Denver

The Absolute Best Sports Bars in Denver

The Olympics are here!

Esters Denver
Esters Denver
Esters Denver

It’s been a few years since a professional sports team from the Mile High City has hoisted a championship trophy, and yet Denver remains a passionate base for athletic action. Fans who have moved to town from all over the world congregate next to natives clad in orange or purple. The following watering holes cater to all manner of game-watching, whether it’s for March Madness or the big game on Sunday-or the Olympic Games, which finally here. Don your lucky item, sidle up next to some strangers, and order a bucket or four.

The Original Brooklyn’s

Sun Valley
This is a real Bronco’s legacy bar, having been opened just blocks from the stadium in 1983. It feels like an entirely hallowed space, having originally been constructed nearly a century earlier in 1896. This is a place where people have watched much of the trajectory of a true Denver dynasty, with fans celebrating the victories and lamenting the losses year after glorious year. Every bar staple can be expected, with quesadillas, chicken fingers, BLTs, and burritos all keeping it decidedly unfussy.

Courtesy of Tom's Watch Bar
Courtesy of Tom’s Watch Bar
Courtesy of Tom’s Watch Bar

Tom’s Watch Bar

Ballpark
Tom’s Watch Bar recently hit McGregor Square as a new big boy on the block. Claiming over 155 TVs, a full stadium screen, and golf simulation rooms courtesy of Top Golf, this is a truly mammoth ode to the viewing of all things athletic. Cocktails like the Cactus Ass Kick and the Cocomojito are joined by pickle brined crispy chicken, a Rockies green chili burger and a fully developed taco menu that doesn’t shy away from stacking one of its tortillas with butter-poached shrimp and lump crab. 

SOBO 151

Baker
If hockey, a long list of Czech drafts and minty spirits, and schnitzel, kielbasa, and beef goulash is your idea of a well done evening, SOBO 151 is the place. The lights are dim, the ashtrays generally on their way towards filled, and the crowd is almost always set to mingle. This place is inarguably bold, built for people who are ready for a little friendly confrontation, and the joys of making your opinion known, whatever the consequence. 

Stoney's Bar and Grill
Stoney’s Bar and Grill
Stoney’s Bar and Grill

Stoney’s

Capitol Hill, North Capitol
Stoney’s has established itself as a major hub for folks trying to enjoy any number of games in an appropriately raucous setting. Its OG Cap Hill location on Lincoln is staggeringly large, with room after room of TVs, fried food, and huge plastic cups full of suds. A second location, dubbed Stoney’s Uptown Joint, is more lowkey, though not by much. As the world inches back towards full sports fervor, both locations are starting to show signs that nature is healing. 

Sports Column

Union Station
Sports Column is as old-school as it comes. The spot, just a (Hall of Famer!) Larry Walker-throw away from Coors Field celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and we’re pretty sure they haven’t changed as much as a barstool since opening day. And that’s all fine by us. In the ever-changing landscape that is LoDo, it’s comforting to have a dependable stalwart-one with cheap drinks, suitable fare, free popcorn, and every goddamn game under the sun properly cast across a full range of colossal televisions.

Esters Denver
Esters Denver
Esters Denver

Esters Pub

Virginia Village, South Park Hill
Esters has an admirable formula and has made it work in two neighborhoods, nearly taking over the surrounding area as the go-to spot for, well, just about everything. They have amazing pizza (many of which are named after Phish songs), plentiful brews, a family-friendly atmosphere, and a killer brunch menu. And about those sports. Esters comes correct, with Sunday being as lively as anywhere else in town. The TV set-up at the latest location in Park Hill is particularly impressive.

RiNo Beer Garden
RiNo Beer Garden
RiNo Beer Garden

RiNo Beer Garden

Cole
RiNo Beer Garden is one of the best places in the neighborhood to enjoy the game while knocking a few back on the place’s 4,000 square foot crown jewel-the patio. It also boasts a massive tap list with an endless array of brews both local and big name, and more than a few ciders and hard seltzers. Perhaps best of all is the weekend brunch, featuring robust plates of corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy, and black forest pancakes with chocolate mousse, cherry compote, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.

College Inn

Hale
The College, as it is affectionately known, has been slinging beers on its corner of east 8th Avenue since 1958. As the neighborhood around it has grown, College Inn has stayed mostly the same, sticking to its guns as one of the last great truly unapologetic dives in the city. Cheap drinks and daily specials dot the blackboard as regulars look upward to the sports on the many TVs. If you’re feeling nostalgic, the green chili is basically a window back in time, providing good evidence that the city always has had its priorities straight.

Occidental

Highland
While Occidental, the more visible sister bar to neighboring Williams & Graham, may not have many of the trappings of a traditional sports bar, it definitely is a good place to enjoy a range of sports. As the pigskin gets tossed around on the big screens behind the bar, metal or punk is sure to be blaring on the speakers. Vibe aside, Occidental certainly has some of the best nosh-with items running from poblano guacamole, to kimchi tots, and especially for the Jersey transplants, a Taylor Ham Sandwich.

British Bulldog
British Bulldog
British Bulldog

The British Bulldog

Five Points
It should come as little surprise that The British Bulldog is a good place to watch soccer. This is a solid bar for proper bouts, with all day specials never straying from $4 wells and $6 shots of Jameson. From there the week covers international staples done in proper English pub fashion, with Monday’s saag and a soda special preceding Pakistani Tuesday, a Chappali Kebab meal on Thursday, and fish and chips rounding out the week. This is a place for vigorously cheered pints, be it the World Cup or an entirely average afternoon. 

Society Sports & Spirits

Union Station
When you walk into Society Sports and Spirits, the first thing you’ll notice is TVs. Lots of them. We’re talking three projectors, 28 flat screens, four sound zones, all major sports packages, and the capacity for 16 different games at once. The Texans, Steelers, Iowa State Cyclones, Arkansas Razorbacks, UH Cougars, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chargers, Broncos, Avalanche, Rockets, and Nuggets all are welcome here, with the spot acting as an official alumni bar.

Blake Street Tavern
Blake Street Tavern
Blake Street Tavern

Blake Street Tavern

Five Points
Blake Street Tavern holds a special place in the heart of any Denver-bred sports fan-especially Rockies fans. Located just a few blocks from Coors Field, Blake Street has been an important stop on many a pilgrimage either to or from the stadium. The huge, 18,000 square foot space has plenty of room to accommodate the inevitable throngs, all enjoying the TVs, bar games, heaping plates of nachos and what appear to be endlessly flowing taps. Blake Street is run less like a restaurant and more like a Ford assembly line, which is fine by us. Keep it coming.

Chopper’s

Cherry Creek
We’ve heard tell that there are walls at Choppers behind all of its televisions, but we cannot confirm. The venerable institution is named after former Nuggets trainer, Robert “Chopper” Traviglini, who renovated the old Rick’s Cafe in 1996 with his partners. Besides just about any game on the sun being broadcast across the visual array, the Chopper’s menu is full of the kind of classics built to soak up long nights-well-stacked burgers, spicy Philly eggrolls, wings, and meatloaf abound. 

Spot Bar & Grill
Spot Bar & Grill
Spot Bar & Grill

Spot Bar & Grill

Speer
The regulars who frequent “the” Spot may be a little miffed to be included on this list. Why? Because it’s an under-the-radar neighborhood gem. Size is relative, here, with the smallish joint packing in as many people, taps, and TVs as can be. The congenial vibe and cramped surroundings make any game a hoot. The twice-daily happy hours don’t hurt either.

Tap & Burger Concepts
Tap & Burger Concepts
Tap & Burger Concepts

Tap & Burger

Highland, West Colfax, Tech Center
At all three locations of Tap & Burger’s locations, the team sticks with a tried-and-true formula-juicy burgers, a massive stable of rotating beers on tap, and sports on plenty of well-positioned TVs. In recent months, the specials have been getting increasingly creative, with burgers rarely sticking to the straight and narrow. There’s also bubbling plates of fully customizable mac and beer cheese, and a surprisingly show-stealing set of salads.

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Colin Wrenn is a Thrillist contributor.

Colin St. John is a Denver native who contributes to Rolling Stone, Esquire, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Deadspin and other various publications. He likes some specific things (chicken sandwiches, Richard Linklater movies) and dislikes others (sliced tomatoes, guns).

Denver

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Denver This Year

For a successful St. Patrick's Day, hit these parades, barcrawls, parties, and festivals.

VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER

Grab your green and your Guinness-St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, and there’s fun to be had. In addition to being the first big celebratory holiday after New Year’s, St. Paddy’s is also a signal of spring; more hours of sunshine, T-shirt temps, and filling Blake, Market, and Larimer with drunken revelry make up a particularly Denver type of equinox. However you plan to celebrate-with family friendly activities or for those over the legal drinking age only-there are parades to be watched, playful drinks to be sipped, and a whole lot of shamrock-ing to do.

Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits

Dance a jig or two at Mile High Spirits’ Shamrock Shenanigans

March 17
If you’re ready to put your dancing shoes to good use, wiggle your way on over to Mile High Spirits-doors are opening at 12 pm and there’s no cover ‚Äėtil 10. Enjoy MHS’ drinks, big dance floor, and even bigger outdoor patio for all the Irish pride and shenanigans you can handle.

Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

Whip up steak for a St. Paddy’s Date Night

March 17
Cook Street’s special St. Paddy’s Day class involves making the perfect steak while sipping on Irish whiskey. On Friday only, learn about proteins, cooking methods, and choosing side dishes carefully while cooking up traditional Irish cuisine.

Crawl around town. You know, figuratively…

March 17 – 18
Is it a drinking holiday in Denver if there aren’t a handful of bar crawls happening? Probably not. St. Paddy’s Day is no different; you can start crawling from a number of bars, but a few in particular have everything plotted out for you (for a small fee). Start at the Ginn Mill and receive a map of over 10 pub locations you’ll be crawling to either Friday or Saturday, plus drink special vouchers. There’s also a crawl departing from Nola Jane (Friday only) with its own food and drink specials, plus a scavenger hunt and some St. Paddy’s merch, too.

The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat

Visit one of Denver’s Irish Pubs

March 17 – 18
If you can’t think of a better place to spend St. Paddy’s Day then at a local Irish pub, we salute you-just be prepared to throw a few elbows making your way to the bar. Denver’s got several good ol’ pubs from Broadway to Larimer Square that’ll be in full swing this weekend, pouring fresh pints as far as the eye can see. Check out Scruffy Murphy’s, Nallen’s, The Irish Rover, Finley’s, The Celtic on Market, or the Fainting Goat for that SPD revelry you know, love, and trekked out for.

Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square

Sip and savour St. Paddy’s themed bevvies

Through March 17
Everyone pulls out the green food dye and mint flavouring for St. Paddy’s, but there are some other creative drink specials to sample, too. The OG’s got a boozy milkshake for the occasion, aptly named “Who’s Your Paddy,” a mix of vanilla ice cream, Cr√®me de Menthe, Tullamore Dew, Bailey’s, and whipped cream. BEZEL’s Irish Matcha Man is pretty unique, with Teeling Small Batch whiskey, lime, thyme-infused honey, and matcha powder. And then Slater’s 50/50 takes it to another level (unsurprisingly) with its Lucky Mint Green Shake: mint-flavored ice cream in a frosting-rimmed glass with Lucky Charm marshmallows, rainbow stripe sour strips, whipped cream and green sprinkles. Other notable specials can be found at Poka Lola Social Club, Dairy Block’s Moo Bar, and Seven Grand.

Sing along and cheers to live music

March 17
Denver’s The Monkey Barrel is known for its regular live performances, and this St. Patrick’s Day you can tune in to Elijah Petty & The Part-Times and other musical guests if you’re in search of a chiller spot to sip your Guinness. Or, have one of the best burgers in town while relishing the shenanigans and live music of Cherry Cricket Cherry Creek this St. Paddy’s Day. Food and drink specials will also be available through the holiday weekend, so leave extra room or wear your stretchy (green) pants.

HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series

Show your St. Paddy’s spirit by‚Ķ running?

March 18
Feeling restless? Or maybe you’re itching to get a few laps in before hammering down several pints this Saturday? Either way, Highlands Ranch is hosting its St. Patrick’s Day 5K where finishing the race gets you St. Patrick’s Day merch, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, and of course, a complimentary pint courtesy of Living the Dream Brewing.

Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company

Drink and do good at Holidaily Brewing Co.

March 17
This St. Paddy’s Day, Holidaily and the Gluten Intolerance Group are putting on their Raise a Pint, Lend a Hand fundraiser. A special glitter and green Firkin tapping is happening at 4 pm at both taprooms, with special (and gluten-free) treats available at the Golden location, thanks to Farmhouse 5280 and Waive the Grain bakery. 10% of all St. Patrick’s Day sales will be donated to the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery

Party at a local distillery

March 17 – 18
Talnua Distillery is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day bash to remember this year, featuring food trucks, live music, special themed cocktails, and more. Limited bottles of Talnua’s exclusive Olde Saint’s Keep whiskey will be available for purchase, which you can hang onto while you dance along to pipe bands or eat a brat or two from El Jefe’s.

Watch some Irish step dancing

March 17
Head on over to Stanley Marketplace to witness the talent and skill of the students at the Wick School of Irish Dance at 12 pm, and follow it up with a green cerveza at Cheluna Brewing Co. Of course, plenty of tasty lunch and dinner options are available around the marketplace so you can soak up a bit of that beer.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

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