(credit: Inga’s Alpine Lounge)
As 2014 comes to a close, Mile High City cocktail connoisseurs look back on the year and attempt to remember the hazy nights spent out on the town. In those booze-begotten memories are the locations where wild nights of frivolity were spent. Without a doubt, Denver drinkers visited their favorite haunts that have been serving up drinks since Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” days. However, the city also welcomed several new cocktail bars to the scene that top our list of best local watering holes.
Syntax Physic Opera
554 South Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
Described on its website as the “physical manifestation” of the city’s 11-year-old music, art and literary review magazine Denver Syntax, Syntax Physic Opera serves up a variety of unique cocktails along with small plates for snacking. This venue on South Broadway hosts live performances by local bands as well as open mic nights for musicians and comedians. The bar’s cocktail mastermind, Charles Anderson, has concocted drinks based on Denver’s history. This bar prides itself on using all local ingredients in its drinks.
Inga’s Alpine Ski Lodge
5151 Leetsdale Avenue
Denver, CO 80246
With one of the finest patio seating areas of any bar in Denver, Inga’s Alpine Ski Lodge is a kitschy throwback. When you walk into Inga’s, it feels like you’ve been transported back in time to a 1960s ski chalet. Beer lovers have a choice of craft brews to whet their whistles while cocktail drinkers can pick from any number of James Bond-themed drinks. Inga’s Alpine Ski Lodge comes from the mastermind behind The Bar Car, Jonesy’s EatBar and The Horseshoe Lounge.
1553 Platte Street
Denver, CO 80202
Just downstairs from Colt & Gray, Ste. Ellie is C&G’s sister bar. Opening at the end of 2013, this spot really made its mark on the Highlands area in 2014. Serving up small plates and seasonal cocktail creations, this small intimate lounge is perfect for high-end drinks and dark, moody atmosphere. One Yelp user noted that Ste. Ellie serves up great cocktails “without the pretentiousness.” Behind the bar you’ll find cocktail geniuses Ryan Conklin, Matty Durgin and Christina Andrews.
Related: Top Microbreweries in Denver
The Cooper Lounge
1701 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202
Connected to Union Station’s Crawford Hotel, The Cooper Lounge is the cocktail bar you visit to impress someone. Whether it’s a first date or a business client, The Cooper Lounge serves luxurious cocktail creations in a stunningly glamorous setting. Sit on the mezzanine balcony as you sip a Coloradier or Mile Hi Club and watch as the world goes by in the city’s newly renovated and revitalized Union Station. Also, dine on the finest seafood the city has to offer from Stoic and Genuine while drinking at The Cooper Lounge.
Greg Gallagher is the brilliant booze-slinging businessman that brought you The Front Porch and Gaslamp. Now with Roosevelt, his 2014 venture, he and his staff are serving up fine American cocktails. While you can, of course, order a classic martini, Roosevelt mixes up its own brand of cocktail creations. For example, the Ruskie Nail combines Skyy Ginger, Canton, Benedictine, candied ginger and a lemon twist. This locale is a perfect spot for some ol’ fashioned cocktail drinking.
Alli Sands is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.