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Ol' Dixie Bull at the RiNo Yacht Clun
Ol' Dixie Bull at the RiNo Yacht Clun
Adam Larkey

The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Now

Denver's cocktail scene is bustling. These twelve bars and restaurants are sure to hit the spot for all your cocktail needs.

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Ol' Dixie Bull at the RiNo Yacht Clun
| 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 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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Less than a year old, Ste. Ellie, sister bar to Colt & Gray, quickly became a favorite of cocktail aficionados. 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.

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 Blessed Satisfaction, with Hendrick's, Drambuie 15, cardamaro and Dram Apothecary chamomile bitters.

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.

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 newly opened gastropub in Uptown features an impressive list of whiskys and beers, but also a creative cocktail list. Among the drinks created by Ryan Conklin and Kamuran Mataraci, the Tuck & Roll, a combination of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon, raspberry, mint, and lemon is a crowd favorite.
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 Double Happiness, made with Leopold Bros. Navy Strength Gin, Campari, lemon, sugar, and a few dashes of Leopold Bros. Absinthe.

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 fizzes like this season's blueberry oolong soda.

8. The Bitter Bar

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835 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-3050
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Now under sole ownership of bartender James Lee, the Bitter Bar remains 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. Golden Moon Speakeasy

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1111 Miners Aly
Golden, CO 80401
(720) 638-1155
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This speakeasy conjures up pre-prohibition style punches and long drinks, all of which are made using Golden Moon Distillery spirits, also available for purchase by the bottle. For a taste of the season, look to the Autumn in Wisconsin, made with Golden Moon Apple Jack, apple butter and apple cider. GMS also offers a Happy Hour every Tuesday - Sunday, 2 to 7 p.m. with seven cocktails priced at $7.

10. The Arvada Tavern

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5707 Olde Wadsworth Blvd
Arvada, CO 80002
(303) 690-6269
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A taste of history infuses this tavern: Arvada Tavern was the first licensed Tavern after the end of the Prohibition. Today, the vintage yet vibrant atmosphere is an ideal place to discover a new favorite cocktail or enjoy one of the classics.

11. Mercantile Dining & Provision

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1701 Wynkoop Street
Suite 100 Denver, CO 80202
(720) 460-3733
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The new Union Station restaurant, though young, entered the Denver dining scene with a bang and a stunning cocktail list. An emphasis on quality, Colorado ingredients extends beyond its bites to its beverages, too: the Colfax Martini is made with Aylesbury duck vodka, vermouth, Mercantile jardinière and olive.

12. RiNo Yacht Club

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3350 Brighton Boulevard
Denver, CO 80216
The end of August saw RiNo Yacht Club owner Mary Wright set sail into new territory with cultural, world-inspired cocktails in a unique, community-driven atmosphere. Set your sights on "The Age of Exploration," which combines rum with housemade masala sangria syrup and dry curaçao.

1. Ste Ellie

1553 Platte Street, Denver, CO 80202
Less than a year old, Ste. Ellie, sister bar to Colt & Gray, quickly became a favorite of cocktail aficionados. 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.
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 Blessed Satisfaction, with Hendrick's, Drambuie 15, cardamaro and Dram Apothecary chamomile bitters.
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.
1422 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202

5. Argyll Whisky Beer, A Gastropub

1035 E. 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218
This newly opened gastropub in Uptown features an impressive list of whiskys and beers, but also a creative cocktail list. Among the drinks created by Ryan Conklin and Kamuran Mataraci, the Tuck & Roll, a combination of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon, raspberry, mint, and lemon is a crowd favorite.
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 Double Happiness, made with Leopold Bros. Navy Strength Gin, Campari, lemon, sugar, and a few dashes of Leopold Bros. Absinthe.
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 fizzes like this season's blueberry oolong soda.
1400 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

8. The Bitter Bar

835 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302
Now under sole ownership of bartender James Lee, the Bitter Bar remains 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. Golden Moon Speakeasy

1111 Miners Aly, Golden, CO 80401
This speakeasy conjures up pre-prohibition style punches and long drinks, all of which are made using Golden Moon Distillery spirits, also available for purchase by the bottle. For a taste of the season, look to the Autumn in Wisconsin, made with Golden Moon Apple Jack, apple butter and apple cider. GMS also offers a Happy Hour every Tuesday - Sunday, 2 to 7 p.m. with seven cocktails priced at $7.
1111 Miners Aly
Golden, CO 80401

10. The Arvada Tavern

5707 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002
A taste of history infuses this tavern: Arvada Tavern was the first licensed Tavern after the end of the Prohibition. Today, the vintage yet vibrant atmosphere is an ideal place to discover a new favorite cocktail or enjoy one of the classics.
5707 Olde Wadsworth Blvd
Arvada, CO 80002

11. Mercantile Dining & Provision

1701 Wynkoop Street, Suite 100 Denver, CO 80202
The new Union Station restaurant, though young, entered the Denver dining scene with a bang and a stunning cocktail list. An emphasis on quality, Colorado ingredients extends beyond its bites to its beverages, too: the Colfax Martini is made with Aylesbury duck vodka, vermouth, Mercantile jardinière and olive.
1701 Wynkoop Street
Suite 100 Denver, CO 80202

12. RiNo Yacht Club

3350 Brighton Boulevard, Denver, CO 80216
The end of August saw RiNo Yacht Club owner Mary Wright set sail into new territory with cultural, world-inspired cocktails in a unique, community-driven atmosphere. Set your sights on "The Age of Exploration," which combines rum with housemade masala sangria syrup and dry curaçao.
3350 Brighton Boulevard
Denver, CO 80216

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