Dave Brayn owner of them is a coke head and gets mad when you take home a girl that he thought was hot. And second these bars are in wash park and there is nothing Dive about that area come on readers get real !!

cantafiodenise
cantafiodenise

Yeah Bar Bar.  Love that Place!  Truly Denver's best dive bar~)

James Galligan
James Galligan

Here's to keeping it classy with you in Diveiest places Jillie Annie

David Dinsmore
David Dinsmore

Sancho's?! That place is a freakin dive! Oh, wait...

Rex Decker
Rex Decker

Probably not an accurate list here. forgot sanchos broken arrow for sure.

Evan Mathis
Evan Mathis

Again with the 'best dive bars' list? Has it changed that much from two weeks ago? I love you guys but enough with the lists! If anyone is killing the coolness of dive bars it's you and your incessant lists!

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

The Dirty Duck Bar on Evans & Dahlia and Hart's Corner Bar on Sheridan and Mississippi should be included in the top ten.

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