“Where can I find the best Denver speakeasies?”
If you consider yourself a fan of classic cocktails, inventive ingredients, and a little mystery, you have likely asked yourself this very question.
These are the spots in Denver where you may have to put in a little extra work to find the entrance, but that’s all part of the fun! Once inside, it becomes clear the juice is worth the squeeze when you taste these incredible craft cocktails. So take a break from your standard bars any Denver travel guide will point you towards, and spend some time instead at one of the best Denver speakeasies.
WHERE TO FIND THE BEST DENVER SPEAKEASIES
1. WILLIAMS & GRAHAM (The Most Well-Known Speakeasy in Denver)
When it comes to prohibition-era bars, there is none more famous in Denver than Williams & Graham. But be forewarned: the space at Williams & Graham is also very intimate (read: not many seats). And what do you get when you take extreme popularity and add limited seating? Likely a considerable wait time to get in.
But it will be worth it! I promise. And if you’re super duper impatient (like I am) and want to avoid a wait, aim for earlier in the evening or a weekday.
When you arrive, walking into Williams & Graham immediately transports you back to prohibition times. A time in our history where secret entrances leading to small, dimly lit bars was commonplace. Where you needed a password and to “know a guy” to even get in. Luckily prohibition ended, and we don’t have to sneak around to get a drink. But we can pretend at places like these, where they have kept that spirit alive with their modern day prohibition concept.
Address: 3160 Tejon Street
Entrance Details: Head inside the “Williams & Graham Booksellers” shop and give the host/ess your information. When it’s your turn, a bookcase will swing open to reveal the very intimate bar.
2. GREEN RUSSELL
Owned by Frank Bonanno, a well-known Denver restaurateur, it’s no surprise that Green Russell is a success. With over 10 bars/restaurants under his belt, and a new (and massive) gourmet food hall downtown, it’s clear he has figured out some recipe for success.
This has been a beloved prohibition-era cocktail bar in Denver since 2010. It’s housed in the underbelly of Larimer Square, Denver’s most historic block, cleverly hidden behind a pie shop. Coming here is an experience, to say the least. And with a wide array of house made bitters, sodas, fresh squeezed juices, and more…you’re sure to get one hell of a cocktail here.
Address: 1422 Larimer Street
Entrance Details: Head down the stairs and follow signs for “Wednesday’s Pie” (a functional pie shop, if you have a sweet tooth). Once in the retro pie shop, let them know you’re looking for Green Russell. Someone will escort you through a “kitchen door” that reveals the bar behind it.
3. THE CRUISE ROOM (The Longest Running Bar/Speakeasy in Denver)
Located in the Oxford Hotel, the Cruise Room is about as legit as a speakeasy in Denver can get. The bar was opened in 1933 after the repeal of Prohibition, and has remained open ever since. Giving it the honorable distinction of being Denver’s longest-running bar.
Inside, the Art Deco design will make you feel as though you have really stepped back in time. The hot pink-light filled bar sets a very sexy/romantic vibe, and the wine bottle-shaped layout of the bar is a totally unique feature you won’t find anywhere else.
The menu provides plenty of options without being overwhelming. And, of course, the staff are always ready to assist with a personalized suggestion or even something off-menu. You can’t go wrong with classic cocktails in a classy setting at the Cruise Room.
Address: 1600 17th Street
Entrance Details: Check in with the host/ess at Urban Farmer, and they will take you where you need to go.
If you come looking for a sign to find Retrograde, I’m going to save you some time, because there isn’t one. This is another speakeasy in Denver option that is hidden behind a fully functioning front business called Frozen Matter. Upon locating the freezer door in the back, take a deep breath as you leave the bright white light of Frozen Matter for the dim secrecy of Retrograde.
Inside, the intimate space encourages you to sit (no standing room in this bar) and enjoy the ambiance with your company. And while they have rotating beers (this is Colorado after all) and wines, their house cocktails are where it’s at. With ingredients like brown butter infused bourbon, chai infused vermouth, and lavender foam, you’re sure to have an incredibly unique (and delicious) cocktail here.
Address: 530 E 19th Avenue
Entrance Details: Enter the artisanal ice creamery called Frozen Matter. Make your way towards the back and find the walk-in freezer door (like you would expect to find in a commercial kitchen). Flip the switch and wait.
5. B&GC (The Most Mysterious Speakeasy in Denver)
Most mysterious of the Denver speakeasies.
Hardest bar to find in Denver.
Both of these phrases can be used to describe B&GC in Cherry Creek, which prides itself on bringing a large dose of secrecy into your life. Designed to feel like a post-World War II cocktail bar, they aim to bring an experience that was typically reserved for the elite and powerful of that time.
Reservations are strongly encouraged, though not required. However, this is not your typical call and make a reservation spot. Instead, on the day you would like to visit, after 3 p.m., text the phone number listed below and go from there. You may get lost trying to find it, but would you expect anything less from Denver’s most secretive bar?
Once inside, the staff are ready to make you a killer cocktail. That could be one of the many delicious offerings from their menu. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, tell the bartenders what you like and watch them create something uniquely yours!
Address: 249 Columbine Street
Phone: 720-925-8598 (reservations are highly recommended, but text don’t call)
Entrance Details: Turning the corner from the Halcyon hotel, you will find a very unassuming alleyway. About halfway down this alley, find the sign that says “Stair 3” and a seemingly out-of-place antique brass doorbell. Give it a ring, and wait.
6. MILLERS & ROSSI
Located in the hip River North (RiNo) neighborhood of Denver, Millers and Rossi is the final stop of the best Denver speakeasies. Opened in 2017, this is a contemporary speakeasy with a functioning ice cream parlor as the front business. Those with a sweet tooth can stop and sample the ice cream offerings before heading back where the magic happens.
The bar area of Millers and Rossi is contemporary but with a whiff of historic charm. Things like big, upholstered chairs and leather couches mixed with string lighting and Edison bulbs. And if you’re a fan of an old fashioned, this may just become your new favorite spot. Because you can “fashion your old fashioned” any which way you want with a variety of liquors, bitters, and other aromatics (like cherries, cedar plank smoke or agave) muddled in.
Address: 3542 Walnut Street
Entrance Details: Enter the retro-looking ice cream parlor (yes, fully functioning!) and walk “through the refrigerator” to find Millers and Rossi tucked away behind.
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