The ten best dive bars in metro Denver
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.
Punks at the bar at Bar Bar. All photos by Jim Wills.
See also: Rocky Top Tavern opens in former Hill-Top
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.
9) Ace-Hi Tavern
inside the Ace-Hi.
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.
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:
8a) Kentucky Inn
Putting a few back at the 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.