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Golden Moon Speak
Golden Moon Speak
Adam Larkey

The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Now

Denver's cocktail scene keeps getting better.

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Golden Moon Speak
| Adam Larkey

More than ever before, Denver's bars and restaurants are offering elevated cocktail menus, with culinary inspired drinks, house made syrups and bitters, and locally distilled spirits. Which brings us to the question of where—where should I drink right now? What are the new cocktail joints? Where's hot to get a cocktail? Thus, we offer the Eater Cocktail Heatmap, which cycles seasonally to highlight the hot spots of the Denver sport of drinking. This edition of the heatmap is a meld of seasoned veterans where a seat at the bar is still hard to come by and outstanding newbies.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ste Ellie

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1553 Platte Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 477-1477
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Ste. Ellie, sister bar to Colt & Gray, is a favorite of cocktail aficionados and the industry crowd. Bar manager Kevin Burke makes stunning classic cocktails and rotates a list of original drinks that seem to have something for every taste. Any riff on the Negroni is worth a try here.

2. Williams & Graham

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3160 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 997-8886
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Sean Kenyon's speakeasy attracts some of Denver's best bartending talent. Right now, behind the bar, you can find Chad Michael George, Nick Touch, Jason Patz, and the lovely Allison Widdecombe. Ask these fine folks to fix you up one of the seasonal signature cocktails or go for a classic - you won't go wrong no matter what you choose. Bonus: Keep an eye out for the Occidental, sister bar to Williams & Graham, opening this summer.

3. Acorn

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3350 Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO 80216
(720) 542-3721
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Sit at the bar or in the dining room, but always get a cocktail at this popular RiNo restaurant. Bar manager Alex Parks along with owner and mixologist Bryan Dayton serve drinks like the California Cocos Fizz made with St. George terroir, sage, grapefruit, lemon, black pepper, coconu, egg white, and Peychaud's.

4. Green Russell

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1422 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 893-6505
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The LoDo speakeasy serves Prohibition era-themed cocktails in a cozy environment. Tell the bartender what you like and allow him or her to work some magic into your crafted drink. Bonus: on weekend nights, grab a drink before your next drink at Bar 1, the entry bar area at the Green Russell.

5. Argyll Whisky Beer, A Gastropub

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1035 E. 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 847-0850
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This Uptown gastropub features an impressive list of whiskys and beers, but also a creative cocktail list. Among the must-haves, the Thoroughbred, a combination of single barrel Buffalo Trace bourbon, smoked black tea, and grapefruit bitters.
501 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 800-7705
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The ping pong and Asian-inspired eatery features an ever-changing line-up of cocktails from bartender Randy Layman. Right now, try the Nigori Sake, made with green tea-Infused Death's Door gin, orgeat, and lime.

7. OAK at fourteenth

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1400 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-3622
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Bryan Dayton, co-owner and well-recognized mixologist, built a cocktail program that keeps Boulderites coming in for another one. Highlights include low alcohol cocktails and house-made sodas. Right now, try the Ruby Ruby, a gin-based drink that combines Ruby Port, Leopold’s cherry liqueur, Cocktail Punk Aromatic Bitters, lemon, and honey.

8. The Bitter Bar

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835 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-3050
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Talented bartender James Lee made the Bitter Bar a no-brainer choice for crafted cocktails in Boulder. The cocktail menu is approachable yet interesting and all drinks are now priced under $10. Try the Papa'Loma, made with silver rum, Maraschino liquor, and housemade grapefruit soda or the Blue Velvet, a combination of vodka, creme de violet, lemon, and orgeat, that comes on tap.

9. Mercantile Dining & Provision

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1701 Wynkoop Street
Suite 100 Denver, CO 80202
(720) 460-3733
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The popular Union Station restaurant has an outstanding team of bartenders to complement that talented chefs. Don't miss the Short Round, a combination of Novo Fogo cachaca, Ancho Reyes, grapefruit, lime, and pistachio.

10. RiNo Yacht Club

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3350 Brighton Boulevard
Denver, CO 80216
Set in the middle of The Source, the Yacht Club has become a cozy community bar with great service and very fun drinks.Try "The Age of Exploration," which combines rum with housemade masala sangria syrup and dry curaçao.

11. Blackbelly Market

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1606 Conestoga Street
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 247-1000
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Bartender and manager Michael Cerretani has created a beverage list that seamlessly complements the food created by chef Hosea Rosenberg. Don't miss the Ginger’s Bees (Herradura Blanco, ginger, fresh lemon, honey) and the Pins & Needles (42 below Vodka, prickly pear, lime, and ginger).

12. The Cooper Lounge

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1701 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 460-3738
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There isn't a prettier place in Denver to enjoy a cocktail. The seasoned team of bartenders mastered classic drinks. Get a Martini and enjoy.

13. Beetle Bar

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3014 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 389-8109
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The brand new bar on East Colfax has the charm of a speakeasy and great crafted cocktails created by bartender Anthony Giovanni. Enter through the back door and expect a relaxed and comfortable vibe.

14. Mizuna

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225 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 832-4778
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Bartender Austin Carson has turned the cocktail program at this classic Capitol Hill restaurant into an attraction of its own. Try one of the ever-changing drinks like the Splazsh, a Margarita made with Cimarron Blanco tequila, blood orange, pineapple, triple ‘gum’, salt water, and lime.

15. Golden Moon Speak

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1111 Miners Aly
Golden, CO 80401
(720) 638-1155
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The Golden distillery welcomes guests into its bar with house-made spirits, crafted cocktails, and, very often, live music. Give The Astronaut a try. The drink is made with Amer dit Picon, bourbon, turbinado, and chocolate bitters.

1. Ste Ellie

1553 Platte Street, Denver, CO 80202
Ste. Ellie, sister bar to Colt & Gray, is a favorite of cocktail aficionados and the industry crowd. Bar manager Kevin Burke makes stunning classic cocktails and rotates a list of original drinks that seem to have something for every taste. Any riff on the Negroni is worth a try here.
1553 Platte Street
Denver, CO 80202

2. Williams & Graham

3160 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211
Sean Kenyon's speakeasy attracts some of Denver's best bartending talent. Right now, behind the bar, you can find Chad Michael George, Nick Touch, Jason Patz, and the lovely Allison Widdecombe. Ask these fine folks to fix you up one of the seasonal signature cocktails or go for a classic - you won't go wrong no matter what you choose. Bonus: Keep an eye out for the Occidental, sister bar to Williams & Graham, opening this summer.
3160 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80211

3. Acorn

3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216
Sit at the bar or in the dining room, but always get a cocktail at this popular RiNo restaurant. Bar manager Alex Parks along with owner and mixologist Bryan Dayton serve drinks like the California Cocos Fizz made with St. George terroir, sage, grapefruit, lemon, black pepper, coconu, egg white, and Peychaud's.
3350 Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO 80216

4. Green Russell

1422 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80202
The LoDo speakeasy serves Prohibition era-themed cocktails in a cozy environment. Tell the bartender what you like and allow him or her to work some magic into your crafted drink. Bonus: on weekend nights, grab a drink before your next drink at Bar 1, the entry bar area at the Green Russell.
1422 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202

5. Argyll Whisky Beer, A Gastropub

1035 E. 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218
This Uptown gastropub features an impressive list of whiskys and beers, but also a creative cocktail list. Among the must-haves, the Thoroughbred, a combination of single barrel Buffalo Trace bourbon, smoked black tea, and grapefruit bitters.
1035 E. 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80218

6. Ace

501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
The ping pong and Asian-inspired eatery features an ever-changing line-up of cocktails from bartender Randy Layman. Right now, try the Nigori Sake, made with green tea-Infused Death's Door gin, orgeat, and lime.
501 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

7. OAK at fourteenth

1400 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Bryan Dayton, co-owner and well-recognized mixologist, built a cocktail program that keeps Boulderites coming in for another one. Highlights include low alcohol cocktails and house-made sodas. Right now, try the Ruby Ruby, a gin-based drink that combines Ruby Port, Leopold’s cherry liqueur, Cocktail Punk Aromatic Bitters, lemon, and honey.
1400 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

8. The Bitter Bar

835 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302
Talented bartender James Lee made the Bitter Bar a no-brainer choice for crafted cocktails in Boulder. The cocktail menu is approachable yet interesting and all drinks are now priced under $10. Try the Papa'Loma, made with silver rum, Maraschino liquor, and housemade grapefruit soda or the Blue Velvet, a combination of vodka, creme de violet, lemon, and orgeat, that comes on tap.
835 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302

9. Mercantile Dining & Provision

1701 Wynkoop Street, Suite 100 Denver, CO 80202
The popular Union Station restaurant has an outstanding team of bartenders to complement that talented chefs. Don't miss the Short Round, a combination of Novo Fogo cachaca, Ancho Reyes, grapefruit, lime, and pistachio.
1701 Wynkoop Street
Suite 100 Denver, CO 80202

10. RiNo Yacht Club

3350 Brighton Boulevard, Denver, CO 80216
Set in the middle of The Source, the Yacht Club has become a cozy community bar with great service and very fun drinks.Try "The Age of Exploration," which combines rum with housemade masala sangria syrup and dry curaçao.
3350 Brighton Boulevard
Denver, CO 80216

11. Blackbelly Market

1606 Conestoga Street, Boulder, CO 80301
Bartender and manager Michael Cerretani has created a beverage list that seamlessly complements the food created by chef Hosea Rosenberg. Don't miss the Ginger’s Bees (Herradura Blanco, ginger, fresh lemon, honey) and the Pins & Needles (42 below Vodka, prickly pear, lime, and ginger).
1606 Conestoga Street
Boulder, CO 80301

12. The Cooper Lounge

1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80211
There isn't a prettier place in Denver to enjoy a cocktail. The seasoned team of bartenders mastered classic drinks. Get a Martini and enjoy.
1701 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80211

13. Beetle Bar

3014 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206
The brand new bar on East Colfax has the charm of a speakeasy and great crafted cocktails created by bartender Anthony Giovanni. Enter through the back door and expect a relaxed and comfortable vibe.
3014 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80206

14. Mizuna

225 E 7th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Bartender Austin Carson has turned the cocktail program at this classic Capitol Hill restaurant into an attraction of its own. Try one of the ever-changing drinks like the Splazsh, a Margarita made with Cimarron Blanco tequila, blood orange, pineapple, triple ‘gum’, salt water, and lime.
225 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

15. Golden Moon Speak

1111 Miners Aly, Golden, CO 80401
The Golden distillery welcomes guests into its bar with house-made spirits, crafted cocktails, and, very often, live music. Give The Astronaut a try. The drink is made with Amer dit Picon, bourbon, turbinado, and chocolate bitters.
1111 Miners Aly
Golden, CO 80401

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