Central to everything in downtown Denver is the Jet Hotel & Lounge, an intimate boutique hotel with 19 rooms, a chic lobby which turns into the Jet Bar in the evenings, and a member’s only nightclub. Chat up with Dylan Butler, a concierge at the Jet, and he’ll point you in the direction of several very cool places to grab a drink, whether you want to stay close to the hotel or explore some of the edgier parts of the city. So what’s on tap?
If you’re interested in the history of alcohol, or you just like an extra-dry martini, head to Cruise Room Martini Bar at the Oxford Hotel. This Art Deco lounge opened the day after Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and maintains it’s original design. Try out the free jukebox while sipping on house-made cocktails, all inspired during that dark period when alcohol was banned.
Wine lovers will surely enjoy the aptly named Wine Loft serving 70 wines by the glass and over 250 by the bottle. They also offer a seasonally-inspired “featured wine” and have a small menu with selected charcutière or cheese plates to choose from.
Larmier Square is a shopping and restaurant district with a few upscale clubs and lounges worth checking out if you’re looking to go out on the town. Just off Larmier Street is Lavish, which serves small-plates, specialized martinis, and bottle service in an über-classy environment. Spill touts itself as more of a hybrid bar and nightclub, where you can hang out at one of their full service bars and mingle, or lounge in a more intimate setting inside one of their serviced cabanas. They also have a great rooftop patio featuring a frozen drink machine in the summer.
Stumble outside the downtown district to Five Points, where you’ll find an edgier scene and a few good bars to choose from. Whiskey Bar is right near Coors Field and has an full selection of whiskeys to choose from as well as other liquor and beer. The Ginn Mill isn’t a bar that exclusively sells gin, but instead is a old-timer’s nickname for a local watering hole; a low-key, unpretentious drinking spot.
As far as Dylan’s favorites go? Head on over to My Brother’s Bar, which serves up some of the best burgers in town with beer-garden-style seating. During his time, Jack Kerouac was also known to come in and knock back a few now and again; it’s also one of the oldest bars in Denver. For some real local drinking and dining try Tocabe, northwest of downtown. Drink a few Colorado microbrews while you sample some truly unique Native American dishes. Lastly, for a double dose of drinks along with late-night munchies, check out Double Daughters and Mario’s Two-Fisted Pizza. The former is lounge with a design similar to one of Tim Burton’s artful masterpieces and showcases work from local artists, while the latter is one of the better late-serving restaurants in downtown Denver, offering that quintessential post-drinking food – pizza.
Colorado native Dylan Butler is no stranger to travel and adventure. He spent several years as a photographer on an aircraft carrier, has traveled all over the Pacific, and lived in Virginia and Japan. Besides checking out live shows with friends in Denver, he takes advantage of the great backpacking, camping, and skiing opportunities just outside the city in the Rocky Mountains. Dylan is currently loving life as a student and concierge at the Jet Hotel.
[photos courtesy of The Oxford Hotel and Dylan Butler]