glasses filled with various cocktails coming together for a cheers

There’s just something about a really good hotel bar — and almost equally as important as a good cocktail is the ambiance (or shall we say, aesthetic) in which you enjoy it. So, read (or sip) on to discover what you didn’t know your tastebuds and camera roll were craving right here in Colorado’s capital. Here, our locals list of the best bars in Denver. Cheers!

The Cooper Lounge in The Crawford Hotel

Nestled above Denver’s iconic Union Station, The Cooper Lounge is located right in the heart of Lower Downtown, or, as locals call it, ‘LoDo.’ 

The stylish lounge sits on the mezzanine level overlooking The Great Hall and is bustling with activity. With eye-catching gold accents, a large bar and a host of elevated comfy seating, this trendy spot will take you right back to the post-prohibition era.

Choose from over 15 craft cocktails, superior wines and beer on tap — and don’t forget about the delicious, seasonal menu. The seared scallops have made their spring debut and will certainly not disappoint.

The Cooper Lounge is open Sunday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Pro tip: Drink like a local and ask for the mezcal Aperol drink. It’s not on the menu but shhh, it’s the best kept secret.

The Woods in The Source Hotel

Located on the 8th floor of The Source Hotel, this modern rooftop and patio boasts some of the best city views. It sits smack dab in RiNo (River North Art District) where there’s no shortage of street art and bustling activity, making it a popular destination for happy hour or to catch a sunset drink — bonus points if you visit on a clear day where you can get both the skyline view and the Rockies in the distance.

With shareable bites, local New Belgium beers and wines, The Woods is an ideal place to unwind after a long work day or a place to catch up with friends. The vibe is laid back and the happy hour offers a punched-up sort of bar menu: from chicken wings brined with new mountain lager to equally pleasing shishito peppers, so make sure you arrive here hungry.

The Woods is open Sunday to Thursday from 7am-10pm and Friday and Saturday from 7am-11pm. Happy hour is Monday to Thursday 3pm-5pm.

Pro tip: Don’t miss the live music every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. for a supreme brunch experience.

Wildflower in Life House Hotel LoHi

From the street view you may miss it but look closely and you’ll find this gem wedged right between local business and residences on Navajo Street in LoHi (Lower Highlands). 

Step inside and you’ll notice a western vibe accented with perfectly poised floral arrangements throughout the space (and in some of the cocktails!) The design is inspired by local landscapes of Colorado, with Mexican and Italian influences tied in, making for a uniquely beautiful experience.

In addition to stunning cocktails, Wildflower offers small and large plate dishes, a handful of sweet options, and non-alcoholic floral elixirs, all drawing from locally-sourced ingredients and inspiration.

Wildflower is open Monday to Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is located in Life House, LoHi.

Pro tip: Try the Carmelo Picante with tequila (instead of vodka) — it’s a house favorite.

Five Nines in Clayton Members Club & Hotel

Five Nines opened on February 9, 2022 and has hit the ground running since. Its upscale, intimate atmosphere shouldn’t be confused with a speakeasy, though — the bar itself self-proclaims it’s ‘hidden but not a secret.’ So don’t worry about a password, handshake, or secret entrance.

The name, Five Nines, is a nod to the purest and finest form of metals, 99.999%, and the three curated drink sections on the menu cater to the theme: Uncut Gems, Forged in Fire, and Compounds & Concoctions.

In addition to fantastic cocktails, wine and fancy bar snacks, Five Nines hosts nightly performances from Hard Candy Dancers, burlesque-inspired dance and pole artists who sizzle the stage every hour.

Five Nines, located within the Clayton Members Club & Hotel in Cherry Creek, is open Wednesday and Thursday 5 p.m. until midnight and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Pro tip: Alcohol does not need to be consumed to get the full experience here. Check out the exquisite mocktail options included in each of the drink sections. We suggest the ‘Almost summer’ — and really, how fitting?

Death & Co. in The Ramble Hotel

The acclaimed Death & Co. made its way to Denver after big success in New York City — and is quickly finding success in Denver as well.  It sits within the trendy Ramble Hotel in RiNo (River North Arts District).

This dimly-lit beauty has over 24 craft cocktails and 6 punch bowls, in addition to a selection of beers and a lengthy wine list. The cocktail menu is perfect for indecisive drinkers as it is broken up into five sections, from lightest to strongest in taste: fresh and lively, bright and confident, elegant and timeless, boozy and honest, and grand and celebratory. 

If you drink up an appetite, turn to the food offerings and you will not be disappointed; we recommend ending with the drunken cookies.

Death & Co. is open Monday through Wednesday from 3 p.m. until midnight, and 3 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Make sure to plan ahead as reservations are not accepted for parties up to 6 people and seats fill up quickly.

Pro tip: Pick up a copy of Death & Co.’s third book, ‘Welcome Home,’ ($40, amazon.com) and try your craft at bartending from your very own kitchen.