Must-Visit Hidden Bars in Denver
Sometimes the finer things in life require a little extra work. The thrill of the hunt is what makes Denver’s speakeasies and hidden bars more exciting. While not easy to locate, here are a few places that are worth the effort to seek them out.
Williams & Graham: This auspicious looking bookstore is actually Denver’s only true speakeasy. With no signage or distinguishable bars features, one might not realize you can drink here. You enter what looks like a book store and give your name to a clerk. The clerk writes your name on paper and passes it through a crack in the wall. Then you wait. IF you’re granted entry (which simply means there is room for you in this 60-seat establishment), the clerk pulls a book on the case and a door opens. Access granted (3160 Tejon St.; 303-997-8886).
Bannock Street Garage: This spot near the higher pursuits of the Denver Art Museum is quite hidden. That’s because it looks like, well, an auto mechanic’s garage. It also has a vending machine filled with PBR. Another interesting throwback: during weekday happy hour, the bar offers $1.50 canned beers like Old Style, Schlitz and Olympia (1015 Bannock St.; 303-534-7000).
The Cruise Room: This dimly lit bar inside the Oxford Hotel has been Denver’s hidden gem for decades because the room is actually Denver’s first bar, opening the day after Prohibition ended. However, few people outside the local area seem to known about it. A local business crowd and out-of-town hotel guests both hang out here, making for an interesting mix. Add in a classic martini to match the classic chrome décor (1600 17th St.; 303-825-1107).
The Green Russell: This Larimer Square bar is hidden behind a pie shop and is so secret, no address is listed on the bar’s website (although it is posted on Facebook). You don’t need a password to enter, like folks did during the Prohibition Era — reservations used to be required, but a recent policy change means that now all walk-ins are welcome, depending on space availability. The bartenders at the Green Russell also prefer you put your cell phone away actually talk with people. Conversation and cocktails are the rule at this Denver speakeasy (1422 Larimer St.; 303-893-6505).
Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Spirits, Wine