Denver, Colorado is a city that many may connect to skiing and other winter sports, but in reality, the history of the city reaches as far back as the days of the Wild West. With a history that lengthy, visitors to the city are sure to find plenty of hidden gems tucked away all over the city.
Alongside the well known Denver Art Museum that features an expansive collection of indigenous artwork, Denver claims historic features such as the mansion belonging to the unsinkable Molly Brown who survived the Titanic disaster and Larimer Square, which is the oldest block in Denver and boasts landmark buildings of the nineteenth century.
But traveling a city is not all about what you can do with your days. In a city like Denver, the night is made even more interesting by the tiny facets of history that still crop up in the day to day activities. Perhaps the most interesting of these options are found in the numerous number of speakeasies that dot Denver’s hidden corners.
Each table in the neo-speakeasy of Green Russel has its own style. Green Russel will certainly help you to feel like you’ve stepped into an entirely different decade with warm decor and plenty of antique furniture.
Being that Green Russel is owned by a chef, it is definitely known for a menu that goes above and beyond the normal bar fare. Green Russel is another location that will take you on a bit of an adventure in order to get there, and it starts by finding your way to a fully functioning pie shop called “Wednesday’s Pies”.
Once you’ve found your way to the pie shop, you simply have to let a host know that you’re looking for Green Russel and you will be escorted through a door that leads you to this particular speakeasy.
Green Russel does have one more interesting rule though: no cell phone use outside of a designated phone booth. It is definitely a bar that wants you to embrace the past as fully as possible and step away from the constant deluge of information that the internet keeps feeding you. It is a fantastic place to take a break and have an excellent drink once you find your way to it
B&GC – also known by the longer name of the Boys and Girls Club at the Halcyon Hotel – was not initially intended to be a speakeasy, but it certainly fits the definition to the last letter. with no visible signage, a request for texted reservations over phone calls, a mysterious doorbell to be let in, and an exclusive membership program, B&GC is about as authentic as you can get when it comes down to looking for modern speakeasies to visit.
Marked only by a sign that denotes “stair 3”, guests of the Halcyon Hotel might be able to garner admission, but otherwise, the membership process is still a well-kept secret. B&GC keeps an air of mystery about it that certainly helps to draw visitors in to hopefully get through the doors and experience the secrets tucked away in the cozy shadows of this particular location. If you get the chance, you should definitely take a shot at experiencing one of Denver’s most exclusive and famous speakeasies for yourself.
While it can be a mouthful either way when asking for directions – or even if someone knows someone that can help you get your foot in the door – B&GC will definitely fit all your speakeasy needs within a high class location.
Millers & Rossi
One of Denver’s newest speakeasy attractions, Millers & Rossi looks like your standard contemporary art gallery from the outside. You can certainly browse the art in the trendy gallery that fronts this speakeasy as you head towards the back and the hidden door that will take you into the sequestered speakeasy location.
The blend of photography, paintings, and sculptures make an excellent bookend to your visit to Millers & Rossi, whether you’re coming or going. This particular adventure takes you into a space that is dimly lit by Edison lights and accented from the smoked cedar wafting over from the bar.
Featuring a blend of fantastic cocktails and small plates, you are guaranteed to leave with your stomach sated by food and drink, and your mind sated by the fantastic array of art that you get to pass through on your way in and out.
Millers & Rossi is definitely an experience that takes a more extravagant feel to the atmosphere, which makes the taste of adventure you get from a visit here just a little more decadent
Williams & Graham
This is easily the most well-known speakeasy in the Mile High City, and it also holds to the truest definition of a speakeasy. At first glance, a visitor might think that Williams & Graham is just a simple corner bookstore, albeit one that opens remarkably late in the evening.
Once the doors open, you will have to enter and give your name to a host and wait. Eventually, you’ll get to experience a real-life secret passage as one of the bookshelves swings out and you’re invited back to a nest of leather, warm woods, and soft lighting.
Williams & Graham is definitely one of the more intimate and exclusive locales on this list because they only have sixty seats in the speakeasy. However, their menu of handcrafted cocktails, small plates, and deserts will definitely make the journey to getting seated well worth it. Williams & Graham also offer their space for private events of up to fifty guests. Any event you happen to have here will surely be an unforgettable one.
The Cruise Room
If you are looking for a speakeasy that oozes ambiance, then this is definitely the location that you want to make a beeline for.
Though The Cruise Room is known for being the first bar to open in Denver after the repeal of Prohibition, rumor has it that secret panels and underground tunnels still remain from a clandestine past of moonshining.
The Cruise Room has the air of a place frozen and time. The red glow and the art deco style make it feel like you have managed to step back into the past while you sip on the popular martinis or other high-quality cocktails that the menu offers.
It also happens to be one of the easier locations to find. All you have to do is enter the lobby of the Oxford Hotel and go past Urban Farmer until you see The Cruise Room on the right
If you want to experience a speakeasy that is actually hidden at first glance, then Retrograde is a fantastic choice.
Walking inside the ice cream shop known as Frozen Matter might not be the first line of directions you expect when trying to find this watering hole, but once you find the unmarked freezer door in the back and flip the switch, you will be well on your way to experiencing this unique brand of a speakeasy.
Owned by the same people that run the ice cream store that it is hidden in, Retrograde is a foray into alcohol-infused ice creams and high-grade cocktails. If you find yourself waiting out the waitlist, try some of the ice creams in the fully functioning parlor. It might seem like a bit of an odd choice for a speakeasy front, but it is a bit fitting considering the fact that a few brewing companies refitted their breweries in order to stay in business on the legal side during Prohibition.
While Retrograde leans less towards the retro callback, the astronomy-themed bar does great work at matching up with its name and will definitely leave you seeing stars by the end of the night, whether you’re sampling ice cream or beverages
De Steeg Brewing
This street-level bar has no markings from Tennyson, and with very little foot traffic you might almost miss this hidden gem if you don’t make an effort of looking for it.
Tucked away in an alleyway that runs parallel to Tennyson, De Steeg brewery offers some of the highest ABV level beers to be found in the city. With a more laid back atmosphere, De Steeg Brewing has a lovely patio and provides board games that you can play while you get a cold crew. De Steeg offers a selection that is always changing up with a variety of seasonal and experimental flavors.
Whether you find yourself sampling one of their classics – like the French Saison – or trying a new flight of a different bold and unique beer, De Steeg is bound to make an excellent impression on you when you choose to pay it a visit
While your initial expectation of Denver might be tinged with thoughts of snowy, cold winters, the Hidden Idol is a tropical oasis that defies that stereotype. You can easily find this tropical tiki-style watering hole by going to Southside Kitchen & Bar and heading straight up the stairs.
Hidden in plain sight, the Hidden Idol is deserving of the name as it gives you a break in the midst of a winter trip. This particular hangout is generous with the rum when pouring and mixing the exotic drinks listed in the menu, and bar food staples like wings and decadent steamed potstickers are available from the kitchen downstairs.
This bar is certainly a delightful change of pace from all the things that you typically tend to associate with the Mile High City.
A lot of these locations offer you to take a step into a more exclusive setting and quench the thirst for adventure we all experience. These eight speakeasies certainly stand out from the crowd in Denver, but they are far from a complete list. They certainly let their reviews speak for themselves and live up to the hype that they garner. These speakeasies make an excellent nightcap after a busy day exploring all that Denver has to offer to visitors to the area.
No matter what you’re looking for when you travel to Denver, Colorado, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable time, even if you happen to tour multiple speakeasies on this list. Denver is filled with unforgettable experiences and locations, so it won’t be hard at all to make the most of your time in the city.