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El Chapultepec
El Chapultepec
Photo: Len Borden

Denver's Iconic Dive Bars

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El Chapultepec
| Photo: Len Borden

Denver loves its restaurants and upscale cocktail bars, but the neighborhood dives, the iconic ones, the beloved ones, home to bar flies, dirty pool tables, juke boxes, and below-average food, have a special place in the Mile City's heart.

A collective sigh was heard when one of the oldest dives in Denver, the Lancer Lounge, closed a few weeks back. Thankfully, many others remain open and ready to pour cheap stiff drinks to faithful patrons. Eater, with able help from bar-hopper Jon Hartman, presents the map of Denver's Iconic Dive Bars.

Update: by popular demand, Eater added CandleLight Tavern to the map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. El Chapultepec

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1962 Market St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 295-9126
Right by the Ballpark, in a hot location, El Chapultapec is a landmark dive bar of the highest caliber that has had great live jazz since 1978. It is still going strong.

2. 3 Kings Tavern

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60 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 777-7352
Your local Punk Rock tavern. Some of the worst (and best) bands have cut their chops in this little slice of south Broadway.

3. PS Lounge

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3416 E Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 320-1200
This place is literally a hole in the wall. Everyone that comes in gets a free rose and a free alabama slammer. Rockstar bartender Anika Zappe worked here back in the day.

4. Thunderbird

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721 Quebec Street
Denver, CO
(303) 377-5730
A tiny 400 square foot neighborhood dive with regulars propping up the bar, an old pool table and cheap drinks. 400 square feet, the Squeeze is easily the teeny-tiniest joint in town. The annual car show is a highlight.

5. Sputnik

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3 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
(720) 570-4503
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This is in the 'high' class of dive bar with real upholstered booths, edible food and rotating art exhibits every month. It used to be connected to the Hi-Dive, but since these Siamese twins got separated, you can find a DJ or similar playing live music in the corner.

6. Sancho's Broken Arrow

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741 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 832-5288
Sancho’s location (next to the Fillmore, down Across the street from the Fillmore Auditorium, this dive has both the down and dirty vibe and dash of coolness to be popular. Cheap drinks flow and the smell of patchouli permeates the air. Happy hour starts at 4:20 p.m.

7. Don's Club Tavern

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723 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 832-9904
Just your average neighborhood dive bar, cheap drinks. Cheaper people.

8. Berkeley Inn

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3834 Tennyson
Denver, CO 80203
Dimly lit, home to many bar flies, filled with some arcade cabinets, pool tables, and a juke box, this place defines neighborhood dives.

9. Campus Lounge

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701 South University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 722-9696
A college dive bar, Campus Lounge serves decent Mexican and American food. Reasonable prices, friendly service, tiny bathrooms, and a jukebox are to be found there.

10. Carioca Cafe

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Bar Bar, officially named Carioca Cafe, is favorite of hipsters and homeless alike. There are dirty bathrooms, smoking inside, passed out homeless in the bathroom. The Breakfast special (no, they don't serve food) is the eye-opener, available from 7 to 10 am: 3/4 shot of vodka and an 8 oz of beer.

11. Crash 45

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321 E 45th Ave
Denver, CO 80216
This has been a bar since Denver was new. There have been a number of changing hands, but it forever was and forever will be a dive.

12. The Filling Station

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Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO 80216
Old thrift store and patio furniture inside, a jukebox where none of the songs are in English, and $2 pints in chilly cold glasses. What could be better? Cash only .

13. Lion's Lair

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2022 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 320-9200
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Old Style on draft, live music, and velvet paintings of lions on the wall. Irresistible.

14. Lost Lake Lounge

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3602 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 333-4345
Decorated like a dad's basement from the 70s, Lost Lake serves its signature drink 'the horse feather' out of thrift store mugs.

15. Candlelight Tavern

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383 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 778-9530
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Neighborhood dive with expected greasy grub - think $3 burgers- great shuffle board and other bar games, microbrews, and friendly staff. This place gets loud and bustling at night.

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1. El Chapultepec

1962 Market St, Denver, CO 80202
Right by the Ballpark, in a hot location, El Chapultapec is a landmark dive bar of the highest caliber that has had great live jazz since 1978. It is still going strong.
1962 Market St
Denver, CO 80202

2. 3 Kings Tavern

60 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
Your local Punk Rock tavern. Some of the worst (and best) bands have cut their chops in this little slice of south Broadway.
60 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

3. PS Lounge

3416 E Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206
This place is literally a hole in the wall. Everyone that comes in gets a free rose and a free alabama slammer. Rockstar bartender Anika Zappe worked here back in the day.
3416 E Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80206

4. Thunderbird

721 Quebec Street, Denver, CO
A tiny 400 square foot neighborhood dive with regulars propping up the bar, an old pool table and cheap drinks. 400 square feet, the Squeeze is easily the teeny-tiniest joint in town. The annual car show is a highlight.
721 Quebec Street
Denver, CO

5. Sputnik

3 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
This is in the 'high' class of dive bar with real upholstered booths, edible food and rotating art exhibits every month. It used to be connected to the Hi-Dive, but since these Siamese twins got separated, you can find a DJ or similar playing live music in the corner.
3 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

6. Sancho's Broken Arrow

741 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Sancho’s location (next to the Fillmore, down Across the street from the Fillmore Auditorium, this dive has both the down and dirty vibe and dash of coolness to be popular. Cheap drinks flow and the smell of patchouli permeates the air. Happy hour starts at 4:20 p.m.
741 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80203

7. Don's Club Tavern

723 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Just your average neighborhood dive bar, cheap drinks. Cheaper people.
723 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

8. Berkeley Inn

3834 Tennyson, Denver, CO 80203
Dimly lit, home to many bar flies, filled with some arcade cabinets, pool tables, and a juke box, this place defines neighborhood dives.
3834 Tennyson
Denver, CO 80203

9. Campus Lounge

701 South University Blvd., Denver, CO 80209
A college dive bar, Campus Lounge serves decent Mexican and American food. Reasonable prices, friendly service, tiny bathrooms, and a jukebox are to be found there.
701 South University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80209

10. Carioca Cafe

Denver, CO 80205
Bar Bar, officially named Carioca Cafe, is favorite of hipsters and homeless alike. There are dirty bathrooms, smoking inside, passed out homeless in the bathroom. The Breakfast special (no, they don't serve food) is the eye-opener, available from 7 to 10 am: 3/4 shot of vodka and an 8 oz of beer.

11. Crash 45

321 E 45th Ave, Denver, CO 80216
This has been a bar since Denver was new. There have been a number of changing hands, but it forever was and forever will be a dive.
321 E 45th Ave
Denver, CO 80216

12. The Filling Station

Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216
Old thrift store and patio furniture inside, a jukebox where none of the songs are in English, and $2 pints in chilly cold glasses. What could be better? Cash only .
Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO 80216

13. Lion's Lair

2022 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80206
Old Style on draft, live music, and velvet paintings of lions on the wall. Irresistible.
2022 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80206

14. Lost Lake Lounge

3602 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Decorated like a dad's basement from the 70s, Lost Lake serves its signature drink 'the horse feather' out of thrift store mugs.
3602 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80206

15. Candlelight Tavern

383 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80209
Neighborhood dive with expected greasy grub - think $3 burgers- great shuffle board and other bar games, microbrews, and friendly staff. This place gets loud and bustling at night.
383 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80209

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