The Ten Best Hipster Bars in Denver -- 2014 Edition

Categories: The List

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What hipster doesn't love a good speakeasy?
The word "hipster" gets tossed around a lot in the blogosphere, usually as a derogatory term for someone who wears different clothes or likes different things than the troll or flamer employing the word as a slur. But every generation has had its defining iconoclasts -- the mostly young and style-conscious who appear to be in the minority but over time end up defining a decade. Beatniks, hippies, punks, goths -- they all know who they are and define themselves by the music they listen to, the clothes they wear and the stuff they're into. And they all claim they live their lives outside the mainstream and free of definitions. Except that, for everyone else, they're pretty easy to spot. If you're a cultural anthropologist looking to observe hipsters in their element or maybe you're just new to town and looking for a hand-built bar within fixie-riding distance where you'll feel at home, here are ten great hipster hives for a drink and maybe some banjo music.

See also: The Top Ten Doughnuts in Denver

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The Meadowlark is a little hard to find, which makes it perfect for hipsters.
10) Meadowlark
2701 Larimer Street

If you're into hipster-spotting, you'll be impressed by the quantity of pork-pie hats, mustaches, scarves (even in the summer), owl glasses and full-sleeve tattoos at the Meadowlark. If you're a hipster, you're there for the subterranean location, the no-nonsense bar with canned beers and simple mixed drinks (the bartenders mostly ignore the short cocktail list) and the taxidermy. Great local and touring live acts are also a draw. And for added hipster cred, the Lumineers -- the royal family of sing-along earnestness, suspenders and cellos -- got their start here.

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Don't even think about asking for water at the Hi-Dive.
9 & 8) Sputnik and the hi-dive
3-7 South Broadway

Sputnik is the restaurant side and the hi-dive is the live-music venue, but both feature prominent bars and a dark, grungy atmosphere that appeals to the urban subspecies of hipster, the type who have been bemoaning the gentrification of the Baker neighborhood for years -- or at least since they turned 21 and started hanging out here. The hi-dive brings in some of the best indie bands from around the country, supplemented by vinyl nights and '80s dance parties. Sputnik offers cheap and eclectic food in a kitschy, mod-inflected dining room. Its bar displays jars of booze with unidentifiable stuff floating in them, a sign that something is being hand-made here, which hipsters love. Woodsier hipsters may appreciate a more rustic environment, so see our next choice, which was originally opened by the owner of these two.

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It's retro and rustic at the same time.
7) Lost Lake
3602 East Colfax Avenue

Lost Lake's current clientele may not be old enough to remember this location's previous incarnation (a bar called The Bulldog), but they certainly appreciate the cheap drinks and surprisingly well-selected musical acts that are primary draws for the East Colfax hipster staple. But what's really bringing them in is the rustic feel of the place: it exudes a vibe that suggests it could be a secret lodge a lumberjack might saunter into after a hard day's work in the northwest -- maybe next to a calm, pristine body of water called Lost Lake. A bar top made from large beams of ancient wood, dim lights, a wood-burning stove, black-and-white movies on the vintage TV set, and leather-clad booths all create a perfect nest for hipsters looking to settle in for a night. Add $2 PBRs and well drinks at happy hour, restrooms of questionable cleanliness, a gritty Colfax address and sometimes superb bands, and you've got a hipster spot, for sure.

Keep reading for more of our ten best hipster bars.


Location Info

Map

Meadowlark

2701 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Lost Lake Lounge

3602 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Sputnik

3 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music

Hi-dive

7 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music

City, O' City

206 E. 13th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Forest Room 5

2532 15th St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew

2810 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Stem Ciders

2811 Walnut Street, Denver, CO

Category: General

Denver Bicycle Cafe

1308 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: General

Green Russell

1422 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music


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65 comments
Jann Scott Live
Jann Scott Live

The real question you should be asking is how many young hipsters are becoming alcoholics? What's the rate of alcoholism in Colorado now as compared to 20 years ago

Mikale Elizabeth
Mikale Elizabeth

F/$& more than half the places are my favorites. I'm a hipster. Ahhhh no. No I'm not a hipster. \U0001f633

Tony Tafoya
Tony Tafoya

idk why you jerks get so mad why dont you make your own newspaper and do it your way instead of bad mouthing people for how they choose to write in there book?

Ryan Scannura
Ryan Scannura

Meadowlark is a douchebag breeding ground on weekends now. It's basically an extension of the Lo-Do bar scene. Avoid it on weekends, go on Monday night for authentic, quality jazz.

Cliff Pfeifer
Cliff Pfeifer

An article about "hipster spotting" prefaced by an explanation of how hipsters will define a generation, the irony is deep. Even deeper irony: now that these places are getting press, no true hipster would go there except to tell you about how they went there before it was cool. Wrap that thought around your cardigan sweater.

Dale Sawin
Dale Sawin

oh yes.....telling the roughly 7,300 people who participated in the Denver Zombie Crawl that you don't want their business....that's completely classy.

Jason Villalobos
Jason Villalobos

I'm with you Nick. The Westword just draws crismticism and negatives to our city. What poor use of resources Westword. Shame on you. Time to revamp what's positive 'round here. Also, when your content is minimized by all the ads, what's the point? I understand bills have to be paid but come on.

Ryan Leavelle
Ryan Leavelle

I don't know what "hipster" even means anymore, but if having a tasty cider makes me one then I don't want to be anything else.

Brian Daub
Brian Daub

Fuck hipsters. I was antisocial before it was cool.

Peter Handler
Peter Handler

Westwad! Again with the journalism that's not!

Ka D'Argo
Ka D'Argo

No. I will instead be partaking in that other legal recreational drug known as cannabis since it is far less toxic which leads to no hangover.

Jamie Gregory
Jamie Gregory

Ryan Means, Ryan Leavelle, Keil Weimer Leighton you dirty hipsters ;)

Chris Zahrt
Chris Zahrt

Why do you always post old articles?

Claire Ellen
Claire Ellen

You write this article and don't include Leelas? Westword should be in the ten worst cliche newspapers.

Shelby Cooper
Shelby Cooper

You cant have a hipster bar list in Denver without the Matchbox.......

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

Axe body spray is SO 2013.

Michael J Reeverts
Michael J Reeverts

Thanks now I know what to stay away from... or if I wanna get in a fight I know exactly where to go

Tom Pufky
Tom Pufky

Thanks , now I know which bars to avoid when I'm in Denver next month !!

Spiffie
Spiffie

...I'm so grateful that the word hipster is still a thing. I suppose any press is good press, but let's be clear that Jess and Peter of the denver bicycle cafe are not only excellent business owners and community participants, but their staff is above and beyond.

Brian McElvy
Brian McElvy

Thanks for the tips on where NOT to go in Denver.

Boop
Boop

I think I just said "duh" ten times in a row while reading this waste of 2 minutes of my life that I now cannot get back. Maybe I should go ride in a Denver Cruisers ride so that I can get some of my bro-ness back. Your writers are really just setting the standard here, aren't they?

Eric Isbell
Eric Isbell

Green Russell and City O City are my absolute most hated places in the city. Worst service and pretentious attitude. Plus Green Russell has a list of rules you must follow. Weren't speakeasies supposed to be for breaking rules?

Mike Fridge
Mike Fridge

I'm actually glad that people hate on this scene. The same kind of people that have always hated on anything that isn't tame and packaged and easy to listen to while being endorsed by the radio and your friends on the football team.. and without you ignorant peons it wouldn't be cool to be hip. So keep listening to boring music, meeting all your fancy friends for "cocks and apps" at linger and Lola, hanging out in wash park on the weekends with all your frat buddies. We will continue not giving a fuck.

Mike Fridge
Mike Fridge

Tell em Trundle and ^^Dave, looks like you have other things to be embarrassed about.

Mike Fridge
Mike Fridge

Kaila These are mostly by your house.. We should go get hipper.. If that's even a word, or humanly possible.

Michael Ashley Trundle
Michael Ashley Trundle

Hasn't this same article been published every 6 months or so? How about you publish the Ten Best Bro-Douche Bars in Denver instead and just show a map of LoDo and make them all tie for 1st place? Plus, lumping "beatniks, hippies, punks [and] goths" into one category as "hipsters" when none of them are remotely so is fucking lazy and idiotic.

Dave Swanson
Dave Swanson

Absolutely embarrassed to say I've been to 9 of 10 of these.

Greg Verzosa
Greg Verzosa

Hi-dive and Sputnik don't have the same owner, hi-dive got sold a couple of years ago....and Lost Lake also got bought last year by Larimer Lounge, I think...

Glenn Bertrand
Glenn Bertrand

I remember 2 years ago when Sanchos went from a hippy bar to a hipster bar for about a month. It was like a sitcom. They moved on soon enough.

Justin Mendez
Justin Mendez

^ My thoughts exactly, when did dressing like a early 1900's chimney sweep become cool :)

Tracy Owen
Tracy Owen

Kyle Warner thought you might need this handy guide. Heeeeeeheheh

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

Totally.  Let's hangout and become BFF.

Stanley1
Stanley1

You're not cool or hip, Mike.

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